Aleyah Solomon is the co-founder, photographer and creative director of Here & There Magazine. After graduating from NSCAD University in 2008, Aleyah moved to Montreal and then to Toronto where she currently works as a freelance fashion, documentary and conceptual photographer. When she’s not freelancing for clients and publications, she enjoys biking and exploring new places. Known to capture her adventures wherever she goes, Aleyah has traveled extensively in South America, Asia and Europe.

5876Twitter: @aleyahs
Instagram: @aleyahs

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Yes, I always knew that I wanted to do something creative. When we were young, my parents encouraged me and my siblings in the arts – going to painting classes, singing, violin, piano and clarinet lessons and then taking photography and fine art classes in the city (Halifax) when I was in high school. Wherever we would go on holiday, we went to art galleries and sawoperas, symphonies and the ballet.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Five years from now, I plan on continuing with Julia on Here & There Magazine projects including our freelance travel work.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Have a clear vision about what you want to say and make sure to network! Also, know that you don’t need to be rude or act entitled to get ahead – being professional doesn’t mean you need to talk down to anyone!

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I read Cereal, Suitcase and Interview Magazine. For news outlets, I follow AJ+/ Al Jazeera, CBC, BBC and the Globe and Mail.

Best photo shoot you’ve ever had?
Best photo shoot I have ever had…there have been so many amazing photo shoots! While in NYC shooting for Here & There, we shot one editorial on the High Line. I was so happy it ended up being 22ºC, which was amazing but there were so many people out enjoying the weather. We ended up at one point blocking off a section for a few minutes to get the shot, but it was really funny and everyone was more than happy to watch us do our thing and wait a few moments. Having a great team on set really adds to a great shoot!

Worst?
Sometimes your energy won’t mix well with someone else’s and that can cause some tension – no matter what you do, it just sometimes won’t work out. Also, it can be difficult shooting with the feeling someone is looking over your shoulder. I have been on set for others and I feel like they are ‘backseat drivers’ in the shoot. On the flip side, these challenges can be great for learning and pushing yourself, so, I guess maybe there is no such thing as a ‘worst’ shoot. I guess if you drop your camera and break it, or something similar to that, then that would qualify as a horrible shoot. (Has not happened to me, thank goodness!)

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Whenever you have a negative thought, stop and think about something that makes you smile. I truly believe you can manifest events in your life, both negative and positive by thinking about them.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
I guess my rule for myself is to always follow my first instinct. I believe the first thing that pops in your head in a difficult situation is the one you should stick to. Also, I try not to let other people’s opinions change mine…it can be hard, but it’s important to stay true to yourself.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Personalize emails, even if changing slightly for different people. It is obvious when you’re reaching out to many people and you use the same email.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about wins.
There isn’t just one experience, but I consider many of the people I have worked with my friends. We always have a great time at events, chatting and catching up.

I hate?
Cruelty to animals, coconut water, mushrooms and when my computer freezes.

I love?
Sunny days, exploring cities, the high after a great workout and FaceTime.

Reading?
I’m Off Then by Hape Kerkeling (yes, this is research for a trip that will hopefully take place this year!)

Best place on earth?
My mom’s house.

Dinner guest?
Diane Arbus.

Hero?
Cindy Sherman.

Favourite app?
Instagram and Google maps are the apps I use the most.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.