Drive-By Shooting Photos of Pedestrians Using a Passenger Seat Studio Rig


Los Angeles-based photographer Johnny Tergo project “Passenger Side Window” is all about the art of the drive by shooting. The series was captured using a complicated camera rig Tergo built into the passenger seat of his Chevy Silverado.

In building the rig, his goal was to bring a studio-lit aesthetic to candid photos of pedestrians, captured from the perspective of someone sitting in a passenger seat.


The rig consists of a Canon 1D Mark IV, a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, a laptop, an iPad mini, two studio lights, and a reflector. One of the lights sits in the passenger seat with the rest of the camera gear, while the second light and a reflector are located closer to the rear of the truck.


After spotting a potential subject, Tergo adjusts his cameras exposure and his off-camera lighting before moving in for the shot. Since the photos are captured without the pedestrians’ consent, they occasionally yell at him after a shot is snapped.

Here are some of the photographs Tergo has captured so far using the drive-by truck studio:



















This project reminds us of Jonathan Castillo’s Car Culture series, which also involved a lighting rig built into a car. However, Castillo’s project is a bit more iffy where safety is concerned — he photographs other cars and drivers rather than people standing or walking on sidewalks.

You can find more of Tergo’s Passenger Side Window photos over on his website.

Passenger Side Window by Johnny Tergo (via Wired)

Image credits: Photographs by Johnny Tergo and used with permission

  • TylerIngram

    Love that mini van with the chopped top.

  • Vashi Nedomansky

    Andrew Bush has an amazing photo book “DRIVE” that explores this technique too.

  • Christian DeBaun

    Some of the photographs are great, and I like the idea – but sooner or later he’s going to have a bad dust-up with one of his subjects.

  • Michael Zhang

    It’s a crop frame minivan :)

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross


  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    very much like Philip Lorca diCorcia, great results

  • Burnin Biomass

    The weird green cast in some of the photos reminds me of cross processed film. Is that coming from the flash? Gel over one of the flashes? I find that kind of distracting.

    Other than that, interesting project!

  • Steve


  • 2wk

    Awesome! Besides the color effects, but thats just personal.

  • Mansgame

    All that gear and his pictures lack both artistic and photographic merit.

  • Mauricio Andres Ramirez Lozada

    what is the point of this? they look like generic “im too afraid to walk with my camera” photos with an over complicated rig, he could have a friend drive while he shoots in the passenger seat…

  • alex

    someone’s gonna get shot…

  • Bill

    Seems like a massive waste of time and money for zero return.

  • Derbert Herbus

    Wow, this is great work. Very impressive, given the way the images are captured, that they have such a clean and editorial look.

  • Igor Ken

    I like the pictures not so much the editing in some of them… but that may be just me…

  • Hugo Cuellar Rodriguez

    All that gear and they all ended up like instagram shots.
    Kudos to the great idealist though. Just not as impressive.

  • Becca Gulliver

    The lady with the umbrella and the bottom picture of the guys in the truck were my faves.

  • Alan Dove

    Only a matter of time before someone shoots back, and not with a camera.

  • BA

    ahh ive always wanted to do this!!!

  • Mr Gubrz

    i shoot from a car window all the time… and most of my shots are similarly uninteresting. :) the most interesting pics here are of the rigging, which now just seems expensive upon seein the results. tho i DO love the umbrella woman, the flash as the sun, its neat. shrug

  • Mr Gubrz

    are his photos worth looking at? ;)

  • michi


  • SgtBoognish

    I get the idea of bringing a studio-lit aesthetic to candid street photos, but I certainly don’t think his results justify the effort or expense. Pity. I’ve seen far, far better photos taken from inside a car using nothing more than a cheap body and a kit lens.