Context: The LMC and SMC are rich in binary star clusters, and some mergers are expected. It is thus important to characterise single clusters, binary clusters and candidates for mergers.
Aims: We selected a sample of star clusters in each Cloud with this aim. Surface photometry of 25 SMC and 22 LMC star clusters was carried with the ESO Danish 1.54 m telescope. 23 clusters were observed for the first time for these purposes.
Methods: We fitted Elson, Fall and Freeman (EFF) profiles to the data, deriving structural parameters, luminosities and masses. We also use isophotal maps to constrain candidates for cluster interactions.
Results: The structural parameters, luminosities and masses presented good agreement with those in the literature. Three binary clusters in the sample have a double profile. Four clusters (NGC 376, K 50, K 54 and NGC 1810) do not have companions and present important deviations from EFF profiles.
Conclusions: The present sample contains blue and red Magellanic clusters. Profiles with excess with respect to EFF were detected in some blue clusters. We find evidence that important deviations from the body of EFF profiles might be used as a tool to detect cluster mergers.