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Add drama to your photography with neon lights

3 minutes read

Add drama to your photography with neon lights! If you're looking to add a little bit of pizzazz to your photographs, why not try incorporating neon lights into your next shoot? Photographer Abstract Reality, also known as Ä߆r墆 Rêål, is a master of using neon lights to create vibrant and dynamic images.

With a background in modelling, Abstract Reality eventually transitioned into photography and opened up their own studio, Neon Dreams. The studio is aptly named, as neon lights are a mainstay in Abstract Reality's photography. They use prisms and long exposure techniques to create striking and experimental images, often taking twenty shots to get the perfect one.

But how do they do it? Abstract Reality recommends setting your shutter speed to about a third of a second and your aperture to around f/10 to compensate. Once the flash goes off, Abstract Reality will perform a random motion with the camera to pull the light around, creating the "pull the shutter" effect.

Styling is also an important aspect of Abstract Reality's photography, with sequins and sparkles reflecting neon lights particularly well. They use continuous lighting with colored gels to highlight their subjects, and their preferred camera is the Fujifilm X-T20 for its compact and lightweight design.

So why not try incorporating neon lights into your next shoot and add a little bit of drama to your photography? Be sure to check out Abstract Reality's work on Instagram for more inspiration.

Alistair Campbell Interviews Photographer Abstract Reality. Read the original article on

Art has been a passion all my life, especially bright colours and abstract art. After modelling for a decade, I started getting into photography; A few years later, I ended up with my own studio, Neon Dreams.
I decided to set up the studio with neon lights, and I use prisms a lot in both photography and long exposure techniques. I love seeing the refraction of light and am always amazed at the random patterns that I end up with.
My style of photography is more experimental; I find hit-and-miss styles more interesting to work with. Working with prisms and long exposures, you can get twenty cutout shots for one active shot - but that one is great

Add drama

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Äߧ†r墆 Rêål (@the_abstract_reality)

Complementary neon colours

I have a variety of neon lights at the studio - some traditional glasses and some more modern LEDs. The 'Do what you love' sign resonates with me and the unicorn is another favourite. I tend to use pink and blue a lot, as they work well together.

The neon light pull effect

To achieve a long exposure technique, also known as 'pull the shutter', I tend to set my shutter speed to about a third of a second, then set the aperture to about f / 10 to compensate. As soon as the flash is off, I will perform a random motion with the camera to pull the light around; in this example, it's a neon light.
The flash freezes the subject; any movement after that is just me pulling the light around, hence the term 'pull the shutter'.

Add drama

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Äߧ†r墆 Rêål (@the_abstract_reality)

Sparkling neon style

Styling is an important part of my photoshoots. I have two clothes for the model to use - most of them variety! Sequins and sparkles tend to reflect neon really well. Styling can take up to twice as long as actual photography, but you should always take the time to get it right, as it actually creates the image once you've finished the look.

I started using mostly continuous lighting - ring lights and LED panels

  • with colored gels to highlight them. I like continuous lighting because I can see where the light is falling. I also use my prism, as I will mostly set an aperture of f / 1.2 or f / 1.4. Since I got to the studio, I have acquired some Bowens studio lighting, so I tried a new light setup with a flash.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Äߧ†r墆 Rêål (@the_abstract_reality)

Loose the mass

I used to be a Canon and Nikon user, but ended up buying the Fujifilm X-T20. I like mirrorless cameras because they are lighter and more compact; I don't think a camera is needed these days to be too bulky or too heavy.

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