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Creating A Visual Sense Of Mood

Lesson 23 from: Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

Creating A Visual Sense Of Mood

Lesson 23 from: Mastering the Art of Photography

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

23. Creating A Visual Sense Of Mood

Great photographs reveal more than the physical nature of things, they elicit an emotional response, too. In this lesson, Chris heads out in the middle of winter to show you how to use light and color to add mood to a photograph.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction - Three Steps To Creative Photography


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 1: The Camera Points Both Ways


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 2: Letting Go Of Judgement


Firing The Creative Mind - Part 3: Detaching From Outcomes


Practicing Mindfulness In Photography


Finding The Visual Narrative


Behind-the-scenes: Naples


Seeing Beneath The Surface Of Things


Lesson Info

Creating A Visual Sense Of Mood

warm and cold. Soft and hard are adjectives used to describe the different types of light. They are also adjectives used to describe different types of people and places. So in terms of visual storytelling, you can use the color and quality of light to set the mood of a photograph. Compare these two images now for the purpose of this example, I've taken colour away, so just look at the subject. Swans flying a woodland background and rising missed. Both were shot at roughly the same time. There are the same subject and were taken at the same location. Now let's add some color to one of them. How does color affect your emotional response to the image? Forget whether you like it or not. That's not important. How is color making you feel? Okay, let's do the same with the second image. How do you feel now? Colour is an incredibly powerful tool for conveying emotion. Warm colors such as yellow and orange evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy. Think about how you respond when the s...

un comes out. Read does the same but also adds an edge of danger. Cool colors, blues and purples tend to be calming but can also induce sadness, which is where they're saying. Feeling the blues comes from blue also makes you feel physically gold. Color intensity also affects the mood of an image. Bright, vivid colors are uplifting and energizing. Softer pastel colors are soothing, but in color theory into practice and back at the waterfall. I visited earlier to show you an example of using color to create mood. Now, sitting at home watching this, you have no idea how cold I am. It's the middle of winter. I can barely feel my toes, and just looking at the water is making me shiver. But how do I convey that information? That emotion in a photograph? Well, here's a photo I took a couple of hours ago when we first turned up and I could still feel my feet. What can I say about it? It's a record shot of a waterfall. It tells you what it looks like and not much else. Technically, there's nothing wrong with it is well exposed and in focus. But where's the emotion? There isn't any, as I said, is a half decent snapshot. So I'm going to add some color. There's a control in your camera called the White Balance Control, the technical aspects of which I talk a lot about in the very first TCP course. Now you can think of white balance as a set of colored filters of the low white balance settings such as two or 3000 kelvin or the tungsten incandescent and fluorescent precepts as blue filters. The lower the value, the deep of the blue. At the other end of the scale, the high numbers or the cloudy and shade presets are red filters. The higher the number, the deeper the red. Now for this shot, I want to evoke a sense of the cold. I'm feeling blue is a cold color, so I'm going to switch my white balance setting to incandescent, which is around 3000 Calvin. And here's my new image. After two hours of standing in the freezing cold compositionally, I haven't changed much. But by shifting the color balance from a neutral tone to blue ivy evoked in you at home the same feelings I'm experiencing standing here, you are no longer a passive observer. You're here with me in the moment, and that, for me, is the very essence of photography, capturing the moment, not the external event, that the internal dialogue that connects you the photographer with the subject. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite photographers, Freeman Patterson, who said the camera always points both ways in expressing your subject. You also express yourself. Photography is self expression and therefore requires a level of self awareness before you press the shutter. That, in part, is what mindfulness is self awareness. So practice mindfulness when you're out taking pictures and instantly your photography will improve. Rather than photographing simply what a subject or seen looks like. We'll be adding emotion to the composition and that will raise the visual power of your images tenfold overnight.

Ratings and Reviews

Gary Hook

Wow, what a wonderful journey. I love the concept of telling a story with one's photos and as I go through past images, I'm seeing them in a much different perspective. That's the good news, The bad? The lost opportunities I never 'saw' before; however that is a good thing. There is so much to internalize with the material so that it can get out of the head and into the 'heart'. I also found the concept really helps me with composition, both in camera and post. Biggest take away, as Chris underscored in his closing, is to slooooow down, take the time and feel it. Don't be so quick to leave one scene as there remain other aspects, yet to be discovered. A great experience that I truly enjoyed Thank you


I loved this course - in particular the latter part of it in which he demonstrated how post processing lets you really tell the story of the image. Another fabulous course. Thanks Chris & thanks Creative Live.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering photographic composition and visual storytelling) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.

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