SHE’S NOT CALLED SUNSHINE FOR NOTHIN’
To pick the perfect wedding photographer, you’ve gotta assess two things: a) are they good at the snaps and b) are they the kind of person you want to have on your wedding day? Solen passes a and b with flying colours. She lives for capturing the moment and the movements and the magic, and she’s also just the best person to have by your side throughout…
WHO ARE YOU + WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
I’m Solen – a short ass half Scottish half French single mum working from Edinburgh’s seaside.
DESCRIBE YOUR WORKPLACE
I work from home if I’m not out shooting. We live in an old tenement a block from the beach. Or when I get bored of my own company I’ll be in my favourite local, the Skylark, drinking tea.
WHERE/HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I was booking bands for a living for years and I used to chat to photographer pals at shows. I was always really frustrated that I didn’t know how to properly work manual cameras so I did an evening class and one thing lead to 3 years at college swearing in a darkroom. As soon as I left I set up on my own having assisted and second shot while studying. It was quite a bold move for me but I love it. I swapped trying to get drunk maudlin indie boys onstage on time for trying to get tipsy happy bridal parties to a ceremony fashionably late!
FAVOURITE WORK TO DATE?
Couples that allow us a bit of creative space, who trust that we know what we’re doing and get behind our daft patter to lighten the nerves are winners with us. Alix (who often second shoots with me) and I once got called the Chuckle Brothers by a bride and we were so very proud of ourselves!
We try to be as unobtrusive as we can throughout the day but then we get a bit excited and involved in the dancefloor before we leave. I always love the weddings were we leave wishing we could stay and dance.
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Loads of things inspire me – human connections – my son’s imagination, ranting with pals and my environment – the light, salty air and gentle wee waves at the beach, music, poems. I can be sentimental about tactile things, so making things with my hands and nostalgia trips- old photos and stories.
I love cutting about galleries on days off, I especially love surrealist, dada, abstract expressionist paintings and photographs. Street photographers like Joel Meyerowitz and Garry Winogrand who managed to capture the most beautiful light and movement in every day life. Art with a bit of humour is my thing.
I collect boards of all sorts of artwork that I love on pinterest to keep as a kind of scrapbook for personal project ideas. For me, it’s so important to keep learning your craft and to use your creativity to deal with the crap life throws at us.
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY
Weekdays usually start with me and my wee boy rushing to get to school cos we are not really morning people. Then I take a wander along the beach and snap some photos on my phone, it’s a little ritual I started when I moved here and I do it most days.
Sometimes, if the light is amazing, I’ll take a cup of tea down to the water, listen to music and answer emails on my phone.
Then I’m at my desk, I work in fits and bursts, drinking an unhealthy amount of tea, listening to playlists I make on spotify to remind me which records I should go and buy. I consciously slowed the pace of things for myself last year and I’m really enjoying it.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?
I’ve quickly become quite institutionalised by Portobello. I’m surrounded by a really creative and artistic community of neighbours. Many of them are entrepreneurial women and I find that really inspiring. We have a beautiful beach to play on, ace wee bars and cafes to hide in, no stress. I love it here.
You’ll maybe catch me at the odd gig or in Leith eating carbs somewhere. I like to spend any weekends off on a wee adventure to somewhere new with pals too.
FAVOURITE WEDDING VENUE
I love a roadtrip to somewhere unusual and beautiful, maybe involving a cheeky outdoor ceremony. We’re all about chasing natural light and playing with that as much as we can. We do shoot outdoors quite a bit which is pretty bold for mainly Scottish weddings! I like to keep things interesting, I never want to take this for granted as a job.
TRENDS YOU HOPE TO SEE THIS SEASON
I’m not really that arsed about trends to be honest but I love shooting weddings with lots of colour so I guess maybe more brides wearing colour would be fun to shoot. I hope weddings just continue to become more and more personal to the couples we work with, those ones where the emotions run high are always a treat. We love it when the couples have spoilt us with interesting and decorative spaces that say something about them, we can get a bit snap happy at those.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
“Small things, keep busy, be kind, get more sleep.”