Publisher? Check! – Sneek peek!

Before you read on, I just got myself on INSTAGRAM! Follow me by searching: michelletaraphotography

Wow – what a whirlwhind journey I have been on since February!

I have been fortunate enough to be contacted by the Executive Director of the Australian All Star Cheerleading Federation (AASCF) to publish a book about cheerleading – busting any stereotypes around it, showing the hard work that goes into it – and generally showing people who have never heard about cheerleading exactly what it is.

Given my strong background in cheerleading (and my absolute love of it – so much that my dream job – second to this one obviously – would be getting paid to watch/train/perform cheerleading all day every day for the rest of my life) I was absolutely excited at the opportunity to produce the publication.

AASCF is a great body for cheerleading. As a cheerleader myself I have competed at numerous competitions from different providers between Australia and New Zealand – AASCF hands down hosts the best competitions – the staff are fantastic, and they run smoothly. (I swear I am not paid for saying that – I sincerely mean this from the bottom of my heart!) Not only that, AASCF also helps out people who generally want to get involved – be it new athletes to new cheerleading gyms – from providing top notch coaching resources to gym gear.

5000 copies of this book have been produced – but they are sooo hot off the press I can’t even show them to you yet – so here’s the pallet they are in 😛

For the diehard fan to someone just interested in what it is – if you would like to get your hands on a copy keep following me here. Also follow AASCF of their facebook page for updates on where you can get one 🙂

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Tumble Time!

I am currently in the midst of shooting my major folio for RMIT. My photographic life has gone from ‘one day it would be neat to do this’ to “ok, lets actually do this and I only have 2 hours to do it in – don’t screw it up”

I have always wanted to shoot a gymnast doing a tumble pass. The tricky part was to get fast enough lights to freeze the movement of the gymnast. I hired out the Broncolor Scoro from the friendly bunch at Sun Studios in Melbourne. If there is ever a lighting kit on steroids, trust me, this is it!

Second step – add gymnast.

I put a casting out for an exceptional gymnast – Emily Atherton, a talented level 5 cheerleader and ex gymnast at Outlaw All Stars in Melbourne messaged me. She was as excited as I was about the shoot, and had level 5 tumbling skills – a perfect mix!

As tumbling is hard on the body, I needed a gym with a sprung floor to shoot in – Royal All Stars in Narre Warren helped me out with this (they also helped me out with my book – you can check that out here)

With the help of my two assistants, Cameron Cooke, and Daniel Campbell, set up and shooting was a breeze. I thank them very much for giving me a hand and putting up with my small car on the drive to the location.

Also big props to Emily for being a great model/athlete to work with.

All images © www.michelletaraphotography.com

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Just Published My First Book! – Here’s a Quick Look!

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All Images are © http://www.michelletaraphotography.com

Woohoo! Hot off the press!

I had been given an assignment at RMIT to create a book.

Cheerleading has been a big part of my life since I started in 2004. It is something that I know inside and out, and am immensely passionate about – the perfect subject for my first book. If you do not know what competitive cheerleading is, I suggest you watch this 2.30min video of California Allstars Black Ops to get up to speed

I contacted the only elite level team in Victoria that I knew of – Dreamtyme Allstars

This could possibly be the most exciting team I have ever seen in real life – i.e not on youtube, which is where I drool over elite level teams which are mostly in America. The girls ooze enthusiasm for what they do, and they work incredibly hard.

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A short summary of this book is that it is a “this is what cheerleading is” kind of book. I did not want to do a “what is cheerleading” book, but I needed to educate whoever was marking this assignment – rather than have them read a book on something they had no idea about.

I wanted to do something extravagant, and targeted to an audience of cheerleaders  – such as follow Team Australia (representing Australia at the World Cheerleading Championship in America) from their try-outs, training, uniform fitting, right through to boarding the aeroplane, visiting America and then competing on the World Championship floor. However,  this was not possible for me (even if I could have done this and passed the assignment) as the competition was after I had to have the book handed in!

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Making a book specifically for cheerleaders is still something I would like to do in the future and this has been a perfect experience for finding out what the process is for publishing a book. There are not many books around for cheerleaders (there are a lot of really old books for people wanting to know what cheerleading is however). And the ones that are around have awful pictures from the 80’s… see here for an example of what I mean.

I would love to follow an amazing team around in America  – or even several teams – and follow them through to the world championships – wouldn’t that be awesome!

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For my first experience in publishing a book, I would say it has been great. I had a clear idea from the get-go, and I know a lot about the subject which I was photographing. I am excited to start on a second book on cheerleading, and do it how I originally wanted to – and to actually sell it!

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I have a big thanks to the following for making this book happen:

Dreamtyme All Stars and Royal All-Stars
Thank you for letting me into your gyms – without your generosity, I would not have been able to complete this!