And THIS Is Why You Always Carry Your Camera

Katie Armiger reluctantly signs an overzealous youth's bicep.

I was going about my own business, teaching school (music, these days), when I heard about a young singer who was coming to the school to share about her experience in the music industry and, of course, sing a few songs for us. It turned out to be Katie Armiger, an up and coming female vocalist in country music.

Katie Armiger chatting backstage. I like the belt loop tihng.

I will have to say I was quite impressed, and being a music lover myself, I can certainly be picky. She had a nice, strong voice, which I did not at all expect, and with none other than a high school choir teacher at the sound helm, I doubt there was any funny business in the back. On top of a great voice, she actually writes many of her own songs, which is sadly rare in so many singers these days. Thank you, Katie. I do not just want a nice voice and entertaining tunes, I want to listen to what you have to say. If you do not want to tell me, then I do not want to hear your music. Actually, I can list off a good number of singers that have no looks at all, do not really have a terribly impressive voice, but the words are straight from their heart and cut right into mine.

Katie wrote a song entitled, “Leaving Home”, about her own experience of leaving her home in Sugarland, Texas for the bright lights of Nashville. Then, in a stroke of somebody’s public relations genius, she had it arranged for choir. Get it? It is the end of the year, high school seniors are leaving home, and choir directors around the country are always looking for a touching piece of parting music for graduation. They have sung the same few tunes a hundred times. So, Katie & Co. posted several hundred copies to high school choir directors, and I would imagine they will have a lot of takers. Our school is a taker; I know that much.

Hm, maybe I will have to take some shots of our choir singing and add it into this story. Keep that thought, Cooper, but first, that reminds me…

Katie Armiger talking with the girls while signing autographs.

There I am, corralling mischievous band students, and I realize that the perfect photo opportunity has just dropped in my lap. I did not do much with the concert part itself, because my other duties had me tied to a specific location, where the best I could do was take a few crowd shots. Once the class was gone, though, it was free reign.

Just as a photographic aside, since this is a photoblog after all, this shoot was a bit of an experiment for me: this is the first shoot, besides with my children, in which I have used a zoom lens instead of my trusty primes. There were positives and negatives, but I did really like the flexibility. In practice, though, I hovered at 24mm and 35mm. So, with minimal switching, I could have my primes, with my beautifully large primal-sized apertures, and still do all that with only two lenses.

Oh, and for all of you lighting geeks, I, of course, was toting my banks of lights, just in case. I like to use a few hundred red, blue, and green gel lights overhead to create the perfect color temperature. As you will see in some of these shots I chose some high-amperage, continuous lights straight into the lens for a little dramatic effect. And then I had a few dozen fill lights positioned 360 degrees so I did not lose any details in the shadows. Finally, never forget your backdrops; here I used heavy, theatre-grade, black, felt curtains to insure portraits that really make the subject shine. For important shoots like this, you really have to have your lighting gear with you, even if that means a five digit budget…and keep a high school theatre handy.

And I could not leave without mentioning Katie’s accompnis…accompnie…accom…guitar player. Rhean Boyer‘s unique name burned into my mind a lot faster than the seemingly more simple Katie Armiger. Sorry, Katie. Rhean himself is more than just a side show. He has been lead singer in his own band and is quite accomplished. He did a fine pickin’ and a strummin’. Sorry, Rhean, I cannot help the movie references here; at least it is a music lover movie.

Rhean Boyer supplies the perfect framing for Katie's voice.

So, there you have it, the moral of the story: always carry your camera. All I have to do is share my services with Katie, whose manager was more than happy to accept photos of Katie in action. Then, at the very least, I have helped out a young, talented lady portray herself in the real world interacting with real people, and not just have to rely on a stack of sterile studio photos to build her image. How personal is that? And if Katie and Rhean decide to give me a little link love from their websites, who knows what that could do for helping others see the value of my services? [ wink, wink ]

And think of it: all that PR hob-nobbing is really the rubbish end of the deal. I good part was just having some fun.

Cooper Strange Written by:

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