One of the best and most acrobatic football photos you can get is a receiver and defender jumping in the air with the ball visible.
Austin Prep (Andover, Ma.) football player outreaches an opponent to make a one-handed touchdown grab (© Michael Maher).
In this high school football game, it was easy to anticipate the upcoming plays because a passing team was trailing, so almost every play they ran was a deep pass downfield to try and score quickly. Thus, I stood deep downfield to photograph various receivers trying to make a touchdown catch. The only challenge was determining which receiver the quarterback would be throwing to. On this play, I anticipated a long pass to the receiver on the far side of the field, so I followed the receiver and defender in my viewfinder despite other players and officials running in front of me. The receiver jumped, grabbed the pass with one hand away from the defender, and I snapped the picture. I had the photo I wanted as he ran into the end zone for a touchdown and celebrated with his teammates.
1) Successful football photography requires anticipating the upcoming plays and the area on the field where the action will occur.
2) Position yourself to get the best possible photo, with the ability to react quickly to get different shots if the play is different from what you expect.
3) Pictures of passes are often more spectacular, but shoot running plays first because they are usually easier to photograph.