Make sure it's not too bright
The most important thing to keep in mind when taking pictures of your neon sign is to use the dimmer to put it on the lowest brightness setting. This will prevent the picture from being too contrasted or overexposed.
If you're using a phone to take your pictures, adjust and lock exposure settings so that your sign is not too bright nor too dark. If you're using a professional camera, play around with aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance until you're satisfied with the way your sign looks.
Control external light
Observe the location of your neon sign for a few days and make sure you pick the best time of day to take your picture. For example, it might not be the best idea to shoot your sign with direct sunlight hitting it. As a rule of thumb, the best daylight conditions to shoot a neon sign are usually right before sunrise or right after sunset – that way the surroundings are still visible in the picture but the sign pops out.
Also consider other light sources (e.g. a floor lamp next to your sign or a ceiling lamp) and how these might impact the picture of your sign. It's usually best to have all other lights turned off so your sign really pops out, but there's no absolute rule and you can obtain awesome results by playing around with other light sources as well.
Consider set up
This is not strictly related to photography, but it's a good idea to think about the background you'll install your sign on. You've probably bought your sign with a specific location for it in mind, however before installing it you might want to update the space so your neon pops out even more. Fun things to consider include wall papers, a unique feature color, or frames to create a gallery wall.
Play with angles
Don't be afraid to try different perspectives – here are some types of shots you can play around with:
- Eye level shot (you're standing in front of the sign and just point and shoot)
- Low angle shot (you get closer to the floor, camera looks up at the sign)
- Dutch angle (tilt the camera to one side so it's not level with the horizon)
It takes trial and error to find the angle you like the most. Remember there's no right or wrong, it's about finding whichever perspective you think makes your sign look best!
Add props or a model
Playing with props or models can also be a fun way to make your picture more unique and personal. Consider asking someone to pose with the sign – don't just ask them to stand in front of the sign but rather try out different perspectives and poses to make your picture more creative. You can also pose yourself if you feel like it, using a timer or asking someone to take the picture for you.
If you don't feel like being the star of the image, you can accessorize your sign by placing a few decor elements around it, such as a nice plant or a chair and some magazines.
Practice makes perfect
The most important thing to remember is that getting a good shot takes time. You have to experiment with different settings, angles and ideas until you get the one shot you're really happy with. The good news is that the more often you do this, the easier it will become to get a good shot – be it of a neon sign, a pair of shoes, a glass of wine, or anything else you might want to capture.
For more visual inspiration check out our Love Wall, a collection of the coolest neon signs we've made, as shared by our community of lovebirds, cool kids and badass brands.