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Thread: Cheerleaders

  1. #1

    Default Cheerleaders



    Hi there, I took this shot at a recent cheerleading competition among the different halls in NTU. Wanted a wide-angle action shot on the cheerleaders unraveling their hall banner. The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 450D, with a shutter speed of 1/25 second, f4.0, 320 ISO. Settings: in a sports hall with fluorescent lights.

    Aside from the fact that I accidentally captured a little bit of the photographer next to me (on the right), I'd like to know how this shot could've been improved. For one, could I have minimised the brightness of the ceiling lights? If so, how? As they appeared in most of my other pictures I didn't think it'd affect the photos until I transferred them to my laptop. Find the lights quite distracting.

    Also, which types of other lenses would be a better option for such shots?

    Hope to get some critiques as I'm a journalism student who just started venturing into photography. Thanks much!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    I think you shot a little too early, the hall banner has not revealed itself yet. you've missed the money shot.

    I presume you were able to rove, and not stuck to this spot. I'd have looked for positions to capture both audience and cheerleaders when shooting WA to get the big picture. it need not be any at all dramatic or exciting but it has to answer the simplest question, what is happening here. your image doesn't tell the viewer it is a competition, even i thought it was some CNY practice session or some other. Include the audience, include the judges, show the supporters, illustrate the noise & buzz... get some place high and shoot down, you might need to get permission to get into certain rooms or positions but it's worth the effort. it would certainly show your lecturer you will go the extra mile.

    you find the light's WB distracting or their composition distracting? WB here is fine, as for composition it's journalistic so it doesn't really matter. once you've achieved your primary and secondary targets, you can go about shooting something arty or experiment with filters and such. A couple of long exposure shots might prove interesting here. what lenses to use are up to you to work up a system. some find zooms adequete, others use 2 bodies, some simply switch between telephoto and WA primes when the situation demands. use what's comfortable, as you're the one carrying it all.

    this should be something you would do as a journalist too i gather. when you know there's an event planned and you're interested or told to cover it, do a recce of the location as well as 1 or 2 teams. maybe attach yourself to your hall's cheerleading team and learn their routine, and then plan for it photographically. on actual day, prepare and set up for the shot. need to manage your time well, get a friend to help you keep an eye on your equipment when you return to roving.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Quote Originally Posted by qcsquared View Post


    Hi there, I took this shot at a recent cheerleading competition among the different halls in NTU. Wanted a wide-angle action shot on the cheerleaders unraveling their hall banner. The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 450D, with a shutter speed of 1/25 second, f4.0, 320 ISO. Settings: in a sports hall with fluorescent lights.

    Aside from the fact that I accidentally captured a little bit of the photographer next to me (on the right), I'd like to know how this shot could've been improved. For one, could I have minimised the brightness of the ceiling lights? If so, how? As they appeared in most of my other pictures I didn't think it'd affect the photos until I transferred them to my laptop. Find the lights quite distracting.

    Also, which types of other lenses would be a better option for such shots?

    Hope to get some critiques as I'm a journalism student who just started venturing into photography. Thanks much!
    what i can say is, 1, besides even the shadow of the other photographer, your entire pic is a complete mess... its just so flat that everything is sharp all the way. and you are lucky that with 1/25 you still have a rather sharp image.

    2, the wrong place at the wrong time. if you are an official photographer, stand up and take the shot... if you are not, find another place you can take the shot with a telephoto lens. your angle is wrong, the timing is wrong... nothing can help that in an event shoot.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Shoot more... It is just a record shot that can be taken with any Handphone camera....

    1. If you are after action... there is none.... There is little composition of subject of interest here...

    2. Read more... Although I would say... In doors... do get a fast lens... f/2.8. A 70~200mm is definitely a good investment.... for sports. Any 200mm, 300mm f/2 lens would be very good in removing background distractions for High speed action.

    3. The ceiling lights are Okay... Not distracting here as there are no subject of interest. The ceiling lines if used wisely can draw viewers attention to your pictures.

    I say.. zoom or go closer... Don't be too greedy and put every thing inside...

    I guess you are using a kit lens.. and I don't think your flash power...can reach the stage...

    Read more... shoot more.... Same samples.. not my pics...

    http://www.silverstarcheer.co.uk/New...odestIndia.jpg

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Andrew Ng; 19th January 2009 at 10:12 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Okay, thanks so much for all the comments! Really needed that. And yup, will definitely have to shoot and read a lot more...still learning, must improve. Heh. Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Sometimes, if your shots arent good enough, you arent close enough. Most people are always tempted to capture everything in a shot but sometimes going closer will give you a different perspective and expressions in your shot. Try again bearing this in mind
    Canon 5D mkII|24-105 F4 IS L|70-200 F4 IS L|135 F2 L|580EX|

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Quote Originally Posted by yehosaphat View Post
    Sometimes, if your shots arent good enough, you arent close enough. Most people are always tempted to capture everything in a shot but sometimes going closer will give you a different perspective and expressions in your shot. Try again bearing this in mind
    when robert capa said that, he wasn't talking about distance, he was talking about understanding. just like how macro shooters need to know more about insect behaviour so as to not waste time finding them - they always seem to know where to look.. when you shoot people, a stronger understanding of who they are, what they are will help take a much more intimate picture.

    and that is what he meant.

    back to the picture. i cannot tell what the subject is. like others have mentioned, there is far too much going on. simplify - there are so many ways to do this, either by isolation with a longer shot, or by finding the angle that gives you the least clutter and works effectively.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Okay, i re-read all your advice and have some further queries/comments (hope you guys don't mind!):

    foxtwo: I actually did take a picture of the whole banner after it was revealed, but somehow felt this pic was better; that's why I posted this instead. Hmm, but i took it from the same angle, so it's probably considered bad too. :P

    OK, noted all your points about simplifying the shot and not capturing everything, but just a follow-up question. Foxtwo's comment, "your image doesn't tell the viewer it is a competition, even i thought it was some CNY practice session or some other. Include the audience, include the judges, show the supporters, illustrate the noise & buzz", and night86mare's, "...there is far too much going on" - if i were to focus on, say, only the cheerleaders in the middle, then wouldn't having the judges, supporters, etc. in the shot make it even more cluttered? (the supporters were all sitting down around the stage and the judges were all upstairs, so i think it would've been virtually impossible, but let's say it could be done?)

    "when you know there's an event planned and you're interested or told to cover it, do a recce of the location as well as 1 or 2 teams. maybe attach yourself to your hall's cheerleading team and learn their routine, and then plan for it photographically" - Ok, noted!

    "If you are an official photographer, stand up and take the shot... if you are not, find another place you can take the shot with a telephoto lens. your angle is wrong, the timing is wrong" - does that mean a direct shot would work for this? Ok, this question's not really related to the shot, but I've always had the impression that as a photographer/journalist, you've to always offer something no one else has...like different angles, etc. Is that true?

    Sorry if these are no-brainer questions; i'm such a noob. Haha. Thanks in advance!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Quote Originally Posted by qcsquared View Post
    OK, noted all your points about simplifying the shot and not capturing everything, but just a follow-up question. Foxtwo's comment, "your image doesn't tell the viewer it is a competition, even i thought it was some CNY practice session or some other. Include the audience, include the judges, show the supporters, illustrate the noise & buzz", and night86mare's, "...there is far too much going on" - if i were to focus on, say, only the cheerleaders in the middle, then wouldn't having the judges, supporters, etc. in the shot make it even more cluttered? (the supporters were all sitting down around the stage and the judges were all upstairs, so i think it would've been virtually impossible, but let's say it could be done?)
    what are you talking about?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    a reasonably alright cheerleading gallery from pbase (i'm not a big fan actually),

    link1

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Quote Originally Posted by qcsquared View Post
    "If you are an official photographer, stand up and take the shot... if you are not, find another place you can take the shot with a telephoto lens. your angle is wrong, the timing is wrong" - does that mean a direct shot would work for this? Ok, this question's not really related to the shot, but I've always had the impression that as a photographer/journalist, you've to always offer something no one else has...like different angles, etc. Is that true?

    Sorry if these are no-brainer questions; i'm such a noob. Haha. Thanks in advance!!
    who the hell instilled this kinda thoughts into you that photographer/journalist must have different angle?

    so if next time the norm become shooting from bottom up, and shooting straight on is unique, what are you going to do?

    its same like fashion... every year some 'gurus' will come and say, this year's color is xxx, then all the people who knows nuts will go for this color... but how many colors are there? so its bound to go back to the same color one year... and same goes for the cutting...
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    one simple suggestion. bump up your ISO. my personal experience is at least ISO800, and that's from a 6+ year old DSLR. If you're using anything from the new generation, use it. otherwise your other shots will suffer from motion blur especially when you least expect it at such a slow shutter speed.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    Quote Originally Posted by qcsquared View Post
    ...
    OK, noted all your points about simplifying the shot and not capturing everything, but just a follow-up question. Foxtwo's comment, "your image doesn't tell the viewer it is a competition, even i thought it was some CNY practice session or some other. Include the audience, include the judges, show the supporters, illustrate the noise & buzz", and night86mare's, "...there is far too much going on" - if i were to focus on, say, only the cheerleaders in the middle, then wouldn't having the judges, supporters, etc. in the shot make it even more cluttered? (the supporters were all sitting down around the stage and the judges were all upstairs, so i think it would've been virtually impossible, but let's say it could be done?)
    ...
    when you can't choose what or who appears in your shot, you have to separate subjects clearly into foreground, mid-ground & background, it helps here that everyone has their assigned space. for example, let's say you manage to shoot from the judges' vantage point, (assuming there's space etc) imagine putting the judges at foreground, supporters as mid and cheerleaders as back. I won't talk on composition, however, depending on how it all pans out, the picture might not be able to stand well on its own (subjects might be too small etc), so slot it in a series. i think it's always nice to include such a scene, it helps viewers to link up what's happening around, and how those subjects interacted.

    back to the image: since the judges are up high & far away, let's put them aside. try to get a ~60/40 or ~70/30 ratio of main subject/audience into the frame next time round when you shoot with a WA.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cheerleaders

    I would say there is really nothing interesting in this scene worth capturing

    - cheerleaders underdeveloped (thin) and not confident looking
    - costume is not eye catching...plain white?!?
    - venue is school's gym. How exciting is this?
    - people are static, all looking at 1 girl trying her best to untie ribbon

    I think it is the scene, people and the lack of action that makes this a bad photo.

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