How Do You Photograph Cheer Competitions? Tips for Beginners

The passion, emotions, and excitement are what make shooting cheer competitions so worthwhile. You have the hard-working, beautiful cheerleaders, you have the enthusiastic crowd, and you have the awesome ambiance: the opportunity to take excellent photos in a cheer competition is endless.

How Do You Photograph Cheer Competitions? Know the basics about cheerleading, check your camera settings for taking zoomed photos of the athletes, and shoot in bursts. These things can help you as a beginner to take perfect cheerleading event photos. Read this article further to know in detail.

how do you photograph cheerleading competitions

However, you have to keep a few things to keep in mind while you photograph such events.

Know about Cheerleading

Learn the rules of the game. If you know the basic cheerleading moves and stunts, it will be easier for you to anticipate the movements of the cheerleaders, helping you plan your photographs. If you are familiar with the game, you will be able to better predict the stunts and jumps, keeping you better prepared to take awesome shots.

Get Up-close with the Cheerleaders

The best photos of a cheerleading competition are the ones that show the determination on the face of the cheerleaders, the sweat on their brows, and the team bonding that they have with each other. Try and get close-up shots using especially suited long camera lenses having focal lengths above 70mm.

These close-up shots are loved by the audience and are also well-suited for print and online publishing.

Additional Tip: You may try and arrive at the event early and take photos of the officials and practice staff to see how your close-up photos will pan out. This will help you adjust the focal length, aperture, ISO, and other settings related to your scene.

Shooting in Bursts is the Solution

With a fast-moving sport like cheerleading, it is near-impossible to take perfect shots if you keep taking one photo at a time. Start taking photos before your anticipated climax moments and take multiple photos in a burst until the scene ends. This will maximize your chances of capturing moments that you miss if you keep taking one photo at a time.

Cheerleading events/competitions can be long. You may think about using a tripod to set up your camera reducing the toll on your arm.

Crowd Emotions Need to be Captured

Taking photos of the crowd is often undermined in sports photography. Try and capture raw emotions of the crowd in a cheerleading competition.

The best time to take photos of the crowd and supporters can be after a stunt or jump. The supporters will be on their feet, jovial and enthusiastic. This will enable you to get some nice shots and capture the raw emotions I was talking about.

Arrive Early, Keep Sufficient Time in Hand

You should not be in a hurry while taking photos of such events. Try and arrive early at the event, adjust the settings of your camera, and take trial photos. Arriving early can also help you get nice snaps of the athletes warming up.

Keep sufficient time at hand after the completion of the event. You may entertain individual requests of the cheerleaders to take photos, preparing nice mementos for them. Cheerleader kids and their moms love these kinds of mementos, and this can be a good source of revenue for you.

Image Credits: Pro Shots

Choose the Right Camera and Lens

You may do all the above things right and still not get good photos if you do not have the right equipment. The right camera and lens combination can help you get perfect shots. Camera settings are also equally important. You may want to read this article which mentions in detail the various important camera settings and other important info related to the best camera for cheerleading.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i along with Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens, Telephoto Zoom Lens can be the perfect combination for beginners who want to take photos of a cheerleading competition. This being a telephoto lens, will enable you to zoom on the cheerleaders effectively, taking breathtaking shots.

You may also consider taking another lower focal length lens for taking good wide-angle photos. I will recommend Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens for this purpose after talking to multiple experts in this area.

Over to You

I hope this article was able to help you understand a few nuances of cheerleading photography clearing your question about how to photograph cheerleading competitions. If you get into the grove, it will be easy as anything. Just remember to go with the flow, taking close-up photos of the cheerleaders and shooting in bursts. Rest will fall in place in time.

Get Ready with Your Basic Cheerleading Kit

A basic cheerleading kit consists of the minimum requirements that a beginner cheerleader needs for his/her practice and events. Proper uniform and comfortable shoes are a must and they help the cheerleader for his/her overall well-being and safety. This section will help you choose the uniform and shoes as per your requirements.

Cheerleading Uniform: Uniforms form an important part as you can well understand. Choose the proper uniform as per your school/event specifications. However, do take care to choose a fabric that is breathable and helps you stay comfortable during the performance. Relevant helpful resources:

1. What Fabric Is Used For Cheer Uniforms? A Common Question
2. Best Cheerleading Uniforms For Toddlers: Too Cute To Avoid – If you need an awesome cheerleading uniform for Halloween!
3. What Do Cheerleaders Wear Under Their Spankies? Demystified – Innerwear is important in this sport.
4. Check out Amazon’s Webpage for Cheerleading Uniforms – They have a good collection

Cheer Shoes: If you want to perform confidently as a cheerleader, you need comfortable shoes. Just as any other field sport, wearing proper shoes can make or break your performance. Choose the best fitting shoes as per your requirement. Some helpful resources for you:

1. Best Nike Cheerleading Shoes That Are Comfortable And Cheap – Comfortable and cheap cheerleading shoes from the best brand in this domain.
2. Best Cheer Shoes For Wide Feet That Fit The Way You Want – There are shoes specially designed for wide feet. This article helps you choose the proper one.
3. Check out Amazon’s Webpage for Cheerleading Shoes – They have shoes fitting everyone’s needs.
4. Check out the 7 Best Shoes For High School Cheer that are cheap yet comfortable.

Cheer Backpacks: Arranging things every time before your practice can be tedious. Keeping everything organized neatly in a backpack can be the key and help you save time and effort. I have made an exhaustive guide for you to choose the right cheer backpack for yourself at various price points. Do check it out if you need help.