The hunt for mood in photography

posted on 1st of february, 2013

Hi everyone,
This is my first blog. I have been unable to do one up until now, but I am excited to join the Dreamstime community. I have been a photographer with Dreamstime now since August last year and I am continually inspired by the amazing photography uploaded to this site and the high standard of work.
For sometime now I have been conflicted over what is the most important in photography, the technical aspect, composition or mood. This seems to be a common question and debate amongst photographers, but I have come to my own personal conclusion after 2 years of some good , bad, great and disasterous results , I truly believe that mood is , in my humble opinion, the most important aspect of a photo. Yes, even stock photography.
I have seen many, many 'technically perfect' composed photos that have left me cold and then seen photographs that may break some of the golden rules but the mood captured in the shot is just magical.
Isn't that what photography really should be all about in the end anyway. A photo that moves a viewer in some way, weather it be awe, laughter, tears or interest. With that in mind I am making my focus (excuse the pun) on creating photographs with mood in mind. Of course lighting plays a huge role in capturing mood but with a little effort you can supply this light if it is not available naturally.
So my hunt is now on to hone my craft and ability to try and tell a story or move a viewer with even the most mundane subject. Even a teapot can tell a story if it is photographed well!
If any of you more experience photographers, who feel the same way as I do, could pass on some valuable hints on gaining more mood and tips wth lighting to give great results in this area, I would be so appreciative. I am also happy to pass on any enlightment or bright ideas that I come across in my pursuit of capturing mood.
Again, I am so glad to be a part of this wonderful community of superb artists and photographers and I look forward to communicating and interacting more with everyone.

Comments (8)

Posted by Lifeontheside on February 06, 2013
Thanks for all your comments, I found them very interesting. I still believe though, that it is important to create a photograph with as much mood as possible , in even the must mundane, everyday subjects. The mood does not have to be dark or soul stirring but with a little effort by adding some props such as fresh raspberries behind a jar of raspberry jam for instance, you can make that photograph so much more appealing and gives a mood of fresh,organic and tempting immediately. I do agree, that stock photography needs all types but it is interesting when you do a simple exercise such as doing a search for anything you want, people, animals, dog, cat, jam,bread,food,cake,handbag etc, that when you do a search with 'newly uploaded' and then change the search for the same thing with 'best sellling' it changes dramatically. You will see alot of 'mood' photos high up there in the first rows under best selling , where the photographers have taken more time...(More)
Posted by Gunaleite on February 02, 2013
Hi, Suzie! Thank you for Your interesting post! I´m just trying to figure out, what is most important for successful microstock photography. But I kind of agree with Jackbluee, that it´s good to have in portfolio both kind of images - photographs with mood (and yours are really great), and also subjects, which are "ingredients" for designers to create their own art. But actually I am pleasently surprised, that my sales till know are images, which I didn´t took purposely for microstock, but just because I liked the subject.
Posted by Banol2007 on February 02, 2013
Dear Suzie, welcome aboard! Congratulations with the nice blog! By the way, the absence of mood, depression is not well covered subject in stock. Take this chance & let us to see your vision of those conditions. Good luck & have a lot of sales!
Posted by Inyrdreams on February 01, 2013
welcome suzie! I totally agree with you, I was a portrait photographer for many years and the ones that sold the best were the ones that captured the essence of the person or told a story. to this day my favorite photos are the ones where people are NOT looking at the camera. keep up the good work and welcome to DT
Posted by Lenutaidi on February 01, 2013
Hi Suzie!DT is a wonderful community of stock photography!Ultimately, selling stock photography is art.Another art.Yes,you're right!Lighting and mood are very important,but not only....I like your portofolio! Beautiful images!
Posted by BCritchley on February 01, 2013
Hi Suzi and glad to see you on here finally :)

I agree that mood can play an important part in a great shot. The editors choice section is a great place to see some very moody, well created shots. Not always the biggest of sellers but a great gallery to keep an eye on Dreamstime's best shots. I'm lucky enough to have a shot going in there anytime soon ( as soon as the database catches up ), but it's somewhere I keep an eye on for inspiration and to remind me how much further my photography needs to go to be good :)

Love your port and I hope we can see lots more of you and your work around here now your up and running on the boards :)


p.s thanks for using one of my shots in your blog :)
Posted by Perstock on February 01, 2013
Hi Suzie!
Your absolutely right. Lightning and mood are really essential!
Actually I am more imagebuyer than contributor... It happends almost every week that I am looking thru thousands of images to illustrate something, wich really can be anything. Both in commercial, editorial and non-profit it´s common to illustrate an idea or a feeling. And when comparing images it´s not always the technical perfect that will work. I also disagree with the inspectors sometimes when rejected ;-) Why? It´s very common for me to use copyspace or combine several images together...
Finally, I really love your cats! Nice portfolio :-)
Posted by Jackbluee on February 01, 2013
I think some people buy "mood", some people buy "objects". Stock photography should include the varieties. One image could be "bored" but useful. One image could be very "moody" /interesting, but might take even longer to sell. Sometimes we should follow the "golden rules", sometimes we break them. It all depends.

I just take what I consider beautiful. I never thought about the rules or mood. I just trust my eyes. Some of my images are "bored" but they are good sellers. But I enjoyed taking all of them! That is the most important.

Comments (8)

This article has been read 1468 times.
Photo credits: Alptraum, Brett Critchley, ChelseaSuzanne, Lifeontheside.

About me

I have been addicted to photography since I was old enough to hold a camera in my hand, although I did not take it too seriously until about 3 years ago. My biggest challenge is challenging myself to do better constantly and to continually lift the bar for myself to achieve excellence. The perfect photo for me is one that is not only technically perfect but carries with it great mood and tells a story. I also love writing and of course travel. My favorite place in the world to travel is Africa. I spent 2 months in Uganda doing aid work and it transformed my life forever. I am sure a large p... [Read more]

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