Tagged: tutorial

10 Tips For Shooting Neon

September 16th, 2010 Permalink

Neon signs are a favorite subject of my photography. I have posted nearly 4,000 photos of neon, and have learned a few things about how to shoot it. Here are ten tips for shooting neon.

Two On The Line

  1. Use A Low ISO
  2. Neon lends itself to night shooting, so you may naturally think that you should shoot at a higher ISO to compensate for the dark surroundings. Don’t. Neon is bright! You can easily shoot neon signs at ISO 100-200. I shoot the vast majority of nighttime neon at ISO 200, occasionally bumping up to 400 or 640 if the sign is unusually dim.

  3. Shoot in Manual Mode
  4. Neon is bright! The contrast between the bright neon tubes and the dark background at night can easily confuse your camera’s meter. Switch to manual mode when shooting neon, and you will quickly appreciate the benefit of the extra control. A good place to start is 1/100th of a second, at f/5.6. Take a shot, review it on the screen, and adjust as needed. Usually I will adjust the aperture first, since using fast shutter speeds can result in a “marching ants” effect in the neon tubes.

  5. Shoot in RAW
  6. If your camera supports RAW imaging, use it. RAW will give you the most data. This, in turn, will give you the most flexibility in post-production, allowing you to pull out details that may otherwise be lost.

  7. Learn Your Camera’s LCD Screen
  8. On my camera’s LCD, properly exposed neon looks slightly underexposed. Learn what correctly exposed neon looks like on your particular camera’s LCD screen and you will save yourself a lot of frustration after the shoot.

  9. Shoot Day And Night Versions
  10. Neon often looks best at night. However, don’t discount shooting neon signs during the day. Many signs have painted detail that cannot be seen at night, and the shadows cast by the glass tubes can make for very interesting images.
    Air Devils Inn

  11. Get The Glow
  12. Neon signs often cast a nice glow on the area surrounding the sign. Try adjusting your exposure to capture the glow on the side of the building, as well as the neon tubing.
    That Li Po Glow

  13. Shoot During The Blue Hour
  14. The time between daylight and darkness is an excellent time to shoot neon signs. It is dark enough to allow the neon tubes to show up well, but there is enough light to see the surroundings.
    Cal West Motors

  15. Mix It Up
  16. Try shooting neon in different ways. Shoot the reflection in windows, the reflection in puddles and the color washed streets after the rain. If there is a sign in a window, try shooting the back of the sign. Try standing directly under a sign and shooting up. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
    Meet You In The Light

  17. Look At Other Photos
  18. Looking at how other people have captured images of neon signs is a great way to get inspired. Check out some of these shooters:
    Thomas Hawk
    Clearlight
    Devil Doll
    happyshooter
    loungelistener
    Tom Spaulding

  19. Practice
  20. Above all, get out there and shoot!

Do you have any tips for shooting neon signs? Share them in the comments.

12 Ways To Never Miss A Photo Opportunity

May 13th, 2008 Permalink

There is a great article over at Digital Photography School entitled 12 Ways To Never Miss A Photo Opportunity. Check it out, there are some great tips. I especially liked number 5: 5. Pre-set your camera settings for the type of subject you’re aiming to photograph I have gotten in the habit of checking my […]

There is a great article over at Digital Photography School entitled 12 Ways To Never Miss A Photo Opportunity. Check it out, there are some great tips.

I especially liked number 5:
5. Pre-set your camera settings for the type of subject you’re aiming to photograph
I have gotten in the habit of checking my ISO, white balance, and aperture setting every time I power on my camera. That way I know exactly how the camera is configured when I start looking for stuff to shoot.

Number 7 was a great tip as well:
7. Have needed filters on your lens or take filters off your lens as necessary before heading out.
I usually have a UV filter on the front of my lenses, but when I’m going to be shooting at night I make sure to pull the filters off to avoid flares. I even carry a small filter case so I can pull all the filters off whatever lenses I have with me when it gets dark. No more ruined shots because of lens flare.

Zooomr Upload Fix

November 26th, 2007 Permalink

I spend a lot of time over on Zooomr, posting photos, looking at other photos, and chatting on Zipline. There have been some pretty consistent complaints about uploads not working over the last few weeks. Most of these problems were solved last week, but some people were still experiencing either intermittent problems uploading certain photos, […]

I spend a lot of time over on Zooomr, posting photos, looking at other photos, and chatting on Zipline. There have been some pretty consistent complaints about uploads not working over the last few weeks.

Most of these problems were solved last week, but some people were still experiencing either intermittent problems uploading certain photos, or problems uploading ANY photos. I had two shots that I could not get uploaded, no matter what I did with them. After much frustration, I narrowed the problem down to some metadata that was giving Zooomr problems.

The problem area is the IPTC Caption field. Photos with any data there will not upload properly. However, it is easy to fix this when you are editing your photos. If you use Aperture, look for data in the Caption field. It will look something like this:
Aperture Screenshot

Just delete the data in the Caption field.

If you use Photoshop, click the File menu and then select File Info. In the IPTC Content section, look under “Description”. If you see any data there, delete it. It will look something like this:
CS3 Screenshot

Once that data is gone, the photo should upload correctly and appear on Zooomr. Note that any data there — even blank spaces — will cause the upload to fail, so make sure there is really nothing there by clicking in the field and hitting delete.

I hope this will help any of you that were having problems uploading certain photos. Happy shooting!