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Thread started 13 May 2011 (Friday) 23:44
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My first post competitive Cheerleading

 
RSBurton
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May 13, 2011 23:44 |  #1

This is my first post to the forum. My daughter does competitive cheerleading. I have beome the gyms photographer for all 9 teams. These pictures were taken at our national competition. I shot these with my new camera Canon 7d. The situation was this, dark arena, no flash photography allowed, occasional strobes going off from event photographers, my location was right next to the stage with the coaches. Coments welcome.


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7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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Coach21
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May 14, 2011 00:35 |  #2

Wow, considering you wen't in charge of the lighting, I think you did an admirable job.

Would like to see a version of the photos that show if the focus is okay.

Thanks for posting and welcome to the forum.

You'll find an amazing group of talented insight here.

Andy




  
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RSBurton
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May 14, 2011 07:25 |  #3

Thanks, still trying figure out how to post the larger sizes of my pictures, had to resize them several times before I could upload them. The bottom team is my daughter's team which took first place. I used kit lens 28-135, even though I have several primes. I am currently lusting after 24-70 2.8 EF which I rented for one previous competition. My previous camera was a Canon Rebel Xs which I burned through in 2 years with some 50K plus picture. It currently need to be fixed which was my excuse for up grading.


7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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maniasad
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May 14, 2011 18:57 |  #4

Larger size would be better. But still nice shots!!!




  
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J.Napier
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May 15, 2011 01:55 |  #5

RS,
Dont be afraid to bump up the ISO another click to 6400, which would also get you a bit better shutter speed than 400. Before next season try to get into shooting in Manual. Use spot metering not partial and read off the skin tone not the uni.
I have shot with a 7D but I am not familar with your lens, why were you at F/5 at 28mm? If you must shoot in shutter priority wide oped should be 3.5 with that lens.
Also check your settings it appears you have your exposure compensation set to -1.0? Not sure why.
All in all timing was pretty good but they look a bit soft, could be due to compresion during upload, what program are you using for pp and resizing?
You should be lusting for a 70-200 mm 2.8. It is my work horse for cheer.Save a bit more that lens and you will be happier with the reach. You can find good deals on used equipment (Maybe a version 1) here or other buy and sell forums like FM.
Who was the event photog? Strange but not completely unheard of for them to use strobes.
I burned through 20k+ images a couple of weeks ago on my 1DM3 at Worlds. My shutter didnt survive and is currently at Canon not sure yet what the count was but it had to have upwards/over of 200k on it.
I will post some of my shots from worlds before to long just havent had the chance to go through them yet.
I look forward to seeing some of your work next season.


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RSBurton
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May 15, 2011 10:33 |  #6

Jeff, I appreciate the look at my photos. I believe the event photographers were Lightspeed. My daughter, who is 8 and a flyer, competes in the Midwest. The Gym travels to Indy at the Convention Center (WSF), Cobo Hall at Detroit (GLCC), UIC and Navy Pier a couples of times each a year, and NIU in DeKalb. I am completely self taught, and trying to learn more each day. Sometimes I know just enough to be dangerous.

I shot the event in shutter priority (400) on most of the pictures, which looking at my camera monitor, gave me he best pop on the uniform colors. I have since learned not to trust 100% your cameras monitor. The lens I shot with was the Kit lens that came with my 7D Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens. Not my lens of choice, but I had just spent $1900 on a new camera and to rent a lens for the event would have been another $150. I pretty much have no problem renting something once to try it than I typically buy, I had already rented one for Indy and my wife would have had a cow on the spot.
Prior to this year I was approached by many of the Gyms parents to set up a website to purchase the photos I had been taking for free to this point. Up to the National, sales had been less than stellar, and after I had trashed my camera in just 2 years, it was time to see if I could make any money doing this. I could not afford to be replacing or fixing a camera every 2 years. I changed my pricing structure, got rid of the website, went to a slide show presentation or kiosk with my laptop at the gym and placed some time constraints and the results were much better. I am pouring every dollar I make back into equipment.
I have not done any pp to the images other than to resize them. I shot the event in jpeg rather than raw, only because I had to buy 8 new CF cards and could only afford 4G. I suspect the images are a bit soft too, after learning about some 7Ds can have a soft focus issue and some lens may need to Micro adjustment. I played around with that at my nephew’s birthday party and got sharper images.

I don’t know how close you are to the girls when you shoot, I would say at over half of our events, at times during the routine I am only 5 feet away from the girls. Most times I am shooting next to the event photographers. At that distance would you be able to get all the stunt groups (as many as 6) in one picture with 70-200 mm 2.8? Most of the parents in the gym prefer seeing the entire, stunt or pyramid and I tend to get my close ups during the dance and cheer portions of the routine.
Over our 2 day Nationals, I shot, approximately 6,000 photos, of 8 teams, roughly 300 to 350 per routine, not hard to do with the occasional 8fps bursts of the 7D. Jeff at events, how many pictures do you average per routine?
The Gym has approached me about possibly doing the team and individual photos next year .While I am flattered and know I could do a decent job. I really want to do a great job and need to learn more before that next step. I know very little about PP, need to learn more about lighting and want to take a class with the possibility of some workshops. My eventual goal is to continue doing cheer competitions, branch off eventually into team photos. I thought, high School senior portraits would be a natural dovetail, from the families at the gym.

