Member Spotlight: Aidan Hughes

Aidan has always enjoyed the creative arts, but it was only a couple of years ago that he began to get serious about photography. Thanks to his commitment to acquiring new skills, he’s already taking commissions from commercial clients impressed by his growing portfolio.

“I’m by no means at the end of my learning journey,” he says. “I’m still at the very beginning.”

Keeping the fire burning

Aidan grew up in the English county of Hampshire, and still lives there today with his wife and children. His father was a keen hobbyist photographer, and as a boy Aidan naturally wanted to mimic his dad. “His hobby became my hobby,” he says. “He started the fire burning!”

A hobby was all photography was to Aidan for many years. During that time he worked in sales, most notably as a car salesman. It was while working for a company that manufactures crash repair parts that Aidan began photographing products for marketing purposes.

Aidan Hughes product photography

© Aidan Hughes


Bottle and Beverage Photography

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To boost his skills, he bought his first ‘proper’ camera and, to find out how to use it, started seeking out tutorials online. That was when he first discovered Karl’s YouTube channel.

“It opened my eyes up to the world of commercial photography. Before I knew it, I was neck-deep and just going for it!”

Having bought some speedlights and started experimenting with them in his living room, Aidan soon decided to take the leap and subscribe to Visual Education.

Aidan Hughes product photography

© Aidan Hughes

Goodbye dining room, hello home studio

Aidan’s home studio for the first couple of years was the 3.5m x 5m family dining room. He and his family recently moved house; the new dining room is slightly smaller at around 3m x 3m, but Aidan is confident he can make it work.

Fortunately, his family don’t mind living without a dining room, and are happy to make themselves scarce when Aidan is deep into a shoot.

“My wife and kids have been very supportive,” he says. “If they need to get out of the way, or go out for the day so I can work, they’ve been happy to do that.”

Aidan Hughes home studio

© Aidan Hughes

So what gear does Aidan have in his home studio? His camera is a Canon 5D Mk4, which he uses with either a Canon 50mm or Sigma 105 macro lens. Lighting-wise, he has four Pixapro studio flash lights, with a couple of speedlights for backup.

Beyond that, he has various materials, surfaces, bounce cards, mirrors and so on, all stored in a handy roller cabinet tool chest.

Aidan Hughes product photographer

© Aidan Hughes

Nuggets of wisdom

Of course, far more important than the gear at your disposal is your knowledge and expertise. For boosting his understanding of fundamental lighting principles and essential lighting techniques, Aidan considers himself indebted to Visual Education.

"The platform is the best value – the best bang for your buck,” he says. “There really isn’t anything better in terms of the amount and the quality of the content you get.”

So what in particular does Aidan enjoy? The product and still-life photography classes are his favourites. But he doesn’t limit himself to only watching those.

“I’m not particularly into portraiture, but I’ll watch all the portraiture classes because they contain those tips and tricks and hints that help me with my product work.”

Aidan Hughes product photography

© Aidan Hughes

One class that he finds himself returning to again and again is Angles of Incidence and Reflection. “I quite often refer to that if I’m struggling to shoot a reflective object like a bottle.”

He’s also a big fan of Karl’s live photography workshops. “It’s good to see someone like Karl working on the fly – to see how he solves all the different problems. These little nuggets of wisdom always come out that can help build you into a better, more well-rounded photographer.”

Something else Aidan really values is the Working to a Brief assignments. “You get a sense of what a client is going to want from you. That’s experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”


Angles of Incidence and Reflection

If you've ever struggled to position a light correctly, or to keep glaring reflections out of your images, this class is for you.
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Aidan Hughes product photography

© Aidan Hughes

Members’ image critiques have been important to Aidan, too. When he received encouraging feedback from Karl on a cosmetics product image (above), it gave him a real boost. Of course, not every shot can receive a glowing review. But for Aidan, that’s all part of the process.

“I appreciate the fact that Karl is very honest,” he says. “It’s daunting to begin with, but it’s definitely worth it. You can’t rely on family and friends or social media for genuine feedback, so that sort of evaluation of your images is really valuable.”

Aiming high and chipping away

What’s ahead for Aidan? Recent clients include two different distilleries based on England’s south coast, and he’s optimistic that one job will keep leading to the next as his professional portfolio grows.

“I would love to be shooting for the bigger brands at some point in the future, but I know I’m a way off that yet. I’m just at the beginning of my journey and I’ve got a ways to go. It’s a case of chipping away.”

Part of that ‘chipping away’ will involve ramping up his 3D CGI abilities via our new Blender classes, taught by CGI expert Ethan Davis. It’s a skillset Aidan’s been dabbling with for a while, and he sees now as a great time to really get serious about it.



Ready to take an exciting leap into the world of 3D CGI? This section contains 50+ classes – everything you need to master the fundamentals and achieve amazing results.
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So, apart from joining Visual Education, what advice does Aidan have for other aspiring photographers?

“Keep plugging away,” he says. “You need to fail in order to succeed – and you may only need to fail one more time before you make the breakthrough you’re looking for.”

We couldn’t agree more.

To find out more about Aidan's work, visit

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