Tips and tricks for photographing neon signs.

How to create bold, eye-catching photos using these colorful retro lights.

Neon signs are quickly disappearing from our streets and storefronts, but many still remain and continue to attract photographers looking to capture their unique colorful light. Learn how to capture these colorful fluorescent tubes and use them to add a retro flair to everything from portraits to street photography.

How to photograph neon signs.

Neon blazes bright even on the darkest of nights. Here’s what you need to do to photograph neon in all its glory:

  1. Use a wide aperture: Even though neon signs themselves are bright, the best time to capture them is at night, which means you want to let as much light into your camera as possible.
  2. Bump up your ISO: To capture the environment around your neon sign, you’ll need to push your ISO up a bit higher to bring out details in the darkness.
  3. Manually adjust your white balance: Neon emits bright but unnatural colors. To capture the true glow of your neon sign, manually adjust the white balance in your camera to produce the most accurate results.
  4. Shoot in RAW: Photographing neon at night means balancing very light areas with very dark areas, which is difficult to perfect in-camera. By shooting in RAW, you preserve much more image data that you can use to manipulate your photos during the editing phase and produce the most professional results.

Try experimenting with lots of different photo techniques to create fun effects with your neon sign photography. Once you’ve mastered your camera settings, try incorporating additional elements into your photos like models or reflective surfaces to create fun, unique images.

Explore what more you can do to edit your photos like a pro with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.