Photographing and Processing Ghost Signs

Ghost sign in Socorro New Mexico

One (of my many) projects is photographing signs – specifically neon signs and ghost signs.  I love the history that ghost signs “share”.  From the type of font, to pricing, to the colors and imagery.  You can usually find them everywhere, and the recently uncovered ones I think are the most special.  The colors are vibrant and the surface unweathered.

We found this sign in Socorro New Mexico.  It wasn’t until we saw it, that we realized the many references to owls throughout the town – business names, imagery, etc.  What was unusual was no one in town could tell us why.

I like to pull out the detail and grittiness of the surface that ghost signs are painted on in post-processing.  This one was created using Topaz Labs Adjust 5.  They have presets that accentuate the color and detail.

Ok – off to search for more.


  1. pamphotography

    Hi Sam – thanks for the comment – I agree about the sign not being particular to the location. It was so interesting, that it was because of the sign we started to notice all the other owl symbolism there.
    I’m excited to see you have a passion for ghost signs – I try to photograph them when I see them, in an attempt to preserve history….and am really sad when they are destroyed.

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