How to read images in your mood board and how to set your creative goals

In the previous lesson, you created your mood board, which represents your new creative photography goals. This is the style that you would love achieve in some time. I love creating my yearly photography goals – these are the areas or styles, that I would love to learn and explore more.

But, the question is, how can you read these images? What is important to analyze and understand after you created your mood board? In this lesson, I will walk you through this process, showing you an example from my own food photography mood board for this year.

Understanding your mood board

It’s not easy to read your mood board but it comes with practice. The more you know about food photography, the easier it will become for you. 

In the image below, on the left, you can see lots of images that I gathered together into my mood board 2021. This is not the final mood board, but only the images that caught my eye on Pinterest and I really loved them. Then, I also added a few more images from Instagram, browsing and saving shots from my favorite food photographers.

After that, I reviewed all the images and chose only a few ones that I organized into 3 different mood boards, according to the style of these images. (you don’t need to have 3 mood boards. One mood board for you is perfect.)

As you see on the image above, I created 3 mood boards, that represent my creative goals for 2021. All these 3 mood boards are the images I would love to focus on during this year. The dark and moody is something I already know but I really enjoy it. It is my conform zone. The drinks are something I am half on the way of mastering it, but there is still so much to learn. And then, the funny and colorful mood board is something that is totally out of my conform zone, and I really wish to learn how to create such images.

I divided them based on my skills, but also because they evoke completely different feelings and represent totally different styles:

If you start with food photography, I recommend keeping only 1 mood board for your creative goals, otherwise it can be overwhelming for you to learn it all. Decide which style you REALLY feel to dive in, and go for it. But, if you are already advanced and you feel you have 2 very different styles that you love to focus on, you can create 2 mood boards for yourself.

Reading images in your mood board and setting your SMART goals

This part is very important, as you are going to analyze the images in your mood board and set smart photography goals for you.

I prepared all these questions in your monthly workbook, so you can write down your notes for your own mood board.

Here, let me show you an example:

Now, it’s your turn. Take your workbook, and answer these questions:

Style n.1: (Write the title of the style in your moodboard)

  • What type of images are you drawn towards? Have you included travel, interior, still life, food, portraits, or life style photos? What is the main subject in the images?
  • How would you describe the style? Dark and moody, colorful, vintage, or bright and airy?
  • What is the main color theme? Are they neutral, pastel, green or strong red—or is ita mix of all sorts of colors? Which colors are repeated? Are your color tones warm or cold?
  • What emotions or atmosphere is portrayed by your board? Is it happy, comedic,romantic, soulful or moody?
  • Type and direction of light  – Where the light come from? What type of light is it? Hard or soft?
  • What can you say about the composition? Where the main subject is placed? How other elements are used in the images? What can you say about layering?
  • What can you say about editing? are the images desaturated, do they have vignette or do they have vibrant colors?

And, let’s brainstorm more:

  • What type of clients can you attract by this style?
  • What are the props and tools used in this style? (describe the texture, design, style, and write down if you have them, or you need to get new pieces).
  • What skills or techniques you need to learn in order to achieve such style?

If you created more than one moodboard, do these analysis for each of them and share your results in our facebook group!

Set your smart photography goals

Setting SMART goals means you clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources in a productive way, and increase your chances of achieving what you want.

To make sure your goals are clear and achievable, they should be:

  • Specific – your goal should be simple and as specific as possible – what is it exactly that you want? What do you want to be good at?
  • Measurable – it will help you track your goal and understand if you achieved it or not.
  • Achievable – make sure that your goal motivates you and makes you grow; however, it should remain doable. For example, the goal of being the world’s best food photographer next year is beautiful, but if you are starting with food photography right now, it’s not really achievable.
  • Relevant – make it relevant to you and your current situation. For example, a goal of becoming a pro photographer of meat burgers, while being a vegan isn’t the best combination.
  • Time-bound – define when you want to achieve your goal.

So, let’s create a smart goal together:

“I want to master artificial lighting and photoshop techniques that help me create beautiful moody images of beverages by the end of this year.”

The goal is specific – I want to learn better the artificial light and photoshop while creating images of beverages. It’s also measurable, and achievable – I have enough time to learn how to work with lighting and photoshop. It is relevant for me, because as a food photographer, this is something very improtant for me. And we also defined the deadline – by the end of this year.

I hope this will help you to define your creative photography goals and let me know if you have any questions. You can also share your SMART goals with us in our Facebook group!

Content author of this lesson: Lucia Marecak

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