Today we’d like to introduce you to Mitchell Aragon.
Mitchell, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Photography for me is the perfect balance of interacting with people while artistically expressing my perspective of fashion and beauty through my lens. I have always been artistic since I was a very young child. For the majority of my early life, I hadn’t stopped drawing since I was first able to hold a pencil. As my childhood progressed, I became extremely intrigued by fashion and beauty and they became my main source of artistic inspiration. My favorite TV show growing up was America’s Next Top Model; the photo shoots on early 2000’s ANTM really stuck with me and that show is what introduced little me to fashion. My drawings would reflect my interests so much that at one point I thought that I wanted to be a fashion designer. Photography interested me in middle school, however, I first picked up a camera when I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school. I had moved to San Diego from my hometown of Sacramento and began high school without knowing a soul. Photography helped me gain confidence and meet lots of people, which was great because I have always been a very social person.
The first time I picked up a camera was to help my friend take some photos of her for a popular social media account that she was auditioning to model for. The moment I realized that photography was for me was when I saw how happy and confident my friend felt in front of my lens, I loved the fact that I was able to capture the beauty that was occurring front of me in that very moment while making someone else feel better about themselves. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped photographing! I was also able to practice a lot throughout my years in high school on my amazing friends. I love being inspired by my subject, the elements around us, and their personality.
I feel blessed to have discovered my passion at such a young age, especially in this digital age because I was able to teach myself how to manually use a DSLR camera without any formal photography classes. The Internet allowed me to share my work with the world while also giving me access to endless inspiration from those who shared their work as well.
I fell in love with the process of curating a photo shoot, as I spent the entirety of my high school years shooting countless images of my friends as models whom I collaborated with on styling and makeup to help my visions come to life. I am so grateful to have many great friends in my life that are supportive of my passion and me. Before I would randomly share my work on my personal social media accounts. Eventually, I began posting my photos on Instagram when it first launched their business account feature. Starting my business page on Instagram was the turning point where I began reaching out and working with local makeup artists, stylists and other models outside of my immediate friends.
The moment that made me realize that I could potentially turn my passion into a career was when a representative from Wilhelmina Models contacted me via DM on Instagram to schedule a test shoot with me and one of their new faces back when I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. I was so honored and surprised to have had my early work that I was so passionate about being recognized by a professional in the industry! Everything I had spent the entirety of my high school years creating had led to that initial opportunity and I will never forget how proud I felt of my work and myself at that moment.
Fast forward three years since then to the present day, I will be 21 in August of this year and have had lived in Orange County, attending California State Fullerton, pursuing a major in Photo-Communications. Throughout my time in college, I have refined my style as a fashion photographer. I am constantly working to refine my photography style while challenging myself to new lighting scenarios or concepts for photo shoots. I am in love with the creative process that goes into my images and I enjoy being a part of every artistic decision. I do all of my own retouchings as well, which I often compare to painting. Retouching my own imagery allows me to bring the raw moment that I captured closer to the fantastical moment that I had envisioned.
Although Fullerton is technically Orange County, LA is just down the freeway. I am very grateful for social media, as it has given me opportunities to meet so many amazing and talented individuals since moving closer to LA. The friendships and memories that I have made with other artists whether it is models, makeup artists, stylists, or other photographers are ones that I will cherish forever! Collaborations are a huge part of trying to break into the industry and I definitely have to thank the extremely talented people who have collaborated with me on projects where we had no budget, but the team pulled together and created work that we are all proud of.
Over the past three years, I have managed to get my foot in the door of the industry and have worked with multiple professional models either directly through Instagram or through their modeling agencies in Los Angeles. I only hope to continue building professional relationships with the various modeling agencies in the area and eventually branch out to agencies in New York or wherever else life may take me! Professionally, I would really like to take my photography in a direction in which I am shooting more magazine editorials, working with brands for their campaigns and lookbooks, and various other commercial and fashion work. Personally, I plan to continue to shoot the work that comes from my heart, my passion projects that inspire and challenge me. Working with other artists to create imagery together is what feeds my soul and I plan on photographing for the rest of my life. Photography is just one of those things that I cannot live without. It truly is my passion in life!
I just recently shot my biggest production to date for a really exciting project in which I worked with six models, two makeup artists, a stylist and two assistants. The final images from this project are to be published in a magazine, which I am so excited about! I am also very excited to be featured on this blog, so thank you very much for contacting me!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The struggles that I have faced along the way are struggles that I am still learning to deal with. The main struggle is figuring out how to transition my passion into a professional business in which I can make a living. I am a “right brained” person who is very passionate and emotionally connected to my work, however learning the language of business, how to conduct myself and my craft as a business is a constant hurdle that I am still getting over. I am learning through trial and error what works and what doesn’t, but I definitely don’t have it all figured out quite yet. I plan on eventually making photography my full-time career, however, I have to remind myself that I am still only 20 years old, so am taking it one step at a time and trying not to stress myself out too much.
Another struggle that I have dealt with over my journey thus far would be time management. Having to balance establishing myself as a professional through my work, passion projects, a social and family life, and an online presence all while meeting the demands of being a full-time college student can be very difficult at times. Sometimes looking at my to-do list can send me into a full “Mr. Krabs Meme” moment. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love while pursuing a degree. I try to shoot as much as I can while in school because I would feel incomplete if I wasn’t shooting. My advice to any students that are also trying to pursue photography while in school would be to organize time slots throughout your week in which you dedicate set amounts of time for every task. Try sticking to a schedule in which you allow certain days for shooting, certain days for schoolwork and certain days for editing/admin work if your schedule allows you!
Mitchell Aragon Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is Mitchell Aragon Photography. I specialize in fashion and beauty, portrait style photography. I would say my work is known for the blend of my personal perspective of beauty and execution of my ideas through the use of color, composition and style.
I am most proud of the direction I have been able to take my passion for photography since I started photographing nearly 7 years ago. I don’t ever plan on putting my camera down. I know that if child me knew that I would be doing this as a young adult, he would be excited about the future. I am excited about anything and everything that the future has to offer and all I want to do is continue to create art that speaks to me.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, success is about being able to do what you love. Of course, there is professional, monetary success, but on the other hand, there is the more soul-fulfilling success that one may achieve by pursuing their passions. Both are important and valid goals to aspire to!
- Phone: 650-265-1193
- Email: email@example.com
Mitchell Aragon Photography