- Deciding where to go. This doesn’t have to be a definitive thing, either. Create a short list of a few locations you’d like to explore, and when you get in the car, make a decision as to which one is the winner.
- Checking the forecast. It literally takes 15 seconds to check the weather. I’m all for being spontaneous, but what I don’t want is to be surprised by a thunderstorm. Getting a weather update will help you pack the gear you need for a successful run-and-gun session.
- Prep your gear. I live in the L.A. area, so when I leave the house in a hurry, I need to be sure I have everything I need. If I get to the location I want to shoot and realize I left something at home, it’s not exactly a short drive to go back and get it.
- Travel light. Running and gunning is not the time to pack every single piece of gear you have. Keep it to the essentials (camera, lens, tripod, bag) and you’ll have a much easier time.
- Rugged Camera Bags for Your 2020 Photography Adventures
- Top Software and Gear Updates That Rocked 2019
- National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Great Photography
- Photography: The Definitive Visual History
- Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs
Photo by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash
There’s nothing quite like grabbing your gear and heading out for a quick run-and-gun session with your camera.
I love the spontaneity of it - going out at a moment’s notice and seeing what the world presents to you.
But as much as I enjoy a spontaneous moment, I don’t enjoy getting out there and realizing I’ve forgotten something or struggling through an uncomfortable afternoon because my pack is too heavy or realizing that leaving the house without any plan at all might’ve been a bad choice.
Let’s have a look at a few run-and-gun photography tips that will help you make the most of those spontaneous outings with your camera.
Run-and-Gun Photography Tip #1: Prep Beforehand
photo by structuresxx via iStock
I know that being spontaneous and making a plan don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, but I think there can be a marriage of the two.
Let’s say you get a wild hair and want to ditch work one afternoon to go shoot. That’s the spontaneous part. The planning part can come next, where you spend just a few minutes doing things like:
photo by FilippoBacci via iStock
There are plenty of other planning activities you can undertake here, but for me, these are the four most important. By deciding where to go, knowing what weather to expect, double-checking your gear, and packing light, you can save a ton of time and maximize your chances of getting the best shots.
Run-and-Gun Photography Tip #2: Be Comfortable
Maybe it’s because I’m firmly in my 40s, but I really like to be comfortable. Crazy, right?
Like a lot of people, my shoulders and back tend to be where I feel the stress and strain of daily life, so having a comfortable camera bag is hugely important. Additionally, having a camera bag that also helps me stay organized is a big bonus when I’m heading out the door quickly.
I’ve found that the Hazard 4® PillboxTM fits the bill on both fronts.
With regard to comfort, the molded back panel is both abrasion resistant and conforms to your spine. When you put this thing on, it feels like an extension of your body - it’s that comfortable!
Additionally, the back pad facilitates ventilation, that way you don’t suffer with a sweaty back as you’re moving quickly from one shot to the next.
With external dimensions of 19.7" x 12.2" x 7.5" and a carrying capacity of nearly 30 liters, this bag can accommodate a ton of gear. And even when fully loaded, it’s still a comfortable carry.
Obviously, when you’re running and gunning you likely won’t have a full pack, but it’s nice to know that if I plan an extended trip that the Hazard 4® PillboxTM will keep me comfortable, even when it’s loaded for bear.
On the organization front, this bag has completely changed the way I prepare for a photography outing - run-and-gun or otherwise.
It has compartments that will fit my laptop, my camera and lenses, and a drone. There are also plenty of smaller compartments for items like card readers and memory cards, a first aid kit, a rain shell, snacks, and so forth. There’s even an admin organizer keeps small items like SD cards, pens, and tools, neatly kept.
Better still, the huge clamshell opening makes it easy to quickly survey the contents of the bag and figure out what else I need to pack.
When I’m out shooting, having everything in its own cubby is enormously beneficial. Likewise, the optional patented Hardpoint® system allows me to add additional gear to the exterior of the bag.
There are six spots for Hardpoint® accessories, which allows you to carry lights, tripods, and other items for quick access.
To top it all off, the Hazard 4® PillboxTM is ultra rugged and it looks killer, so for me, it’s the best of all worlds!
Recommended Photography Reading
Run-and-Gun Photography Tip #3: Bring a Versatile Lens
photo by Pakorn_Khantiyaporn via iStock
When you’re moving quickly from one shot to the next, the last thing you want to do is pause your workflow to do a lens change.
That’s why I recommend tackling your run-and-gun photography with a versatile zoom, like a 24-70mm or 70-200mm.
I shoot more landscapes than anything, so for me, the Canon RF 24-70 f/2.8L is my go-to versatile lens.
I like having the wide-angle option at 24-35mm and then the standard focal range of 35mm to about 50mm, with short telephoto at up to 70mm as well. For my needs, this is an ideal focal range.
Between having a versatile lens, a great camera bag, and doing some quick pre-planning, you’ll be in position to rock it out and have a successful run-and-gun session.
Now all that’s left to do is get out there and shoot!