Snapping the Surf

New La Jolla resident and Muirlands Middle School student Aiden Rothschild is doing everything he can to explore his new home. A lifelong photographer, 13-year-old Aiden has taken to surf and landscape photography and is learning to advance his skills.

“I grew up with my mom being a professional studio photographer, and she would take me to her studio. They had a little playroom, but instead of playing with the toys, I wanted her assistants to take pictures of me and let me play with the camera,” he said.

He credits his mother, Laura, with being his teacher and mentor.

Having moved to La Jolla in March, Aiden said the Jewel is his favorite place — possibly because of the surf opportunities. “I love to surf, so when I wanted to explore my passion for photography, I figured I would start with something that I love to do,” he said. Aiden shares his love of surfing with his father, Ryan.

Aiden often takes his Canon camera (in water-safe housing) out when he goes surfing. But for him, it never ends there. Aiden has learned how to use editing software to perfect his work. He’s also learned about different lenses and settings by watching photography tutorials on

“Everything is on YouTube,” he said.

Laura joked, “He doesn’t watch TV, he doesn’t play video games, he just watches these how-to videos on YouTube.”

Furthermore, the social-media savvy Aiden uses Instagram and his website to showcase his work. “I would love for my work to be hung up or printed in books, but so long as someone has seen it and can see it in their mind, that’s the most powerful place,” he said.

While social media has provided helpful tools for self-promotion, it has also opened the floodgates for would-be photographers. “A year ago, there were probably half as many people out in the water doing surf photography with Gopro (cameras),” Aiden observed. “Last time I went out, there were like 10 people out taking pictures, when last year there would be two or three.”

But, he argues, photos simply taken on a phone and uploaded to the Internet “don’t pop,” and can lose some of their finer qualities — hence his extra work on editing and refining.

■ To see Aiden’s images, visit or