A full-time professional photographer with full time experience going back to the 1980s, Jim has photographed the full spectrum of subject matter as a photojournalist, editorial photographer and portrait artist. He cut his teeth in the journalism world working for a variety of image-oriented publications from rural Texas to Urban Chicago. Since 1992 he and his wife Laura, have owned and operated J. Aaron Trotman Photographs, the leading portrait and commercial photography studio on the Outer Banks.

How did we get here?
Like many of the families who come to us for family beach portraits, we were visitors once too. Laura’s family had long made the Outer Banks their vacation home. It took some time for Laura to convince Jim there were other beaches than Galveston or Padre Island but when Jim and Laura were married in 1982, they honeymooned here staying at a little rental cottage in Southern Shores.

Joining Laura’s family meant that they would enjoy many vacations on the Outer Banks as the family continued to grow and grow. Jim was the guy who had to put the camera on delay and then jump in the picture.

In the late 1980s Laura’s parents relocated to Southern Shores from Dallas and a few years later, an opportunity arose that would lead to Jim and Laura moving here to establish their studio. And the family grew and grew.

It is this family connection that Jim and Laura attribute to the continuing success of their studio. It is a commitment they share of keeping families connected through the images they create.

What’s in a Name?
J. Aaron Trotman is the name Jim and Laura gave to their Outer Banks Portrait studio. Sorry for the confusion. I know what you are thinking: why not just go with Jim? That’s a good enough name, right?

To make a long story less so, way back in the 1980s Ronald Reagan was president and Jim accepted a position as staff photographer, the only one, at a little tiny newspaper in rural Palestine, Texas. Poor guy was doing good to pull down $200 a week.

He discovered he was working in a newsroom in which six guys were named Jim. Both his boss and his boss’s boss and even that guy’s boss were all named Jim. It was an embarrassment of Jims. A serious identity crisis was brewing and right at the start of his career and something had to give.

Mom to the rescue. Jim recalled how when he was a child, if he was late to breakfast, school, dinner, whatever, his mom would holler upstairs, “Jim! Oh Jim-Bootchie!” When that failed to get a response, she broke it up into initials and middle names. “Oh J. Aaron Trotman! You are going to be late!”

A light bulb went on. Crisis averted. Jim has used J. Aaron Trotman ever since. It also sounds nice over the phone. And he isn’t late for stuff anymore.

Our Nags Head Portrait Studio
Our year-round portrait studio in Nags Head is dedicated to creating classic portraits for our clients.  We specialize in children, executive/publicity and senior portraiture.  

Outer Banks Outdoor Photography
The Outer Banks affords incredible backdrops for your photo session. We are happy to meet your party at your cottage or at one of a few choice locations near you.  

Directions to Studio Location
321 West Villa Dunes Dr.
Nags Head, NC
Mile Post 11.5
Travel south on Highway 158 into Nags Head; pass the YMCA (west side of the road), then Pirates Quay Shopping Center (Big Propeller out front). We are the second street past Pirates Quay. Make a right on West Villa Dunes Dr. Proceed to the stop sign, after passing through the stop sign we will be your 4th house on the left. Please pass the driveway and mailbox and park in the pine straw parking pad. 
Traveling north on Highway 158, pass Jockeys Ridge, the large sand dunes. On the West side of the road will be a housing development called North Ridge. Pass Northridge and we will be your next street on the left. Take a left on West Villa Dunes Dr. Proceed to the stop sign, after passing through the stop sign we will be your 4th house on the left. Please pass the driveway and mailbox and park in the pine straw parking pad.


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