Neon light photography has long been a landmark image in many photos; from those found in guide books, to framed pictures in homes, people love the unique glow given by the neon lights. However, when it isn’t done right, it can seem cheesy and amateur. Instead, when you are ready to create your own neon-lighting inspired photographs, you can use these expert tips.


1. Use Glow Sticks

Glow sticks offer a great neon glow in the dark. Shape them however you wish, in a circle or curved, and start snapping photos. Use them either in the dark or with a black light to make the ambience that much more neon and exciting.

2. Capture the Neon-Glow of Buildings

When walking the streets of major cities, such as Los Angeles or Las Vegas, neon lights can be seen on nearly every corner. Capture the large glow of buildings’ neon lights by photographing them at night. One tip to try is to aim your shutter upwards to make the picture look more dynamic and three dimensional.

3. Go to the Carnival

If you love neon light photography, what better place to capture them than at a carnival where you are surrounded by the glow of neon? Here, you can capture a lit up Ferris wheel in neon, or find a unique angle for the glow of food booths that attract hundreds of hungry fair-goers. Use long exposure to make the image more interesting and fun with motion.

4. Hit the Water

Lights on the water create a great reflection. When those lights are neon, such as those found on bright buildings or restaurant signs, capture the reflection and make your picture more dynamic with the intense glow contrasted with the subtle reflection in the water.

5. Firework Frenzy

Capture the intense sparkle of neon lights combined with fireworks for a great image bursting with color and bright glowing images. You can head out on the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve to find the best spots for fireworks, or use sparklers in your home any time of the year for a great image. Wave the sparklers around to make shapes and lines that will look spectacular on film.

6. Make it Abstract

Neon images do not have to be of one thing in particular. Instead, take a close-up of a neon light with abstract images of colors weaving together with the glow that only neon can create.

7. Layer Photos

If you have the software or tools to be able to transpose your images on top of each other, try layering photos so that you can incorporate specific views of city lights in a way that adds more dimension than a single photo.

8. Get Subtle

Neon has a great glow to it but it does not always have to be bursting with color. Use the neon light as a subtle background to bring out profile images of people, places or objects.

9. Holiday Fun

The fall and winter are dark months, which make them perfect months to capture neon lights at night. Make a Halloween photo spookier with a neon light inside of a jack-o-lantern, or turn a Christmas tree into a bright beauty with neon lights instead of traditional lights found at the drug store.

10. Zoom Zoom

An oldie but goodie, when it comes to neon photography, is taking a picture of a street filled with neon lights zooming at you. To do this, set your camera to have a long exposure, then as the image is taking zoom in as quickly as you can. This will give your image an intense but fun look.

When it comes to neon, the possibilities are endless. Use these neon light photography ideas and tips to capture your favorite scenes on film, in fun new ways.

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[message type="custom"]ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ferina Santos (Guest Blogger)
Ferina Santos is part of the team behind Open Colleges, Australia's provider of photography courses. A feisty nerd at heart with an obsession for media and vanity, she captures all her random musings with daily photographs in her blog, A Pink Banana.[/message]

We have worked with numerous successful fashion and beauty companies, creating line sheets, lookbooks, and catalogs. Our goal is to help capture the attention of buyers with beautiful graphics, while increasing your sales. With over 10 years of experience in everything from marketing and branding, to product development and graphic design, we are hoping to pass on some of the information we have learned along the way.