Step-by-Step guide on How to create stunning night portraits using street Neon Lights (Portrait Photography Secrets)

October 6, 2018

What’s up everybody?!  Happy (finally weekend) to everyone reading this post from everywhere in the world! Haven’t posted new articles from long time as I had a quite busy summer full of adventures and steals in Brussels! xD
Read my funny story about how I got robbed in Belgium here


Today I would like to share, inspire you and show you how to make this kind of trendy artistic night portraits in Neon Lights which you may came across on several instagram feeds of some creative and talented portrait shooters such as (@apolozphotography
 

 

The brief story behind this photoshoot; I had the idea back in mind since April, which I got inspired by one of my beautiful clients from Russia; (Evgenia Rattel) and also some stunning feeds I came across on instagram but didn’t have the time to execute it as I was traveling the whole summer and didn’t know where I can find these neon night lights in this little city I am living in. But felicitously after 6 month later I finally managed to find the right place here to execute this Neon Lights photoshoot with my beautiful client and friend who is in the frame: Lui FreedØm

 

The challenge to get this done like this was that the place was outdoor and it was quite cold for my model and also raining while shooting and also it took us quite long to find such a place which has this kinda ‘street neon lights’ in order to get this exact result. 


How to create photos like this?

A. Find the right place which has this kind of cool neon lights:

 

Certainly finding the right place is the main key of getting these colorful light effects in your image, usually you will find this kind of neon lights near some shops, restaurants, bars, pubs or clubs etc., once you found the right spot I advice to ask first who may concern and take their permission before start shooting as some people might find it kinda weird and might embarrass you and your model and tell you to get off when you start shooting in front of their property.

Below are few examples on how these neon lights look like.

 

 B. The correct camera settings:


There are two ways to create such an image with 2 different camera settings (Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO) to get pretty much the same results.

1. Shooting with high ISO, moderate shutter speed and low aperture:
 


Apperture: f/3.2 | Shutter Speed: 1/100 ISO: 800

 
Important note: Since you are shooting at night there will be a high need to increase the ISO up to 800 (at least) in order to have enough light coming through the camera sensor, but as we all know that shooting with high ISO is causing a 'random noise' in your image, and as you may know noise is always the worst enemy for any photographer. 
Understand the type of image noises here.

So I recommend to shoot on high ISO only If you have a good 'full frame camera' which is known for a good performance in low light at night such as Canon 6D, Canon Mark III/IV, Sony a7r ii/iii and a lot more. As you will be able to somehow reduce the image noise during the post production in Adobe Light Room.
Check out how to reduce noise in adobe light room here.

2. Shooting with low ISO, Low shutter speed and Low aperture:​


Apperture: f/2.8 | Shutter Speed: 1/60 ISO: 250


The other way for which I consider it the harder way the same result in your frame is to shoot with a lower ISO of 250, lower shutter speed 1/60 and the lowest Aperture you can get in your lens e.g. f/2.8 for instance but the challenge here this time will be the camera/your object moves and shakings since you are shooting on an extreme low shutter speed, which will give you the light you need but if the object moves the image will be shaky or not sharp which is another enemy to any photographer, so if you plan to do the shoot with this method (2) I highly recommend you to use a stable tripod (if your hand is shaking) and instruct your model to DON'T MOVE at all while capturing the image to avoid any moves.

 

C. How to create the highlights 'rainbow effects/reflections' on the image sides?​

Lastly, I would like to also to take this opportunity to share with you the secret and the creative part about this kind of neon photoshoot which is about how I made this colorful light reflections on the right sides of the images above. Whilst the good news is that it doesn't require any photoshop effects at all, so my secret about this trick is..... this thing I bough from Amazon; A magical optical Triangle/Prism' Product Link: here
 

 

All you need to do to create this effect is placing this prism/triangle on the right/left edge of your lens before snapping the image (please be careful and don't let it scratch your lens) you can move it slightly to customize the amount of color reflections you would like to add in your image. Does that make sense?

 


**Leave a comment below if you want to have a quick video call to show you how exactly to position it properly to get the proper results***


I hope you found it useful and this guide would help you to satisfy your creative need and try out this kind of stunning neon lights photoshoot.

What are you waiting for? Just go a head and take a friend and go try this out and I would be so glad if you share with me the result by tagging me in your Instagram or Twitter post
@adamsgraphy.

Thank you for reading! Stay creative and have an awesome weekend.


 

 



 

 

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