What's In My Car? Mobile Studio Essentials

 
 This photo was taken just using my 5-in-1 reflector as a backdrop.

This photo was taken just using my 5-in-1 reflector as a backdrop.

I’ll be traveling down to D.C. today for some photoshoots, and this brought up a fun follow-up topic to the what’s-in-my-bag post. What do I always keep handy in my car for photography?

 

 A tripod is essential both in studio and in the field.

A tripod is essential both in studio and in the field.

The Pop-up Studio Essentials

Tripod

A tripod is an essential for when you drive across a scene that you just have to stop and try to capture. It’s also generally a necessity during portrait sessions, so it is always handy to just keep one in the car at all times.

5-in-1 reflector

The 5-in-1 reflector is one of the handiest and cheapest pieces of lighting kit you can get. If you want to get into light manipulation on the cheap one of these is the way to go. The scrim in particular is wonderful for removing the harsh shadows from direct sunlight, and the plain white or black sides make great backgrounds in a pinch.

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 This photo was taken in a parking lot with the help of a reflector and pop-up backdrop.

This photo was taken in a parking lot with the help of a reflector and pop-up backdrop.

Speedlight

If you travel at night, a speedlight like the Yongnuo MkIV is extremely handy to light up subjects without having to carry heavy monolight and battery back.

Pop-up Backdrop

Combine your reflector, speedlight, and a 5x7 pop-up backdrop and you have a portable portrait studio that fits in the trunk of your car! I’ve used this for graduation and school portraits in a pinch.