When I think about creating mood in a photograph, I think about light. The way we use light in a photo will determine the mood. The quality of light changes throughout the day and also from day to day according to weather. The “golden hours” in early morning and before sunset will give you the best directional lighting.
Shooting in various weather conditions can also create mood. I love when I see fog in the morning as it can create mystery in a photo as you focus on one subject and everything else is hidden by the fog. Storm clouds, lightening and rain can all convey an ominous or foreboding feel to the photo. Sunny, bright days are usually going to give the viewer a more uplifted feeling. Don’t be afraid to shoot into the sun.
- Subject Matter
On the other hand, photographing people with all the emotions that can be expressed is another way to bring a feeling across in a photo. Candid shots at a wedding will show the emotions of love and joy when people are not aware of the camera. The true emotion can shine through. Children are great for their expressive faces. If you have children, catch them when they are just being themselves.
- Use your camera settings
You can intentionally over or underexpose a scene to get the look you want. Override what your camera is telling you on the exposure to lighten or darken your subject. Make the photo look the way you want to get the feeling across. Shoot with a wide aperture (low f number) to blur out distracting backgrounds. You can always use faster shutter speeds to make your subject darker as well. Shooting in B/W will also help change the mood with certain subjects. You can intentionally increase your ISO to make your photo grainy and give it a “gritty” feel. Don’t be afraid to break the rules to get the results you want. Remember that with digital cameras you are not wasting film and the best way to learn is by getting out there, shooting and experimenting.
By Guest Blogger Shirley Lauer