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The most important aspect of “capturing the moment” is nailing your shutter speed. If it is too slow it will produce an out-of-focus image. For actions shots a shutter speed of 1/600 is a good base line. Remember, by increasing the shutter speed you will have to increase your ISO to make sure your image is not too dark.
Framing the Shot
Whether a photo op is set up or spur of the moment, compose the image well. Most cameras have a digital grid to aid in the process. When in doubt, follow the rule of thirds, which puts the subject and background elements in interesting positions. Divide the screen into thirds, horizontally and vertically, and position highlight elements at those junctions (i.e. not centered in the frame).
Point of View
Try getting lower or higher than your subject to produce an angle people are not used too. Lying on the ground or climbing an embankment can be a simple way of creating that new perspective. Avoid shots from directly at the side or back of the runner.
Trail-running photography can be difficult, simply because of the quick nature of the sport, so keep your camera in an readily accessible location.
Keep It Clean
Avoid clutter, both in your subject(s)’s attire and the environment. Also, make sure your subject(s) wears apparel that “pops,” and avoid sunglasses on the face (they can be perched on the head or cap). Finally, shooting that morning or evening “golden light” usually beats midday.