Give them somewhere to go
Whether you are shooting something as simple as your child’s soccer match or as complex as the wild motion of a bucking bronco, where you place the subject in the frame is equally important as how well you expose the image. A poorly composed shot can completely ruin a great moment by not holding the viewer’s attention.
The one mistake I see many times in action photography is that the photographer doesn’t use the frame properly. If you are dealing with a subject that is moving horizontally across your field of view, give the subject somewhere to go by placing them to the side of the frame, with their motion leading toward the middle of the frame (Figure 5.8). This offsetting of the subject will introduce a sense of direction and anticipation for the viewer. Unless you’re going to completely fill the image with the action, try to avoid placing your subject in the middle of the frame.
Get in front of the action
When shooting action, show the action coming toward you. Don’t shoot the action going away from you. People want to see faces. Faces convey the action, the drive, the sense of urgency, and the emotion of the moment. So if you are shooting action involving people, always position yourself so that the action is either coming at you or is at least perpendicular to your position.
Put your camera in a different place
Changing your vantage point is a great way of finding new angles. Shooting from a low position with the lens at a wide-angle setting might let you incorporate some foreground to give depth to the image. Shooting from farther away while zoomed in will compress the elements in a scene and allow you to crop in tighter on the action. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. The image in Figure 5.9 is a great example of using the compact size of the camera to one’s advantage.