Want the Neon Look in Your Portraits? Here Are Budget Friendly Tips

You don’t need a fancy studio setup to give those colorful portraits a shot, as today’s quick video tutorial shows.

Ever wanted to give those colorful neon portraits a try, but feel intimidated by all the studio equipment you think you need? You can actually give it a go with a budget setup right in your home or creative space, and just pour a lot of creativity into it, as Tajreen and Chloe show us in one of their latest videos.

There are no signs of the neon trend ever slowing down, especially in portrait photography. So photographers have been getting creative in achieving the look. Sure, you can head out and find some nice places with neon lights and shoot there. But, if you want to get extra creative with stuff like props, backgrounds, and combinations of different lights, making your own setup is pretty easy and inexpensive even in your own space.

As Tajreen and Chloe share in the video above, they only needed a colorful backdrop, light stands, off-camera flashes, a $5 sample gel pack, wireless triggers, a cheap star filter, and ultra-sheer 8 denier tights. They also had a $20 LED panel paired with larger gels from Amazon. All these kept them working within a small budget. For the wardrobe and other props, they had some colorful and shiny outfits, tinsel curtains, and some faux fur blankets, but of course, you can use whatever your ideas need.

If you’re curious about the sheer tights, it’s pretty handy to create a dreamy haze effect that looks great for these colorful portraits, giving it a retro, Blade Runner-like mood. As for the star filter, it created a cool lens flare effect when a light source was placed closer to the camera, and gave extra shine to the tinsel curtains — also perfect for the look they were going for.

The off-camera flashes allowed them to combine different colors of light, while the LED panel served as a third light source for highlighting the subject from the front. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different color combinations. You can even use a different color for edge lighting to further define the outline of your subject’s face. But don’t forget to increase the power of your flash when you’re stacking color gels to create deeper colors, because layering color gels tends to cut a lot of light.

If you liked this video, don’t forget to check out Tajreen and Chloe’s YouTube channel for more of their photography tips and tricks.


Screenshot image from the video