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Setting Up A High-End Wedding Studio | John Solano Interview Part 1

By Pye Jirsa on July 25th 2014

Successful Wedding Photography

I’ve had the good fortune to get to know John Solano, an extremely successful wedding photographer who also teaches. He is my mentor and friend, and he stopped by for an interview. John Solano has insight on what it takes to set yourself up for wedding photography success. Check out part 1 of this 3 part interview series.

Interview With John Solano Part 1

This article is a paraphrased version of the video interview. To get all the details from the interview, watch the video above.

Pye: You guys shoot, what is it, 150 events a year?

John: About 125-150 a year.

Pye: Of those, you do…

John: I’m doing about 90-100


Pye: How did you carve out your style and niche serving high end clientele in Southern California?

John: I think it’s two-fold. One you’ve heard many times, you make someone happy they’ll tell 2-3 people, you make someone unhappy and they’ll tell everybody. So obviously you’re looking for that better 2-3 people. It’s also about the experience, you’re dealing with normal people that aren’t models and I think the experience is one of the most important things.


Pye: What defines that experience that you give to your clients?

John: Nobody remembers what you said, they don’t remember exactly what you did, they don’t remember how you did it, all they remember is how you made them feel. If the photo process felt effortless, if it felt smooth and efficient, and easy and fun, then that’s the experience.


Pye: I have a story about this actually. We were at the Pasadena Langham, and I remember we were out in the courtyard and we were shooting and I was helping with the lighting. I remember the Dad coming out in the middle of the couple session, maybe 5 minutes into it, and Dad let off this stream of expletives. I’m not going to say all the words he said, I’m going to give the PG version. “John, we’re not paying you all this money to effing be wasting their time, we need to get them into this party, what are you doing!?” I was ready to crap my pants at that point, and you turned to him and said “It’s cool, I got this, go inside have a drink and I’ll have them inside in 10 minutes.” That showed your grace under pressure, and that was really impressive.


Pye: If you were to give one tip on how to give your client a good experience, what would that be?

John: Always be part of the solution, not the problem, and be able to identify the type of personality you’re dealing with. You always have to keep a level of confidence in your couple.

Pye: Photographers always say that they want to jump into these big budget weddings, but they don’t want to take the time it takes to get to this level.

John: Anybody can teach somebody else camera settings, lighting, posing skills, you can teach people all of that, but you can’t teach people charisma. Sometimes people don’t need photography school, they need charm school.


Pye: What else do you think plays into your success?

John: The client followup. A lot of photographers will take Monday off, I work Mondays because people will call and leave messages over the weekend and on Monday, I want to be the first one to call them back.



We hope you enjoyed this interview. In the next segment, we’re going to talk about how John Solano got his start. Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel so you can see it as soon as it goes live.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jesper Ek

    Nice article!

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  2. Aaron Cheney

    Such a wonderful article!

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  3. Wendell Fernandes

    great stuff!

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  4. Vladimir Ambía

    I don’t know but we Peruvians are great photographers ;)

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  5. Michel Andy

    Totally agreed with Mr John

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  6. Paul Blacklock

    Brillant Stuff! Keep those great interviews coming


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  7. Joseph Anthony

    I had the privilege of working with John once its was great see him in action. Amid the chaos everyone was engaged in every word he said. Truly and inspiration.

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  8. Greg Faulkner

    I’m interested to know Pye how you initially were able to have John mentor you? Were you friends before the mentorship or did the friendship arise from it?

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  9. Rambo Estrada

    That guys seems like the man!

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  10. James Matthews

    Great interview, looking forward to watching the other parts!

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  11. Facundo Luzardo

    Pure gold. Keep this coming!

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  12. Christopher

    John Solano is such an inspiration. His photography + people skills + creativity make him a unique person in the industry.

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