If your action and sports photography is going nowhere fast, consider these sure-fire methods of imparting a sense of drama and excitement.

1) Tilt your camera. In most instances you want to make sure that your horizon line is straight, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken. A purposeful slant to an image can add a charge, since diagonal lines bring a sense of energy. Use the technique sparingly, however, or you’ll leave people wondering if it was intentional.

2) Blur your background. A sharp subject against a streaked background tells the viewer that the subject was whizzing by (even if it wasn’t). The most common way to get this effect is to pan with your subject’s motion, always a technique worth practicing. Another technique to try: flash ghosting. The combination of flash and ambient light, using a slow shutter speed, will give you a sharp subject surrounded by motion blur.

3) Change your perspective. Perhaps the best way to energize your images is to put your viewer in the middle of the action. To do this, anticipate where your subject is going, stake your spot, and wait. Make sure to preset your focus point and exposure. Consider focusing in on the exact point of impact, such as a foot kicking the ball, or a ball hitting the soccer goal. Feeling adventurous? Try strapping your camera to a bike and getting in the action yourself.

—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor