There are times that my photo concepts are part photography and part graphic design. This is one of them. I love old, iconic neon restaurant signs of the '50s and set out to create an image that features two things synonymous with each other – labs and food! My goal for this image was to capture that sense of travel, using a yellow lab and a black lab as hungry travelers, peering at a delicious neon sign from a car.
To get the feeling of travel, I decided the shot would need to be right at sunset, appearing like the dogs had traveled the day, working up an appetite. The darkness would also help the neon sign "glow" in the image.
As I live close to the ocean, I have access to some wonderful wide-open areas that host beautiful sunsets. I found an ideal spot where I could park to capture the sunset in the reflection of the car.
Of course, I took Lew, my yellow lab, to test shoot with me.
Next was the talent. Lew was cast as the yellow lab and we booked our good friend Steve, who has four beautiful, well-trained labs – one which we would pick to model. Steve brought the whole gang along and they arrived with tails wagging and tongues out!
So how do you get a dog to look out a closed window at the perfect angle? You make noises, toss a tennis ball, use a squeaky toy or, in this case, jump up and down, waving your arms like a crazy person (sometimes while making noises and tossing a tennis ball!). Whatever it takes! LOL
The most time-consuming part of the image was designing the neon sign. I wanted a simple sign and decided that a shape may work best, honing in on the ultimate road trip food - burgers!
Using the elements of a burger, I came up with a few designs. The logo needed words, but I realized the sign would be a reflection in the car window, and words - like HAMBURGER, shown as REGRUBMAH, would look foreign. I settled on shorter words - EAT and BURGERS, and went to work adding it to the photo in pseudo neon.
The concept came together in post-production. All of the “ingredients” were combined to create a final image that makes me want to hit the road in search of the perfect burger!
Order up! The final image is served...
Here’s to our future road trips filled with great friends and good food!
Love this image? It’s available on print and canvas HERE.