On game days, I usually head on down to the Charger Power Party to chat up the Charger Girls and get a calendar signed for my publisher, James, over at Ultimate Cheerleaders. And last year, during a lull on one particular Sunday, Charger Girl Gail asked me how I select photos for the blog. I thought about it for a moment and prefaced my answer by saying that the photos I select for the blog usually are the ones that I like, ones that really stand out. And that for me, a photo worthy of being selected for the blog or, more importantly, to be selected for Charger Girl of the Day, it has to have several qualities.
First, the subject has to have a compelling expression on her face, whether it be a nice smile, a contemplative moment, a spontaneous expression of joy or frustration…something that makes you, as the viewer, interested in what’s going on in that moment. I generally like soft, natural smiles. I am not a fan of those forced facial expressions that high school or college squads seem to encourage.
Second, I usually like to select images of Charger Girls in dramatic poses or at the height of a dance move, in full extension. If dancing, I usually like to capture a sense of movement by showing the swirl of her hair or the hem of her skirt. So, in this sense we capture something compelling in the movement or body position of the dancer.
Third, I usually like clean backgrounds, so I usually try to select images of the Charger Girls without the myriad of sideline distractions in the background. That’s hard to do because increasingly there are many people and objects that get in the way, like cameramen and cable pullers and referees and the many extraneous people that make game days function. I shoot with a long telephoto lens and try to zoom in close to crop out those annoying visual distractions.
Fourth, the photo must have a pleasing visual appeal and be technically good, that is proper exposure, good perspective, proper focus, and shallow depth of field. These are all technical aspects that demonstrate my photographic abilities; after all, I don’t want to display crappy work.
So, I guess in answering Gail’s question, it’s really a combination of the Charger Girl doing what she does best and me doing what I do best. I believe that the most compelling photographs are the ones where there is a connection between me and the Charger Girl and when we connect on that level, a special moment is captured on film. We are both in the moment, both enjoying what we do…she, dancing and me, photographing.
Author’s note – click on the photos to see a larger, clearer image. For some reason, when WordPress displays a photo that I upload, it’s displayed in the body of the blog as being fuzzy.