Traveling Studio

By Patricia Artieda

Many people ask me where is my studio. I love this question since I don’t have a studio! I have a traveling studio.

What is a traveling studio? Is a studio on the go, which means when a client books you, you meet your clients at different locations or you go to their homes to do the sessions there.

Some people might find this as a not ideal situation since most photographers want a studio where they can have all of their equipment, they know the light, etc. I get that, but a traveling studio, might have it’s own perks and here I am going to list some.

– A traveling studio will give you the freedom to try different things, find different locations to use and not only use a colored back drop, you will be able to navigate your area and take images at beautiful park, national reserves, urban settings like downtowns or funky streets, etc.

– A traveling studio will allow you to learn more about photography, every location will have different lighting situation and as a photographer you have to make the location work and bring the best out of it. Conditions change, and that is a good thing.

– A traveling studio saves you the cost of renting a space and having a steady flow to be able to pay for this rent. But a steady flow is exactly what we want no matter what kind of studio we have, right?

– A traveling studio will be convenient to most of your clients, specially the newborn photo clients, you will go to their homes and the clients will be more comfortable being at their own space.

– Having a traveling studio will never look unprofessional.

What do you need to have a successful traveling studio?

– Muscle!, yes, every time you go to a clients house for newborn sessions specially, you will probably bring a lot of things. Backdrops, beanbag, props, equipment, and this calls for muscle and time. You will be carrying this equipment by yourself.

– Be organized with your equipment and props. Everything should be nicely organized and saved at your home or storage. In my case I save everything in boxes and I label every box. I have the backdrop blanket box for the bean bag, another for wraps, another for other kind of props.

– Have a routine. After each session I come back home, I wash everything that I have used and save everything in it’s boxes again.

Newborn sessions


What to bring for newborn sessions?

– My go to bag is the blue Ikea bag that everyone owns, this is the bag and my measure, if it doesn’t fit this bag I won’t take it. In this bag I bring all of the props for the session.

I bring

– 2 colored backdrop options for the bean bag, a neutral one and a colored one, either pink or light blue, depending on boy or girl. Before the session I ask my client about her preferred colors. As well as a couple of neutral backdrops to put under the colored back drops to make it look smoother.

– Matching wrapping fabrics, cream ones and colored ones for boy or girl.

– I have a Ziploc for all of the boy hats, another for girl hats, and one that are the neutral ones, so I take to the session two Ziplocs of hats, one for the gender and the neutral ones.

– Tiebacks for girls

– One prop, either a bucket or the posing pod.

– A space heater.

– Back drop stand

– One backdrop.

– Bean bag

– Light Reflector

What to do when you arrive to a client’s home?

After the meet and greet, I gently ask if I need to remove my shoes before entering the house.

  • Assess the space: ask the client if you can walk around the house to find a perfect location to do the session
  • Find a room that has space for you to place the bean bag and some extra room to work around it. For safety reasons you need space, you don’t want to trip having a little baby in the room.
  • Find a room that has a big source of light, if the light comes in too harsh you can always use the reflector’s translucent option to control how much light is directed to the baby.
  • Bring every thing you brought into the house.
  • Work with the client the final color scheme you will use.
  • Before you start shooting and handling the baby, ask client to use their bathroom and wash your hands. As well, ask for hand sanitizer to have handy during the session.
  • Once the newborn session per/se is done, and you plan to shoot the parents with the baby, ask the mother to feed the baby so the baby is calm for the second part. While all of this is happening take advantage of the time and start putting everything back into the car. In that way the clients know that the session is almost over and they will be more efficient as well.
  • Make sure you don’t forget anything.

Outdoors family sessions

What to bring?

For family sessions I recommend bringing

  • Blankets to place the families on the floor.
  • I always bring one of the JJCole blankets to put under the “pretty” blanket so if the grass is wet, they won’t get wet if they sit on the floor.
  • Light reflector.

What to do when you meet with the client?

  • Meet and greet, ask their names.
  • Run with them the plan for the session, where you will start and how you will work with them.
  • Allow them to feel nervous.
  • Let them know that there will be a couple of stations for the photo shoot.
  • Use a timer to let you know when you are about to finish the session.

Things to take into consideration when you have a traveling studio

The color or light will always be different, specially for newborn photography and baby sessions at client’s home. Each home will have a different color cast and the light will be different everywhere, so make sure you work with your white balance. There are many ways of doing this, you can use a grey card, a white card, photodix, kelvin setting, etc.

What to bring to every session

– Extra memory card

– Extra battery

– Lenses according to possible needs and if you have more than one, like macros for babies/newborn babies.

– Camera flash

– Batteries

– Light reflector

Having a traveling studio is a lot of work but as well a lot of fun. I only use natural light for my sessions. Having a traveling studio has allowed me to do what I love, photography.

Having a traveling studio can be a goal not a means to having a studio. It might work for your life situation right now, you can think of doing photography as a part time job, and the traveling studio will give you the opportunity to do so.

My traveling studios has never given me a limitation, as long as there is light coming from a window I can take great images.

To check out some of my work please check out my Facebook page:

or my website:


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