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My top 5 songs and photographing Sugarland

My top 5 songs and photographing Sugarland

Music and photographs go together. I’ve put together so many slide shows, and sure, the pictures tell a thousand words, but the real magic happens when you add that track of music. Even if you just play your favorite song in the background, it creates a nice atmosphere or a mood.

Your music selection for your slide show is so important, that’s why I try to keep up with current songs. I even wrote about the music website Pandora in last week’s column. As my iTunes library continues to grow and my wallet gets a little lighter, I decided to pick my top five songs from 2010.

I figure everyone likes lists, at least I know David Letterman fans do. This would be my turn to share my top five, and one of the songs features the country duo Sugarland, which happens to be one of my favorite photo shoots from a couple of years ago.

It was my record for most different kinds of film, pixels and locations in the shortest amount of time to shoot a portrait.

Here is my top five song list from 2010:

1. “Stuck Like Glue” by Sugarland — I’m not much of a country-western fan, but this song topped my list. The song rocks, give it a chance.

2. “Sing” by My Chemical Romance — What, did you think I was leaning toward elevator music at my age? No one is going to stay awake if you’re going to use music you might hear on the way up to the 11th floor.

3. “Just a Dream” by Nelly — This is No. 1 on my gym playlist. I need it to get started on the treadmill.

4. “Airlines” by B.o.B with Hayley Williams — Be sure to watch the language, it can get a little rough. It carries the explicit tag on the iTunes store.

5. “What’s My Name” by Riahnna & Drake — I started to waffle, this could be my pick for No. 1 and here it is at No. 5. Sometimes it’s tough to make decisions.

The truth is, depending on the feeling you want to create for the slide show, any of these could be my No. 1 choice.

Somehow I need to get back to Sugarland on the top of the list since they are the subject of my photo in the gallery above from a couple of years ago.

Basically, it was the typical photo shoot taking place at a hotel. The reporter was interviewing singer Jennifer Nettle and mandolin-guitar playing songwriter Kristian Bush of the country duo Sugarland. The photography session was planned right after their lunch. You really never know what will happen until you arrive and get the lay of the land.

This certainly was the case. I only had 10 minutes to photograph because they had to catch a plane. I had to think quickly and I scouted a few locations around the hotel for the shoot while the reporter finished the interview over lunch.

Since the lighting was so nice, I took a few shots during the interview, but I knew they wanted them together, so this was just a warm-up.

At that moment, the hotel manager came over and asked what was going on. Since they didn’t know anything about it, I needed to do a little bit of explaining to keep everyone happy. Once that was taken care of,  the interview was over and I had about nine minutes. The time went by quickly, but they were so nice and cooperative. This really makes or breaks your photographs.

I used one small strobe and softbox on a stand and also natural window light for the first shot; next, I moved them so there was strong backlighting from the window and used the strobe as the main light for my second location.

Next, we moved to one of the typical hotel corridors and used the small incandescent hall lights for the exposure. It gave the photograph the warm, yellow look. Everyone seemed to like this photo the best.

Minute five, with the clock counting down, we rushed outside in front of the hotel which had a really interesting block-wall pattern. For this picture, I used 2 1/4 film and my plastic Holga camera.

For the final pictures outside, I used my Lomo Oktomat 35mm plastic camera, which has eight lenses and takes eight frames in two seconds. I got them to interact with each other and the results were great.

Photo session over, no time to spare. It was time to get my film processed, scan the selects and edit the digital images.

Just another day at the office.

If you have a top five song list from 2010,  let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking to find more music to add to my iTunes library.

Photos: (top to bottom) Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of the country duo Sugarland are photographed in 2008 in Santa Monica. The main portrait used both a small strobe (flash) and softbox on a stand along with additional window light; photobooth-looking image taken with a Lomo Oktomat 35mm plastic camera which has has eight lenses and takes eight frames in succession in two seconds; strong backlighting from the window plus the small strobe as the fill; an interesting block-wall pattern and a 2 1/4 film with a my plastic Holga gave the photo the black vignette and the old-school look; and the Lomo Oktomat 35mm plastic camera again. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman


  1. January 10, 2011, 7:51 pm

    Great article this week. My top 5 for the year are:
    1. "Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna
    2. "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green
    3. "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz
    4. "Raise Your Glass" by Pink
    5. "I Like It" by Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull

    By: Christel
  2. January 26, 2011, 9:49 pm

    1. What's my name – rihanna and drake
    2. Better than Revenge – Taylor Swift
    3. I run to you – Lady Antebellum
    4. Whip my hair – Willow Smith
    5. Katy Perry – Firework

    By: Elaine

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