I’m a big fan of jump shots, and it’s one of the aspects of band photography I get the most questions about. Nailing the elusive jump shot is a mixture of planning, good judgement and luck.
If you want to improve your chances of success, here are a few tips:
Listen – sometimes, even with a song you’ve never heard before, you can predict where a jump might occur (If you’re familiar with the music, this is much easier).
Learn to shoot with both eyes open – looking through the viewfinder is all well and good, but sometimes you get extra cues from your peripheral vision.
Watch out for body language and stage positioning. Standing on the drum riser or a monitor can be a dead giveaway, as can looking at a bit of the stage a few feet away (or the ceiling!), or someone steadying themselves and bending their knees slightly.
If you can’t use flash (more than 95% of the jumps I’ve caught have been in no-flash situations), use the fastest shutter speed you can get away with, and if you need to use a slower speed due to bad lighting, try to pan with the jump to stand a better chance of getting a sharp shot.
Don’t be reluctant to use continuous shooting to increase your chances of success if you’re following a jump.
*post edited to add a few examples*