The Art of Creating Moody Photographs

The Art of Creating Moody Photographs

You must have come across many articles, and blog posts emphasising the relationship between photography and emotions. This article is going to be more specific on the subject matter i.e. moody photographs. Moody photography is a genre in photography that focuses on portraying certain emotions through photography.

Moody photographs result from calculated lighting, the right skills, and an appropriate subject with proper surroundings. All of these things combine together in a way that triggers emotions in the minds of the viewers.

The emotional response created by the photo acts as the main means for users to engage in the photographs. We are going to help you create moody photographs the best way with the help of this article. 

Understanding the way these photos affect our moods

Colours and other elements of a photograph affect the moods of the viewers differently. The dark and moody photos that we are talking about here in the article are often used to create a sense of mystery and passion. These feelings make the photos amazingly intriguing for the viewers.

On the other hand, the photos that are filled with light and space appear joyous and elevate the mood. There is absolutely no end to the list of subjects you can use to create such photos. Paying attention while shooting the photos is important.

We are here with some points worth keeping in mind for such photos. 

Clever example of moody photography

Tips on creating moody photographs

Choose the right camera settings

Camera settings play a major role no matter which genre of photography you are into. The first thing you need to do is avoid auto mode. Auto mode will enable your camera to create balanced exposure and maintain several other settings.

That is something you don’t want here. So, go full manual here. Never expect to get the perfect shot just out of the camera settings. As you have got a lot of things in the post-processing phase

In case you are not familiar with manual mode, go for either aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode. Choosing from among these two will help balance the exposure of the image without much effort. 

Include contrast in the frame

The first thing you have to keep in mind is contrast. The amount or intensity of contrast that you should include in the frame is totally up to you. Make sure you don’t get carried away with it. The presence of too much contrast in the frame is something that badly impacts the details in your photo.

Make use of your skills and tools until you get the right colour grading and contrast adjusted to the right levels. Some examples of such shots include the photo of a bright-coloured smoothie placed on a wooden floor or table.

The dark wooden texture in this image will complement the bright colour of the smoothie. This is just one example. There are countless ways like it where you can play around with different subjects in different surroundings. 

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Go for low or natural light

The process of creating moody photographs is incomplete without low/natural lights. Of all the elements required for the best moody photo, this one is a must. Being aware of the golden hour is really important in this process.

The natural light that is most favourable for creating moody photographs is available two times a day i.e. when the sun is rising or setting. You can make use of that timing in creating photos of the quality you like.

Make your preparations so that you could use the natural light for your benefit. The amount of effort required in getting the most magnificent photos reduces down significantly when you choose the right time. 

The background is very important

The presence of background in the image should be balanced. When you choose the background wisely, it will complement the subject. Going for the background with a better contrast will help viewers see the details of the subject easily.

Avoid having such backgrounds that act as a hindrance to the dominance of the subject in the frame. Photographers can easily get a blurry effect if they move closer to the subject or farther from the background.

Opting for a moderately dark background will help you in creating moody photographs. 

Monochrome trees make moody photography subjects

Try monochrome

Black and white photographs have long been connected with emotions. The way it makes shadow a part of the image is exactly what viewers like about it. Monochrome photos initiate nostalgic feelings in the minds of the viewers.

A large number of people will agree to the fact that monochrome photography makes them feel like going back in time. The absence of vibrant colours is something that makes viewers focus more on the storey and motive. That is the main reason why monochrome should be your priority for creating moody photos. 

Creating the best monochrome photos is quite different from conventional photography. As there are only two colours, this is the main reason why you have to focus on lines, shapes, and contrast, in particular.

Highlighting the details is a really important part of photography and that is not easily possible in monochrome photography. 

Shoot photos with long exposure

Long exposure is used to capture photos whenever you have to capture the movement of something. Capturing movement gives a dynamic touch to the photo. This dynamism leaves viewers with enough space to think about. That is why makes a photo moody.

Once you have set the camera settings to long exposure, there are tonnes of ways in which you may shoot photos of different moving objects. You can capture some of the finest photos of this category in the night. 

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Final thoughts

Creating moody photographs requires you to have a clear vision of the photo before the session. You can rarely be able to create the best moody photos randomly. What we have mentioned above are the tips to help you shoot the best ones.

Depicting a particular mood through the photos depends on the subject and your vision of the photograph.

About the Author

Emma Taylor is an Australian blogger and photographer, who lives in Melbourne with her two cats, where she frequents live theatre and wine bars.