So, we’ve already done expression and emotion without showing a face. This week, we’ll combine these concepts along with some other factors that influence mood in an image: colours/editing, lighting, composition, framing, etc. Below are some example photos that make me feel something from romance to intimacy and joy to solitude. The images are about the people and their faces and body language convey their emotion, but there’s more to it than just that. Below, I’ll discuss some other ways to create mood in an image.

Here are some ways to create mood in photography:

  1. Colour and editing: black and white images can feel more serious and solemn, but also can be romantic and intimate. Some photographers say that if colour doesn’t add anything to your image, make it black and white. I personally only make something black and white if that edit adds something, like enhancing a serious, elegant, or romantic mood. It’s good to think about what the colours in your image add to it though and what kind of feeling they convey. Bright colours convey joy or excitement. Warm colours and lighting create a warm feeling. Cool colours are peaceful and calming.
  2. Lighting: pretty, glowy backlight or warm lighting can make an image seem happier, warmer, inviting, or romantic. Darker, semi-silhouetted lighting creates mystery and intimacy. Overcast skies can feel kind of sad or lonely.
  3. Framing: framing can isolate your subject, drawing attention to them, but it also makes them feel separate from the rest of the image, or the rest of the world. Like the fourth image of the couple framed in the doorway, the framing makes it feel like you’re peeking in on an intimate moment.
  4. Composition and position relative to other people: putting people in the middle of a lively crowd creates an excited mood, while the photo of the little girl sitting in the sand with all the adults’ legs around her creates a feeling of solitude. Think about what other elements you’re including in your image and how that changes the feel of it.

This week can be pretty simple, just conveying a mood in your photo. But if you take into account all of the above, it can be a real challenge, but it can create a powerful image.

If you have any questions, join us in the Facebook group. I’ll be checking in there daily to see your work and help you achieve the best results.

If you’re just finding this now, you can check out the full list and more information on the challenge here. You can follow me on Instagram at @documentyourdaytoday and use the hashtag #dtd52weeks so others doing the challenge can see your work.