Photographers Katie Seiler and Brieana Pulver thought of their clients when they named their business Solas and Kin Photography.
Solas is the Irish word for light and kin means family, they explained. In the years leading up to their new partnership in downtown Portage, they’d felt as though the words applied to every one of their photography assignments.
“When somebody hires us, we tell them they’re part of our family now,” Seiler said of the people who’ve already hired them for weddings, engagements, newborns, graduations and business events.
Their job as photographers, Pulver said, is basically “capturing memories” — sharing the light they hope shines for clients for many years to come. “Whenever they’re satisfied,” Pulver said of clients, “it just makes you feel 100 percent. It makes you feel good.”
Said Seiler: “It’s powerful. I just feel like this is what I’m meant to do.”
Seiler is in her ninth year as a professional photographer and Pulver is in her second. On June 7, they’ll unveil their studio on West Cook Street in an open house with live music. They’re inviting the community to see the renovations including new walls, flooring, the construction of a changing room and more.
Both photographers graduated from Portage High School: Seiler in 2002 and Pulver in 2013. They expect many of their clients will be from Portage, but take assignments anywhere in the world, sometimes traveling overseas. Seiler is a U.S. Air Force veteran who lives in Wisconsin Dells and Pulver lives in Pardeeville, making Portage “the perfect middle ground” for their partnership.
They expect to do community service projects on a regular basis, having already shot “pet portraits” at the local fairgrounds in April and raising $1,400 for the Columbia County Humane Society. In June, they’ll take pictures for the Portage chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, the nonprofit that builds beds for children.
“We like to help in any way we can,” Pulver said of pro bono work.
Due in part to frequent traveling, the photographers already hired a third photographer — Hannah Seubert, who takes pictures for the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce. They might hire more photographers in the years ahead.
Seiler said the photographers have “no concerns at all” about local competition because they consider every photographer to be “part of their family.” Seiler recently discussed her business with Fred Galley of Galley Studio in Portage. She said she’s “always admired” the career of Galley, whose father, Earl Galley, opened Galley Studio in 1947.
Seiler and Pulver continue to hone their craft, they said, having recently attended a panel of 100 photographers who spoke about their work in Madison. Their respective photography styles, they said, are basically extensions of their personalities. They consider themselves “outgoing” and “fun,” with Pulver perhaps being the quieter and calmer of the two, Seiler said with a laugh.
“She’s sweet, gentle and kind,” Seiler said. “She’s the baby whisperer.”
“Our personalities come into play,” she continued, “because of how we interact with our clients. We make them feel comfortable.
“They see we’re people just like everybody else.”