words: Jim Wills  •  image: Daria Rae

What do you do when you suddenly have a burst of inspiration? When the perfect shot comes into view? What do you do when you don’t have your camera with you? Well, as any seasoned photographer would tell you, “That was your first mistake. You never leave home without your camera in hand!”

Being a professional photographer for over 20 years has taught me that lesson in spades. There was a time when my camera would always ride shotgun, being relegated to the back seat only when friends and family rode along.

For a while I even had a small digital point-n-shoot that would live in my pocket. Now, almost everyone has a camera with them at all times. Apple changed the world with the original iPhone and today smartphones around the world amount for the vast majority of photos. According to a 2014 Shutterfly report, 81 percent of photo takers in the United States use a smartphone.

Yes I had my iPhone with me, and as much as I love the capabilities of its onboard 8-megapixel camera I knew this time it wouldn’t do the image justice.

This past Friday (May 29) I was at an event at Whorl clothing boutique in the Highlands. We were all there to celebrate the launch of the delectably delicious Sweet Macaroons. Whorl’s owner Megan Timlin threw quite the party, even bringing in singer/songwriter Ashley Prince to entertain us for the evening with nothing more than her acoustic guitar and angelic voice. If her name is familiar, it’s because you watched her audition earlier this year on Episode 6 of The Voice (Season 8).

The room was very intimate, yet Ashley sung like there was a full auditorium and we in the front row were celebrity musical talents. As I stood there watching, it hit me. The photo just popped into my head, as great images often do. I could envision the entire shot, composition and all. The only problem, I knew that as great as my iPhone is, it would never handle the shot just the way I wanted. The lighting was pretty low and I wanted a depth of field that while I knew I could accomplish digitally, wouldn’t be quite the same if done in the lens.

Standing off to my right was a young photographer with a Canon DSLR strapped around her neck. I waited till Ashley took a break, approached both her and the photographer (Daria Rae) and shared my plan. Both were totally down and we set up the impromptu shoot. We had to move the blue box forward a bit, but I loved how Ashley’s PA system sat on top connecting the message to the musician.

I got Ashley back on the stool with her guitar and encouraged Daria to crouch on the floor. She saw the composition almost immediately. After a few tests, we nailed it. And cut. Print. We’re moving on!

Many thanks to Megan and the staff at Whorl!
The wonderfully talented Ashley Prince
Up and coming young photographer Daria Rae
Ania & Anthony Capitano of Sweet Macaroons