People often lament that they "just missed it!" upon seeing they failed to capture a pivotal moment in the action. You can avoid missing the action by treating your still camera like a video camera.
Photo by mylerdude.
One of the hallmarks of good photography is capturing moments. The difference between an average shot and an amazing shot can be a fraction of a second. I often joke that my love of insect macro photography translated well to becoming a wedding photographer, as the moods of butterflies and brides are equally as fickle. The New York Times interviewed Li Ward of Fat Orange Cat Studio to get the scoop on how she managed to get such dynamic and expressive photos of animals. Since animals aren't much for following explicit posing instructions it's up to Li to make sure she's ready for every interesting moment.
Back in the day when I was obsessively photographing just my own cats, I'd wait for them to do something interesting or cute before I actually brought the camera up to shoot. Of course by that time, 1 or 2 seconds have elapsed, and they're doing something less interesting, and I've missed the shot.
Now, I sort of treat my still camera as a video camera. Even if I'm not actively shooting, and even if the subject is not doing something "capture-worthy," I continue tracking through the viewfinder and recomposing. Because soon enough they will do something capture-worthy, and I'll be ready to press the shutter the second it happens.
I've long since ascribed to the technique of viewing the world through my viewfinder in the fashion of shooting video and can't heartily suggest this tip enough. Once you get in the habit of actively tracking your subject and taking photographs as if you are video taping and searching for that perfect frame, you'll always be ready to catch the moments everyone else misses.
For more photography tips and tricks check out the rest of the interview at the link below. She focuses her tips on photographing pets but many of the tips are just as well suited for adding interest to other kinds of photography like varying your shooting height and angle. If you have your own tips to share, pet-centric or otherwise, sound off in the comments below. Expert Tips on Photographing Your Pets [The New York Times]