As a photographer, we need to wear a number of hats. Our skill shall not be limited to what we see or our technical knowledge, no no. A great photographer knows their subject. If you want to create compelling and fantastic photos, you need to also be an expert about your subject.
Here’s a scenario: You’re asked to shoot a Freestyle Bike competition by a friend who is participating. You’re not a fan of the sport, but you agree to make an effort. A mutual friend and photographer with comparable skill is also there shooting, except that he is fanatical about the sport – never misses a live event. Who’s work do you think will turn out better? Probably the other guys.
The thing is that at such an event, your friend knows what he’s watching. He knows which skills are most impressive and most challenging. He may even know what indicator moves might lead up to a particular skill. He will know where to stand, have better timing and will do a better job anticipating the shot. For that matter, knowing the terminology and slang will put him at a strong advantage.
With knowledge comes passion. The more you know about the subject at hand, the more passionate you will be. That shows through in your work. You will cast the subject in the best light and the finished product will look and feel more natural. So allocate some time to learn about your subject and let your expertise shine through.