Now that I have had a chance to recover from Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations, it is time for my annual retrospective of the top 10 cheerleader photos of the year.
Through my association with UltimateCheerleaders.com, I have been to a number of professional cheerleading events in 2014, from auditions to the premier professional cheerleader convention in the United States. And over the past year, I have literally taken thousands upon thousands of photographs and in this article, I am going to highlight my favorite cheerleader photographs of 2014.
Over the next few days, I will be counting down my top 10 cheerleader photographs of 2014. So let’s begin.
10. Charger Girl Lindsay in her Salute to the Military uniform
Those people who know me best, know that I am not a big fan of special occasion cheerleader uniforms, especially when it comes to my Charger Girls. I think that they have one of the most distinctive and, if I may say so, sexy uniforms in all of professional cheerleading. So when it comes to these special occasion uniforms, I feel that they are hardly more enticing than the Charger Girls regular uniforms. But there are a few circumstances when a particular Charger Girl wears one of these special occasion uniforms and they make for a wonderful image.
So it was the case when Lindsay, whom I call the Chargers Golden Girl, looked amazing in her Salute to the Military uniform…a tight fitting green outfit honoring the U.S. Army. A beautiful girl with a great smile, vivid colors and a figure flattering costume make for one dynamic image, one of my top ten favorite images from 2014.
9. Phoenix Suns Dancer Ariel at the 2014 Suns Dancers Auditions
I have been covering the Phoenix Suns Dancers auditions for the past several years and it is one of my favorite events to cover because the girls are absolutely gorgeous and I always seem to get some very compelling photographs. This year, it was a challenge because the venue was very dark and the hip hop oriented choreography was very challenging to shoot.
Shooting leaping movements is always difficult for me because I usually shoot in the portrait orientation, but after watching the audition routine being demonstrated, I knew that this jete turn would be a very compelling photo if I could get the shot properly framed in my viewfinder and hit the movement at peak action. And to compound the challenge, I would have to hit the focus point on her skin to properly expose the shot.
Well I got lucky…I waited for peak action, hit my mark, and framed Ariel just right so that I could crop the final image to give a sense of scale to the shot and got a proper exposure.
So that in a nutshell is why this is one of my favorite shots of 2014…a compelling photo of a beautiful dancer at the height of her jete turn.
And let me say, Ariel is as beautiful as they come. See more photos of Ariel at the 2014 Phoenix Suns Dancers auditions here.
8. St. Louis Rams Cheerleader Breanna
A little known fact is that the St. Louis Rams, when they were the Los Angeles Rams, were my favorite NFL team when I was growing up. And when I got the opportunity to cover their auditions a few years ago, I was excited and this has become an event I forward to every year. I love the fact that their final auditions is pageant style and that it has three phases: interview, swimsuit and dance. There’s a lot to shoot and I always get some interesting images of the Missouri’s most beautiful women.
During the course of an audition, I usually spot one or two newcomers who clearly have that something extra that makes them stand out from the rest of the hopefuls, and this year it was Breanna who caught my eye. Good looks, great dancing ability, and that special presence that demands your attention were the reasons why she made the Rams Cheerleaders and certainly why she made this list. She’s something special.
See more of Breanna at the 2014 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions here.
7. Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Brittany
One of my guilty pleasures is covering the Ladies of Ontario Fury because I am given a lot of freedom when I cover them during game days and auditions. And this freedom usually expresses itself in some very compelling photos of some very beautiful girls because the more you are able to do photographically and creatively, the better the final image.
This photo may be the sexiest photo I took all year. The girl in question is Brittany Wagner, a second year veteran who is D.D.G. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. She also happens to be Miss Universal City 2014 and is currently competing in the Miss California USA pageant as I write this. She is strikingly beautiful…as you would imagine a pageant girl to be. And she’s a terrific dancer with great body lines in her movements and poses. She’s also really nice, which is neither here nor there for the purposes of this list, but I thought I would mention it because its true.
What I like about this photo is 1) the beautiful smile on her face; 2) the sexy pose that doesn’t reveal too much, if you know what I mean, and 3) the vaguely Patrick Nagel look about Brittany in this image. So this is why this image is one of my top ten photos of 2014.
