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This shot right here is a really nice one. It’s not overly lit and it gives the photo a lovely, soft feel to it. You might think a shot like this requires a lot of photography training to achieve. You might also think a lot of special equipment is needed as well. Well you would be pleasantly surprised it can be achieved with a decent smartphone camera and a little instruction.
As luck would have it, if you just keep reading, you’ll find quite a bit about how to take moody photos.
- What is moody photography?
- 4 tips to take dark and moody photographs
- Use natural light
- Create contrast on your subject
- Make use of black and white
- Camera settings or shooting mode
- Pay attention to the background
- When to use moody photography
- Moody wedding photography
- Try moody portrait photography
- Create dark and moody photos for your home
What is moody photography?
Moody photography is imagery that generates an emotional response from the viewer. Its lighting and composition combine with the subject, whether it’s a person, a plate of food, or even a landscape. Every photograph should create some sort of emotional response to help the viewer engage with the image.
Photographers can create happy, sad, romantic, or even excited moods in their photos. Light and airy photographs tend to have uplifting and joyous moods. They can convey the feeling of spring and summer, even conveying an innocence in their subject. Conversely, dark moody photography can convey passion, mystery, and intrigue. The dark food photography featured above lets the subject pop and the shadows created show texture of the food. Use dark and moody photography to capture all sorts of shots like portraits, sunset silhouettes, garden and nature shots, and those you get by just playing around with shadows.
5 tips to take dark and moody photographs
If you’re wondering how to create moody photos, we’ve got a few tips to help your moody photography results.
1. Shoot in low, natural light
Portraits like this one were made possible by minimal natural light coming from an overhead skylight. Good light is most often found at the beginning or end of the day. The “golden hour” is the time when the sun is rising or setting. The “blue hour” is that time after sunset. Both are great times to capture dark and moody photography.
This shot can be difficult to pull off, but it’s much easier than trying to shoot something in the bright midday light of summer. Your options are limited with really bright light.
2. Create contrast on your subject
This delicious looking treat is certainly the first thing your eye is drawn to. The items in the periphery are there to compliment and complete the shot. To take dark food photography, contrast can really be your friend. The amount of contrast you choose is completely up to you, but too much can affect the detail. Your vision in what you want to see is your best tool. Make subtle adjustments and play around until you find the results you’re happy with.
3. Make use of black and white
Oftentimes, shooting with a black and white setting or applying a black and white filter will completely change the impact of your subject. The low light and contrast present let you focus on the content instead of leaning on any color. Shadows become more a part of the composition due to the similar tones and hues.
4. Camera settings and shooting mode
In regards to camera settings, manual mode is the best shooting mode. It gives you the control to capture dark and moody scenes. In auto mode, your camera is going to try to create an even exposure.
If you’re uncomfortable with manual mode, use program mode with either aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode. Some exposure compensation may be necessary. You also have a great deal of editing options to push the shot to where you’d like it to be.
5. Pay attention to the background
Background is an important element of most photos. But don’t let a distracting background upstage your subject. To achieve this, try using a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus. Notice that the background is dark, mysterious, as well as out of focus.
You can also get close to the subject to blur the background. Or, you could move as far from the background as possible to achieve a blur. Ultimately, you want to find a background that complements the subject and completes the scene.
When to use moody photography
At this point you’ve already scrolled past several examples of moody photos. A popular one is moody portrait photography. Another very popular type is wedding photography. Here’s a bit more about each.
Moody wedding photography
Even though it’s a bright moment for every couple on their wedding day, dark and moody photos are a good option for anyone taking photos. The dark and moody style against the white wedding dress makes for great wedding photos. Plus, there’s a much better chance your subjects will not be squinting from excessive light. This style of photography also lets you focus on the symbolic nature of the event. The rings, the cake, the ring bearer, the veil, the bride and groom all become great subjects to shoot.
Try moody portrait photography
By simply looking at this man holding a trumpet, you’re transported to another place. The sound of jazz fills your head. That’s the power of good moody portrait photography. It tells a story without saying a word because the image lets your imagination do it automatically. It’s a good question to ask yourself if you have a LinkedIn profile photo, or any profile photo for that matter.
Create dark and moody photos for your home
The photos you take deserve more than a life in your Photos folder. Your favorites belong on paper or canvas where they can be truly appreciated. Consider a beautiful save the date card, a book of all your favorite moody photos, or a stunning canvas on your wall. However, before you think about printer cartridges, gluing, cutting, and figuring out how to bind things together, there’s a much simpler way.
Printing your photo favorites begins with Motif. The app works seamlessly with your Apple Photos so there’s no photo uploading necessary. There’s a variety of sizes and finishes to choose from. On your Mac, open Photos and select the images you’d like to create your photo project with. In the File menu select Create then the photo project you’d like to create, then Motif. On your iPhone/iPad, open the Motif app and then simply select the photo product. Your best dark and moody photos could be on their way to becoming a printed photo piece before you know it.
Bring your best photos to life with Motif.
Experience how easy creating personalized photo projects is with Motif. Our photo project app seamlessly works with Apple Photos in macOS and iOS. We do all the complicated stuff leaving the fun creative freedom to you.
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