Thanks for the look
Randy


7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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J.Napier
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May 16, 2011 02:18 |  #7

Randy,
Its my pleasure to look at your images and give advice that I have had passed onto myself and the things that I learned on my own, that’s what this forum is supposed to be about although that’s not always how it works. I to am self taught and my daughter started competitive cheer in the 4th grade (she will be a senior next year) and was a flyer as well up until she reached the high school level, and is how I got started in photography.
I shoot a few (6-7) local comps here in the PNW and freelance to other companies around the country also. I shoot many other sports as well, as my other kids were always involved in something or another.
Shutter priority will not have a lot of impact as far as “pop” goes in your images. Proper exposure, white balance, and filling the frame will, along with in camera adjustments will help also. What style are you shooting in? Try portrait and bump up the sharpening, contrast, and saturation a bit. Especially when shooting jpeg and not doing any pp.
As you know this (sport shooting) is not a cheap hobby/passion, equipment will come as you can get it. As it is you have a really good body to work with and will make the best of the glass you have.
As far as pricing goes try to be consistent within your market, I will be one to preach do not give your work away ever. I will also say as an event photographer do not step on the pros toes or try to under cut them. I have been the team photographer also and I did not give my work away then either. There will always be a PWC and there is not a lot that the pro can do to stop it, other than to produce higher quality products and things that the PWC cant at the point of sale. Show some love to the pro working the event and if the product is good buy something.
I do not know Light speed but I do know a local to you event photog that does a lot of cheer and dance in your area.
You will find that T&I will always be more profitable than shooting/selling action alone but parents are a PITA at times. I rarely post anything on my website anymore it takes to long and it never really pays. Some things I will but most I don’t. If I have my view stations set up at the event, its buy them now or they will not be available online.
I do not own a 7D but I have used one a few times, I have never heard of a focus issue with that body however. I would suspect that any soft issues you are having are due to cropping, high ISO slower than I would want to go SS. 640 is where I generally try to stay above. I shoot most at F/3.5- 3.2to give a bit more DOF. Also composition/focal point. Make sure you use a single point focus and AI Servo
When shooting cheer we are right at the stage/mat. With a 70 -200 you may have to wait to get some of the kids once they move back away from the front of the stage, if standing you can use your feet to back up a bit sometimes, sometimes not.
As you know most stunt builds are either staggered or in a diagonal formation you will not have enough DOF to get them all in focus and still have enough light to get the shot. You would need to be anywhere from F/8-F/22 to get them. Focus/concentrate on one stunt group at a time as a dad you will generally gravitate to your daughters build, you will have to get over that to sell photos. If you go to enough comps you will get the opportunity to get them all eventually. I have shot my daughters teams while working for other companies and you would never guess that I favored her but did get plenty of shots of here.
To answer your question yes I can get 6-7 and even more kids in the same photo with the 70-200mm. I have a 24-70 also and rarely use it unless its on a tripod or plate remotely fired at center stage doing wide angles. When I get a chance I will try to post some examples on this thread of such. If you go to my FB link below you can see some of last years WA shots if you scroll down. WA of jump and dance sequences are cool if the team is a level 5-6 and they all hit, but in my opinion there’s almost always one straggler in the back that’s not on time that will ruin the shot Even with teams like Top Gun, ACE’s and Stingrays. Cheer is like all other sports, best when shot tight and cropped tighter to a degree.
300-350 is it bit high you got to go a little lighter on that shutter. But if it’s working for ya… I generally shoot any where from 125-140 shots per routine depending on the level of the team. Minis small dance teams 80-125.
The Dallas show we shoot is 5 stages 25+ photogs 14 hour days are brutal with very little time to chimp to get rid of unappealing images. The teams just keep on coming with about 15-30 seconds in between.
I also do some senior shoots and a few weddings a year also it does come as you do the other stuff. T&I is something you need to be comfortable with especially lighting and if you get into green screen that’s a whole nother deal in its self. Try to see if you can find or work with someone else doing T&I before jumping into that if you can. Experience can go along way in that area and if its screwed up it wont be your name attached to it. If you can work with someone who knows how it’s done right you can learn a lot.
Sorry this is so long but you may be able to find some useful info in it


Jeff
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RSBurton
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May 16, 2011 23:37 |  #8

Jeff I really do appreciate the advice. So if I have it right your recommending shooting in manual with a SS above 1/640 with AV around 3. Picture style of Portrait, you say bump up sharpening, contrast, and saturation a bit (how much? half way or all the way?) Use a single focus point and AI Servo and spot metering (Do you put that point on the body or shot for face?).