See more photos of Brittany at the 2014 Ladies of Ontario Fury dance team auditions here.
6. Charger Girl Alexa Flutie
There are many beautiful and talented Charger Girls. Hey, its Southern California and you really can’t walk 10 feet without bumping into a gorgeous girl. I suppose its the great weather, wonderful lifestyle and the relaxed attitude that makes this the closest thing to paradise.
Yeah, we attract our fair share of beautiful and talented people out here and that is most definitely applicable to the Charger Girls. And that certainly applies to our next cheerleader, Alexa who really gave me some very interesting photos this year. I love the sense of movement you see in her hair and her smile that is peeking through really depicts the joy that these girls feel when they are performing on the field. So that is why this image is one of my top photos of the year.
5. Phoenix Suns Dancers Audition Hopeful
The Phoenix Suns Dancers audition is one of my favorite events of the year to shoot. I think I mentioned that I always get a lot of interesting photos of some gorgeous girls at this event. Phoenix has them in abundance and the Suns seem to get more than their fair share of lookers to come out for their auditions.
I must say that I was quite taken by this one dancer. She is strikingly beautiful and a pretty good dancer too. She has model good looks and my gaze always seemed to find her in that sea of pretty dancers. She’s just one of those special girls that stand out for her beauty.
So why is this photo, one of my top ten of the year? I am not quite sure. I have taken other photos that are more dynamic in terms of aesthetic pose or dance movement. I have taken other photos that are more colorful or visually striking. But there are few that I enjoy more than this one. I guess its one of my favorite photos simply because I relate to this girl more than the others. And that’s good enough for me.
4. Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Michelle
The Ladies of Ontario Fury are a cool gig to shoot and this marks the second instance where a photo of one of their cheerleaders made my Top 10 list. This is Michelle C. and she is one of my favorite cheerleaders to photograph. She’s as pretty as they come and I love their squad’s uniform. The bright colors and figure flattering style really make the girls look attractive and sexy. And for me, a cool looking uniform is important.
Hot girl. Sexy uniform. Beautiful Smile. Everything you would want in a killer photo.
3. Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader Jeanne at the 2014 P.R.O. Convention
The event that I look forward to the most is the P.R.O. Convention in Atlanta. Imagine over 300 of the hottest professional cheerleaders all in one place, all gussied up in their game day uniforms and all tricked out. Its an amazing event to shoot.
The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders are one of the squads that puts out a full force effort. They always send a number of girls to the event and a variety of game day uniforms for the girls to wear. The MVC are a squad that stand outs and one of the MVC that stood out the most was Jeanne, a beautiful blonde with an amazing presence. And in this shot, Jeanne was doing a clapping, swaying motion to the Pharrell Williams song, “Happy”.
I just love the way she looks, the motion of her hair, and the color of her uniform. It all makes for an interesting photograph. You can see more of Jeanne and the rest of the 300 P.R.O. Convention attendees here, here and here.
2. Charger Girl Angela M.
I can honestly say that over the past few years, Angela has been one of my favorite Charger Girls to photograph. Since her first day in the uniform, I have gotten more “keepers” from her than any other Charger Girl.
I have said in the past, we have some strange mojo going on in that she’s killing it and so am I. And the end product is…amazing.
In simple terms, the subject and the photographer have to relate to each other in order to get a dynamic shot and for whatever reason, I relate to her well. There have been other gorgeous Charger Girls that I simply haven’t developed that special vibe with them and when I look at my images, I can see that the magic isn’t quite there as it is with Angela.
I don’t know what it is, we just click….photographically speaking. And since this may be her last year on the squad (she’s getting married soon), I was fortunate enough to get one last killer shot of her.
1. Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader Hopeful
The Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders audition is one of my favorite events to cover because I have a great time and I always get some of the most memorable images of the year. The girls are gorgeous, they wear some of the most colorful audition outfits and the venue allows me to get some nice, contrasty images. This is a recipe for success…they only thing I need to do is to pick my spots and choose my shots.
Gorgeous girl + great dancing + cool backdrop = top ten photo…and this one is my favorite photo of the year.