Lens-Artists Challenge – Mood

I had the inspiration for this challenge when I noticed how many times mood or moody comes up as a descriptive word for a photo. Most of the time, if I’m looking for expressing a specific type of feeling, I tend to go for moody, which is to say somewhat mysterious.

The definition for mood that I thought was closest to what I was looking for was this:

“a prevailing emotional tone or general attitude”

So, for this week, I challenge you and myself to think of mood, how to convey and create an emotional reaction to your shot. That can be accomplished by capturing situations or occasions, photography styles or people and their feelings.  Never forgetting how moods can be perceived in different ways by different people, there is where I’ll start.

My first photo is of a second-hand clothes market in Glasgow. While for me is a scene of frantic and chaotic moods, for some I’m sure would be a frenzied and happy prospect. Not even the balloons and bunting can change my mind about it…!

Other scenes are a lot more appealing to me; the living room at the Hill House in Helensburgh is cosy and inviting. The mood is more relaxed here: sit down, pick up a book and leave everything behind.

Sometimes the weather makes the perfect moody shot, that volatile and mysterious feeling, mixed in with a bit of drama. The weather in Scotland is perfect for this, it can change in the space of minutes, never shy of going for broke. I loved the boat that looks like it’s touching the sky.

What can be better showing moods than people? Places I’ve found introspective can be shown in a completely different mood if there’s people about and what they are doing. These photos taken at the Zen rock garden of the Ryoan-Ji have a distinct feeling to them although they were taken in the same place.

Normally a lone figure would bring the thought of loneliness but in this case, the dog changes the mood completely. It is a scene of tranquillity.

Capturing life as it is with candid photos puts more emphasis on the reactions of the viewers to the specific moment. Although there’s no doubt what the mood was for this person…

… that is not always the case. The following photo shows a relaxing moment although there’s no facial expressions to help us out.

And this one from my family shows a playful moment.

Light is also a major factor in creating a mood shot. The following is one of my favourite shots ever. It’s peaceful and inviting.

And to finish, colour. Colour instinctively gives a sense of mood, almost as much as light. Green is associated with freshness and life.

So far, I’ve only mentioned different situations and subjects that convey moods to photography. We’ve had challenges about high and low-key photography, monochrome and even last week with backlit. All of those are good starting points for setting moods and editing can just edge things to a more dramatic effect. Next, I’ll give an example of how editing can change the mood of photos with a single shot edited in 3 different ways. Which way do you think it works best for you and what mood do you think was achieved?

Now it’s up to you. You can focus on one mood, that perhaps suits your photography style better or try to show us as many moods as you can. The images we create and see show more than just what is there. The story, the mood, they take us somewhere different and new. I’m looking forward to seeing where you’ll take us and how you can make us feel.

Last week Ann-Christine’s challenge was truly inspirational, so much so that it influenced my choices for today’s challenge. Your replies were amazingly varied and made me think more about backlight for different subjects while photographing. A big thank you to Ann-Christine and to you all. 

Next week, John is our host. Make sure you visit his site and join us if you can. Until then, take care.

If you want more info about the Lens-Artists Challenge, please click here.


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