I do not know about were you shoot, but most of the venues here are more like concert lighting with dark backgrounds, is your situation similar? How often have you had a camera fail you like at worlds? After trashing my rebel xs I bought the extended warranty on my new 7D which pushes the warranty out to 4 years . I still need to send in the Rebel for repairs before next season, so that I have some kind of back up. I currently have about $800 to spend and kicking around a few ideas or just holding it to next season and buying a new lens after the first few competitions and I have accumulated a few more $$$. Or I am thinking of picking up a 580EX II which I would use back in the warm up area to get more candid picks, especially getting girls who are in the very back of the routine and its tough to get shots of them sometime. With whats left I would attend some seminars at the local Calumet store nearby. Thanks once again Randy


7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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J.Napier
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May 17, 2011 21:27 |  #9

Randy,
Thats about right and adjust your ISO to get those settings.Dont over due the settings just bump them a little. Meter off the face or skin tones.
Backgrounds are similar most of the smaller local events dont even have lighting. That is my first failed shutter, I dont know for sure yet but I'm sure it was well over 200k.
A flash is important I have 2 580's and one 430. But IMO you will want the 70-200mm 2.8 but make yourself happy and get what you think is best, Ican only speak for my self and what I use, and what I see the other pros use most of the time for cheer.
Have fun in the classes Im sure you will pick up some great info/tips there.

Jef


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May 19, 2011 14:21 |  #10

Welcome to the forum Randy, Jeff is a good person to listen to for advice when it comes to cheer photos. I know there are some other great ones here that might chime in also. I never go to a competition without my 70-200 2.8, it is my workhorse. I may cover some of the local, smaller shows, but I come here alot to continue learning and Jeff is one the guys I can always count on giving some good advice. I can't really add much to what Jeff has said, sounds like he nailed it already. I am not sure, but does the 7D have a MF adjustment feature?

As far as doing your teams T&I, I would say give it a shot. You have a good 5 or 6 months to work on it, take some classes, etc. The first year I was asked to do it, I thought the shots were horrible, but the parents loved them. I am always trying to improve on the previous years shots, but basically what I am saying is... go for it, you never know!

I also completely agree with Jeff about showing the hired photog some love. Not sure if you need to show as much love as we did in Atlanta this year..($240 for pics, another $120 for videos), but you'll appreciate it when you start covering events( ??? ).




  
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RSBurton
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May 21, 2011 13:15 |  #11

Yes my 7D has a MF adjustment feature, and I just started playing with it about the same time as my first post. Found out about it after reading some reviews of the 7D here. Honestly I will probably wait one more year on the team photos. I really want to observe a lot closer this time, as the event photograoher does it, and my wife who is on our booster club, has already committed to a date with the photgrapher. I need to acquire some more equipment before attempting it. The other issue is the gym has one huge group shot each year of almost 150 girls, just wondering if my 7D would work well for that? What lens do you use for teams 85mm? 24-70mm?

Did I see in one of your posts you go to Indy? If so which competition, we will be there again mid December.


7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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J.Napier
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May 21, 2011 22:07 |  #12

Randy,
I use my 24-70 for T&I a shot with 150 kids will be an undertaking, you would probebly want a 16-35 or maybe even a 10-20 I think. If you intend to light them you will need to make sure its even and no one gets shadowed for the best results. You could do it outside with naturl light.
And thanks for the compliments Lance, you do a great job as well as have great info to share.


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RSBurton
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May 21, 2011 23:46 |  #13

Jeff, the photographer last year had issues with the lighting it was a litte dark around the edges. The gym has taken the team shot indoors since the gym started 9 years ago. She wants the same indoor shot. I know the owner well enough that she would let me shoot some test shots with my daughters team after a practice. Which is what I plan on doing after I pick up some studio lights. Do I need a full frme camera fo such a large shot?


7D / 28-135, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 85mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 I, 50-250mm IS, (3) 600ex-rt

  
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J.Napier
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May 22, 2011 11:45 |  #14

Since I'm on my phone this morning, the short answer is no you dont need a full frame body.


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May 23, 2011 00:08 |  #15

RSBurton wrote in post #12452797 (external link)
What lens do you use for teams 85mm? 24-70mm?

Did I see in one of your posts you go to Indy? If so which competition, we will be there again mid December.

When I shoot my T&I, I am using my 28-75mm right now. So far we have always shot full body shots and let the girls go thru a few different poses. Next year, I am thinking about doing something different, just haven't figured out what. My daughter's team banquet was today and they showed us the new uniform for next year, shot down the background I was thinking of using already :(. It does help to be able to take test shots, thats a nice luxury. So far we only shoot a few small gyms around here ( less than 100 girls each ) and we are able to set up the night before and I get lots of time to set up.

As far as going to Indy, we did not go there last year, but the gym is thinking of going again this coming year, but hasn't released the schedule yet. We went to Jamfest when we went there. I wouldn't mind going there again, but I have no control over that...lol, If I did, we would also go back to Dallas every year (home).

Be sure to come back and post some more shots soon...




  
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My first post competitive Cheerleading
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