How to Create Mood in Your Photography

eric kim street photography tokyo

Dear friend,

I want to share some thoughts on how to create mood in your photos:

You can see, use, download, remix, and view all the photos on Google Drive.

1. How do you feel?

Tokyo, 2016

First of all, think of the mood you want to convey.

At the moment, I am currently feeling a bit nostalgic about the past. I am feeling peaceful, calm, and tranquil. I am content in life. I am embracing minimalism as much as I can, while listening to hip hop instrumentals.

A lot of conveying a certain mood in your photography is through how you put your photos together. You want to only show photos that has a certain mood or emotion. You want to have a consistency of images.

The cliche is that nostalgic photos are black and white. They certainly are for me.

eric kim street photography - tokyo-0000324 - mood
Tokyo, 2016

In 2015-2016, I was shooting more color — because life felt more vivid, more exciting, and more upbeat. But as of 2016-2017, I feel more reflective, and moody.

So in this series, I only included monochrome images, all from my entire history of photography (2009-2017). I only selected minimalist photos, which conveyed a sense of space, of emptiness, yet had a sense of longing and soul.

Think of all the emotions out there. Try to put together an edit of images that conveys how you feel.

2. Listen to music

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I am currently addicted to listening to hip hop instrumentals. I got inspired to put together a mix of my favorite hip hop songs, and tried to put together images that paired how I felt.

I know some photographers like to listen to music while they shoot. I know some photographers who like to listen to music while they edit and post-process their photos. I know some photographers who like to put together images, based on a certain soundtrack.

So if you want to better convey a certain mood in your photography, listen to a certain playlist, soundtrack, or album that you feel inspiration from. Then put together images that fit that soundtrack.

3. Don’t use your brain

The last tip about creating a certain mood in your photography project is to not think too much. Think about how your photos make you feel — rather than how your photos look.

In photography, we are too obsessed about composition, form, shapes, and putting together some ‘coherent’ narrative.

For me, I like to harness spontaneity. I like to follow my gut. I don’t like to use my brain too much when putting together a photo series.

The less you use your brain, the more you can use your emotions and soul to put together a body of work which reflects your inner-mood.

Create your own mood

If you’re inspired to show a certain mood, think about what mood you want to convey (joy, happiness, uplifting feelings, sadness, solitude, nostalgia, or despair). Put together a series of images which touches you, and share it on social media with the hashtag #mood

Here is currently my mood:





Find more inspiration

eric kim portrait hanoi cindy
Hanoi, 2017 (portrait by Cindy)

Re-inspire yourself to shoot:

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