Simple Ways to Explore Mood in Your Photography

Silhouette of gull on iceberg on the Ilulissat Icefjord, GreenlandCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 70-200mm f4 IS lens.

There are many ways to explore mood through your photography. This photo of a gull on an iceberg off the coast of Western Greenland is a case in point. Let's look at it in more detail.

The Silhouette

A powerful and evocative silhouette can turn a subject into something far more iconic. No longer is the photo about Rob the runner, its about the runner.

Silhouettes often affect mood by adding an end of day feel to the image. They quiet things down and make for a more contemplative image.


Warm light elicits feelings of romance and helps us explore the picturesque in our photography. Cool colors often elicit feelings associated with tranquility, serenity and calm.

Contrasting warm and cool colors, within the same composition, tends to enhance each individual color and the emotions associated with them.

In the above photo the blue sky emphasizes the end of day feelings associated with the warmer colors.

Just remember what you exclude from the frame is as important as what you include. And that colors, light and the inclusion of a very dark subject against a much brighter background (i.e. silhouette) are powerful tools that help us tell our story successfully.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru