Bursting with personality and cracking jokes at every chance, Megan and James Horan of Solas Weddings are a dynamic husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Dublin, Ireland. Why the name Solas? Solas, they like to point out, is the Irish word for “light.” And when you’re a photographer, that’s pretty darn important.
Megan and James use their combined 20+ years of experience as photojournalists and editorial photographers to quickly capture the spontaneous moments and create fun portraits to showcase a couple's big day. And over the past year and half, Solas Weddings has steadily gained exposure. The team credits their expanding list of clients largely to word of mouth marketing and also their irresistible, fun-loving personality.
Early on, Megan and James each shared a great passion for photography and started taking wedding photographs as favors for friends. But in February of this year, the duo was asked to photograph a beautiful county wedding in Australia, which if done right, they had a feeling could launch Solas Weddings to a new level. “I knew this wedding was going to be very special with great attention given to every detail. And with dear friends as the bride and groom, we were determined to rise to the occasion,” Megan said.
Ultimately producing beautiful photos and capturing the storybook romance of the day from the bride's elegant style to the hand embroidered napkins, Megan and James began receiving inquiries from those who attended the wedding and now wanted their services.
With requests now coming in from friends, friends of friends and complete strangers, Megan and James made a conscious decision to rebrand Solas Weddings to reflect their own lighthearted style and attract similar creative clients. “We really didn’t want our website to have a conservative tone,” James said. “We wanted it to showcase our fun-spirited personality and more importantly, we wanted to scare away bridezillas.”
To build their brand to match their personality, Megan and James created a whimsical logo and changed their website and blog copy to reflect their fun-loving outlook on life. For example, under the “About” tab, James writes that he wishes, “I had hair, a dog and a field of donkeys.”
“We also are very interested in design,” Megan added. “So we’re attracted to people who really think about the layout of the day and pay attention to all the details from decorations to flowers to the table setting and really go that extra step to make the wedding their own.”
To market Solas Weddings, Megan and James get a majority of their exposure through word of mouth and social media sharing, including their blog. “We like to put a few photos from a recent wedding up on our blog to tell the story of that couple and their big day. We then pass that blog link along to the bride and groom and ask them to post it on their Facebook page and tag their friends.”
“By posting a sneak peak straight after a wedding you will get the bride and groom, their families and friends all talking about and anticipating the rest of the images,” James said. “For our last wedding in London, people were very appreciative of the blog post and those who couldn’t make it told us they felt like they were there.” To spread the word, they also like to use their blog to give shout-outs to the catering and flower vendors that were used at the wedding. They then find the company’s Facebook page and post the link there too.
Both Megan and James have been PhotoShelter members since 2007, operating their own individual sites in addition to Solas Weddings. But to launch their wedding photography business, they were drawn to PhotoShelter again because of the site’s many features. “Clients can easily download anything they need. And with the great e-commerce capabilities, people can stay at home and use their credit cards to purchase exactly what they’re looking for. The system accommodates all the needs of the photographer and the client,” James said. “Overall, we love it for its excellent search engine optimization, client delivery and portfolio functions.”
They both also like that PhotoShelter gives them options with templates and designs. “We chose the simplest design because we believe it shows off the pictures in the best way and matches well with our simple blog style,” Megan said.
To date, Megan and James have taken Solas Weddings far beyond Dublin and have shot for three Italian weddings, an Australian wedding, a London wedding, and one on an island off the west coast of Ireland. As the business continues to take off, Megan and James are excited to optimize their use of PhotoShelter to expand their business and gain more exposure to showcase and sell their work to potential new clients all over the world.
So what’s next? The dynamic duo says, “We want to keep doing what we’re doing and work with couples that are up for something a bit different and have a relaxed and fun attitude towards their big day.”