Download the workbook for this lesson here. and watch the video at the end of this lesson.
When you embark on the journey to find your personal photography style, an excellent place to start is by creating a mood board. In fact working with mood boards are crucial to achieve streamlined professional photography, not only in the learning process but also as a professional photographer.
In the beginning when you’re learning photography you can use mood boards to help yourself have a VISUAL
GOAL. The mood board should represent a photography style you wish to practice, imitate and explore. By using your mood board as a reference you can train yourself to get closer and closer to the result you’e going for.
For professional photographers the mood board becomes an important part when working with brands, models and other creatives. The mood board is a way for the team to understand visually what direction the style is going.
By making sure that everyone involved in the photoshoot understand the style, the story and the mood, everyone can work to achieve it together. But here’s the critical step; it’s not just about collecting photos you love.
You got to curate what you include. Meaning that you carefully handpick a small collection out of all those images you like. You pick those images that are most important to you and that represents a style you wish to experiment with.
Making a mood board
Gather some pictures and images you love. Rip them out of magazines or collect them
from the Internet. Put all the images together on your board until you are happy with
the result. When putting together a mood board, think of yourself as a curator rather
than a collector. If you pick too many photos for your mood board chances are you will
get paralyzed with overwhelm. Being inspired by many things and styles isn’t a bad
thing, but it is if you get overwhelmed. Just make a small board with 6-20 images that
look beautiful together and have some kind of red thread.
The trick when trying to find your photography style is to focus on the one thing that
inspires you the most. If you’re not sure what that is, listen to your heart. It will tell you
right away. Pick the photos that really moves you and focus on putting those onto your
And keep in mind that you are not making a mood board to copy the images, you
make a mood board to remind yourself of the creative direction you wish to
Let yourself be inspired by the colours, the tones, the light, the props, the shooting
angle and the composition – but never try to copy an entire photo that you’ve
found on Pinterest or Instagram.
The pictures you select should push you to improve as a photographer. Choose
images that inspire you with their light, tones, composition, styling, posing,
shooting angle or editing.
Study your mood board
When your board is finished, take some time to study it. The collage will say something
- What type of images are you drawn towards?
- Which style do you like? Dark and moody, colourful, black and white, vintage or
- bright and airy?
- Have you included travel, interior, still life, food, portraits or lifesstyle photos?
- What is the main color theme? Are they neutral, pastel, green or strong red—or is it
- a mix of all sorts of colors?
Look and notice…
- What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you look at your board
- Which colors are repeated?
- What are the main subjects of your pictures?
- Are the photos simplistic, artistic, candid or styled?
- What emotions or atmosphere is portrayed by your board?Is it happy, comedic,
- romantic, soulful or moody?
- Are your color tones warm or cold?
- What did you learn about yourself?
Write your answers down and consider how you can use what you just learned about
yourself, to improve your own personal photographic style.
Plan a shoot and practice
Next step is to plan your actual photoshoot. When you have your inspirational mood
board ready, it’s time to plan, style and capture a photo based on your mood board. In
other words; it’s time to put it into practice.
Just looking at pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest won’t get you into action. You
got to plan your shoot. Make time for it. Prioritise it. To really become good at
something, you must put many hands-on hours into it.
Excellence doesn’t come from just practising an hour once a week. It takes time, effort,
passion and determination. But I promise you if you make the time to practice, if you
don’t give up and give in; you will find your unique photography style.
Are you ready? Let’s do this!
Watch this video about how to create a digital mood board
Time to practice!
Now it’s time to create your own mood board of your photography goals for 2021. This mood board will be very important for you, as it will present your creative direction for you this year.
Go to Pinterest, Instagram, google or visit directly your favourite photographers.
Content author of this lesson: Christina Greve