A lot goes into shooting sports. Here are a few tips for winning photos.

• Do your homework. The better you understand the sport, the easier it is to capture the action. So watch videos of games, study the moves of key players, and understand the in and outs of the game.

• Don’t always focus on the winner. Some of the most powerful, dramatic photos might be the reactions of the losing team, or even the moment when a player misses the goal/ball/catch, etc.

• Turn your camera. Pro shooters often turn the camera vertically so the subject fills the frame. This is especially effective when photographing a single player.

• Don’t forget the face. You may be tempted to focus only on the action, but the athletes’ facial expressions tell the real story. Get in close—those shots will say even more.

Adapted from The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby (Peachpit Press , 2007; $20)