Photo Spot Summary
Country: United States
City: Las Vegas
GPS Latitude: 36.176983
GPS Longitude: -115.135674
The main Neon Museum exhibit (the Boneyard) is situated on two acres behind the visitors’ center. Here you will find over 150 old neon signs that once shone brightly on the Las Vegas strip. Some of the signs have been restored, while others are weathered and decayed. Photography is very limited at the museum and is restricted for personal use only, unless you make arrangements and pay for a professional shoot. As such, you are not allowed a tripod, and can only bring in one camera with one lens. In addition, you can only enter the Boneyard on an hour long guided tour, and you must stay with the tour! However, even with all these restrictions, there are lots of fantastic subjects to photograph. It is strongly advised to purchase your tickets ahead of time, as tours sell out quickly. You can book tours on-line up to a month ahead of your visit.
Photo Spot Details
Because you are only allowed one camera and lens, I would recommend an all purpose zoom lens that lets you go wide, or shoot tighter. Something like a 24-70mm or 18-200mm would work well. It is hard to stand back from the signs, so you will definitely use the wide end of your zoom.
Besides photographing full signs, look for details and texture. The museum is full of rust and vibrant colors. Since you can only visit during the day, when the light is harsh, use this light to your advantage. Look for broken bulbs and shadows; they make very interesting subjects.
Hello – I’m not sure when this was published but wanted to draw your (and other viewers’) attention to a change in policy on cameras. According to their website (www.neonmuseum.org/visit…phy-policy), they no longer allow “real” cameras on their self-guided tours or when on a guided tour. Phone cameras are OK but everything else gets checked at the front desk. On the other hand, they now offer 90-minute “photo tour” slots that allow you to bring all your equipment, including tripods (but excluding drones), for strict non-portrait photography. Of course, these photo tour slots about double the price of the regular self-directed tour and everyone who goes, photographer or not, pays the same price. Just wanted to let you know! Thanks for the suggestions about lens choice and what to do with harsh lights.
Thanks for the update, Chris. It seems crazy that “real” cameras aren’t allowed but cell phones are!
I just bought tickets to the Neon Museum. Yes, their website says only camera phones and tablets allowed. Yet, this paragraph (below) that is in my email confirmation, taken verbatim, sure indicates a “regular” camera is OK. Mmmmm.
Maybe they’ve forgotten to update their automated email confirmation?
Either way, I’m taking a DSLR camera and will have my iPhone as a backup. 😎
Taking still pictures for personal use is welcome and permitted. Photographs cannot be published, sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or otherwise commercially exploited in any manner whatsoever. For this reason, no equipment other than a camera is allowed. Items prohibited in the Neon Boneyard include: tripods, monopods, large bags, backpacks, camera bags, and luggage. Additionally, audio and video recording is not allowed. Staged/commercial photo shoots are strictly prohibited. Please visit Book A Photo Shoot for more information about photo shoots or email [email protected] with questions.