We met up with BRKLYN recently to take some new press photos for their upcoming releases. The goal was to get some simple neon photos that would stand out on press releases and show posters. We also took some neon photos at their headlining show at Avalon Hollywood with speedlights hidden around the venue.
To get neon photos all you really need is colored gels. You can get pre-cut gels, or you can get larger gel sheets and cut them down to size. We used the gels on some basic wireless flashes, but you can put them over regular continuous lights as well.
Color Gels: We used a combination of pre-cut gels and 12"x12" sheets cut down to size. You can stack the gels to combine them, but bewere that you lose quite a bit of light this way. To save some money you can also use the gels over continuous lights, like a shop light. Be careful though as the gels can melt up against a hot bulb.
Flashes: To make the most of your photos you'll probably want to get some wireless flashes. You only need one flash trigger and one flash receiver (or a flash with a built-in receiver).A simple $30 RF flash trigger works perfectly for this. You can use the additional lights in optical-slave mode which automatically fires a flash if any other flash goes off nearby. This saves you from having to purchase several receivers.
Camera: For this shoot we used a Sony A7R3 with a 24-70 GM, but you certainly don't need anything that expensive to get nice flash photos. The only requirement for neon flash photography is a camera with a flash hot-shoe on the top of it. Some compact and bridge cameras don't have a flash receiver on top which makes it much harder to pull-off these kinds of shots.
The setup included three lights, but other than that it was fairly simple.
- Key Light: The key light (main light) was to camera left and fired through a 36" white shoot-through umbrella.
- Fill Light: There was a bare fill-flash to camera right with no modifier except a piece of white diffusion paper on top of the color gel.
- Background Light: There was also a bare flash behind the guys that fired onto the wall behind them. It was low on a tripod so it wouldn't be visible above the waist in any shots.