Street Signs
A Street Photography Project

Street signs, metal ones, neon ones even plastic ones. There's one thing you can be guaranteed of though, whatever they are made of they will be everywhere, so why not use them in your photography?

This project is a bit of a challenge I think. How do you make boring old signs appear interesting in your work? For myself I try to use them as splashes of colour against often very dull and bland concrete backgrounds. But as you will see here there are many different ways to use signs in your work.

Street Signs Project Examples

Street Signs picture by CarbonNYC

This first image by carbonNYC is a perfect example of using the colour of the sign as the main focus of the image.

This picture has been manipulated with computer software to turn the main part of the image black and white whilst keeping the red of the stop signs.

I can see why the shot was taken; it is very visually appealing and also unusual. It is not often that so many stop signs would be seen together.

I like the way that city buildings have been kept in the frame to create the background, bringing lots of extra interest into the image.

This picture is a good example of how you should always keep your eyes open for unusual placing of items in relation to their environment. Many a great image has been produced by just being aware of the misplaced or unexpected elements around you.


Street Signs picture by Misocrazy

This image uses reflection to form the picture, rather than just a straight on shot of the blue neon sign. Using other elements to enhance a composition and create a more unusual view or angle is something always worth looking out for.

This is a simple composition but uses the neon blue light in a very effective way against the wet road surface to create a one-tone colour wash.

This has enhanced the feel of nighttime and perhaps even a little bit of the excitement of the city at night.

Street Signs picture by Poagao

Neon street signs are perhaps the best example of modern day city centre living and the 24-hour culture. Poagao's image of neon and night lights in an oriental city all squashed together mirrors the feeling of overcrowding in general in our cities.

I like how the image has been framed to include only the signs with nothing else to distract the viewer. The angle of the shot is also key to the feeling of overcrowding, whilst at the same time allowing the many colours and positions of the street signs to form the overall composition.

A straight on shot would not have worked so well, as it would have lacked depth and appeared less interesting.

Move around your subjects and shoot from many different angles and perspectives. I have often found that even moving a few steps to the left or right can make all the difference.

Street Signs picture by Isado

I am very much a fan of abstract images but often find that they do need some sort of recognisable aspect to complete them. This last image illustrates that for me. It was taken by isado and is of the most colourful and textural rusty metal wall I have ever seen.

On its own it would be a great study in texture and tones but the added contrast of the blue signs just makes the image ten times more interesting and pleasing to look at.

Placing the signs off centre satisfies the rule of thirds composition guide and although not always necessary, in this respect has worked well to produce a very different view of city life and the things that surround us everyday.

Remember contrasting colours in your photography projects, even simple forms can work really well together if there is another aspect that is visually captivating.