It was ambiguous hearing about photography mood board for the first time. I didn’t have a clue what it was but thankfully while studying I was about to find out. Some of you might not be in the same situation so I’m sharing here how I’ve done my mood boards for clients.
A mood board is a collage where you add all the necessary visual information regarding a photoshoot. This is to be sure you’re on the same page with the rest of the creatives when planning a photo shoot.
What is a mood board?
You might find yourself working with other people to fulfill a project. While collaborating with a group of people on a photography project, you need to make sure everyone agrees with the aesthetics.The best and most common way to help everyone understand your visual aesthetic is to create mood boards.
A mood board is a collection of images gathered into one place. They extensively used in the photography field to help define the visual direction of a project. In a larger production, a mood board can be created as a physical board, filled with printed images. Although, mood boards are usually virtual nowadays. The photographer sends their mood board to the other people involved to get feedback on the collaboration.
I find mood boards highly effective for my personal projects too; with too many elements like location, costumes and other props, it’s easier to execute them with a mood board.
Here’s a quick example of a mood board. The mood board might be aesthetically pleasing, but mostly, it just needs to have the necessary information for the shoot. Don’t stress about your designing skills is not something to focus on, just make sure you cover the points below.
I make my mood boards quick, because they will most likely have to be adjusted a couple of times, so putting too much time into them is shouldnt be a priority.
What to put in a photography mood board ?
The reason for mood boards is to inspire for the desired event. It is not to copy anyone’s work or final images. As a photographer, I want to be on the same level with everyone in the production and make sure we agree with the colors and materials used in the shoot.
In any case, adding roughly 8-15 images to a mood board is considered enough to communicate your visuals.
When looking for mood board images, make sure you cover following:
- Textures (if you’re using fabric, but also the backdrop textures)
- Style (the atmosphere you’re trying to convey)
Sometimes if you are given free hands to plan the whole concept, you might want to send them more than one mood board – to give more variety to choose from and to show them you’ve put the effort in the planning stage already.
In large productions the mood boards also cover the stages of the video or photos; they make a clear palette of clothing the models are going to wear and in which order to clarify the schedule and the overall photoshoot.
You should always ask your client if they have something specific in mind – sometimes you’ll get a good feel out of reference images they send you and can build your whole mood board around them.
This is the single best way to know what you’re going to be making for the client. Planning the photoshoots is an essential part of the photo process. It makes you feel more confident in the upcoming shoot and you don’t need to guess or figure out everything on your own.
You can also check how to build a portfolio before you book with clients.