It has been months in the works, but the 2011-12 Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar has been released.
Back in May, all 40 ladies of the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders flew to Bermuda for four days of long, tiring photo shoots, but the big work began shortly afterward as Falcons Creative Services Director Mike Benford and his staff set to work editing and polishing the photos for print.
From more than 1,600 images, Benford and photographer Drew Crozier had the unenviable task of narrowing the number down to 17 — 16 months and one cover shot. During that process, Benford and Crozier determined the three best shot of each cheerleader and presented them to focus groups and Falcons executives.
From there, the best shots are retouched with each photo taking approximately four hours to complete, and Benford
"One of the big things I do when looking at the design is making sure it's always about the photo and always about the cheerleader and that I don't do anything to over-design to detract your eye from the actual photo," Benford said. "In reality, that's what the book is all about: It's about the images."
Last week, it was revealed to the cheerleaders who would be featured inside the 16-month calendar. Rookie cheerleader Jamie K. is this year's cover model.
"It's an absolute whirlwind," Jamie said. "I am so honored being a rookie that they selected me to be on the cover. I haven't spent a lot of time here and I'm just honored to represent the Falcons organization in this capacity."
In Bermuda, a very large crew of makeup artists from Sephora, hair stylists from Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, a video crew shooting a reality series from Xfinity from Comcast and AtlantaFalcons.com were on hand doing a variety of tasks.
"It was amazing," said Kelsi S., who is the August 2012 model in the calendar. "We had the best crew helping us out. There was always someone there to fix your hair or fix your makeup. They just really made everything as easy as possible for us. It was just stress-free and they were so motivating. They kept telling us, 'Oh, you look great,' even if you're self-conscious. You felt like you looked beautiful."
The calendar is available on Falcons365.com and will be available at all Falcons365 stands throughout the Georgia Dome during home games.