Words by Emma Kay
What Is Mood?
Mood essentially relates to the lighting in a shot. Giving something mood usually means we are trying to make it dark and brooding – making it moody. But mood can relate to any lighting situation, to give your photo any mood/feeling.
For landscape photography, mood usually relates to the weather. A cloudy, unsettled day will create mood in a way most of us expect it to be - dark and brooding. Although the opposite, where streaks of sun break through cloud to shine light on parts of the green landscape are equally as good, it's just the mood/feeling is different.
The photo here is a great example of mood, with the jagged and dangerous rocks combined with the grey, cloudy sky.
Photo courtsey of David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk
To take good moody landscapes, you're going to need a tripod as dark days may be good for the style of shot you're trying to create but the lack of light can lead to slower shutter speeds and working without a tripod can result in shake.
This type of photography requires patience. To get the best shots, you need to wait until there is a break in the weather to get some really interesting lighting effects from the turbulent sky. Of course, mood doesn't have to be cloudy, but with landscapes, it's more of a challenge to portray mood on bright, sunny, cloudless days.
When the right light does arrive, work quickly as it can be gone again before you know it. The key to this is always to be ready, having your gear out and framing in-mind before the right light does show its face.
Check the weather forecast the night before as there's no point heading out if you find the weather isn't going to be right. You also need to have the right type of location as you'll find some subjects will work better in dark, moody shots than others.
Convert Your Shots
Black and white is another way to create mood in your photography. Taking photos of a gnarly tree, for example, in black and white will look so much more foreboding than a shot in colour. You can shoot black and white in-camera although, if you shoot in colour, you can convert your shots to black and white in your chosen editing software, giving you more control over the tones, highlights and shadows in the shot.