Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mood lighting...another photography 'tip'

Happy hump day!  I hope your week is going well.

I've been busy decorating for fall around our home - moving furniture and trying to 'refresh' our nest - pics of which I hope to share with you next week...:)  But today, I wanted to quickly continue my mini photography 'tips' series and touch on the subject of creating a specific mood by simply changing the background.  

As I'm still learning about photography, I'm not sure if the term 'mood' exists in this medium, but as it exists in art - and photography is an art to me - you'll see me use the term in this post.  So let's get started...

When looking at the above picture, what does it say to
you in terms of time of day, mood or even time of year?

Now look at the same subject but with a dark background.
Does the picture reflect a different mood than the one prior?
Take a look at them side by side.  Notice how the picture on the left depicts a sunnier, lighter, more summery photo as opposed to the one on the right, which is more rustic and could depict a photo taken at night or during a cloudy day.

By simply changing your background or backdrop, you can create a
picture that says 'that's going to be a delicious light lunch or refreshing dessert'.

 OR it could say...

'That's going to be a delicious warm
comforting dinner or rich dessert'

Similarly, when displaying objects such as my recent artichoke sculpture against
the chalkboard background, the mood has more of a rustic yet sophisticated feel.

Whereas in this photo, the vase sitting at the table against a white
table cloth and white dishes is airy and the mood more relaxed...
This subject reminded me of a recent email conversation I had with my dear friend Andrea from Keeping it Cozy. She shared this photo on a recent post. 

Isn't it beautiful?  I think the picture is perfect for an autumn 'mood'.  To me, the darkness of the picture depicts a warm cozy fall day by a fire while enjoying some warm apple pie, which is exactly what her post was about.  Can you believe that Andrea was not satisfied with this photo as she felt she could not capture the brightness of her kitchen (I believe we are often more critical of ourselves than others are of us).

But even though I disagree and think her photo is beautiful, I also understand why Andrea would want lighter photos, as I too tend to prefer my photos to be bright and airy.  However, this time of year lends itself to that perfect time to practice and get yourself acquainted with darker settings as we approach winter and the sunny days will be fewer and further in between (unless you are lucky enough to live in a place where it's sunny all year around, in that case disregard this entire paragraph and the jealousy I have towards you...ha). 

So there you have it, creating 'mood' with your background. Do you have a preference?  Lighter or darker backgrounds?

For those of you who prefer no background at all, I will post something next week and show you how to take a photo with 'floating' subjects.  In the meantime, if there are any specific questions you might have on this subject, please let me know and I will do my best to answer your question. 

I truly hope you find these 'tips' helpful. 

Thank you so much for keeping me company today! 

much love,

ps. please don't forget to enter the Cutting Edge stencil giveaway. Thank you so much to those who have already entered! Good Luck everyone! 


  1. Great tips! Will play around with this concept,

    Gemma xxx

  2. Wow! Super helpful and inspiring!
    The pictures look like they were taken during different parts of the day. This is definitely making me want to play around with photography a lot more.
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Oh Lucy, I love this post! You have me looking at photography in a different light. While I do love the look of a bright photo that makes me think of sunshine, maybe the photos in my house often have a darker background because in reality our home does give off more of a warm and cozy mood versus bright and airy. Instead of wondering why my photos keep looking so dark, I think I'll try to embrace the feelings of warmth. And thank you so much for your kind words in this post... you are so sweet, creative, and everything you do is inspiring! (P.S. You should have seen my surprise when I saw my photo here. :-)

  4. awesome tip! thank you for doing photography 101! very helpful!

  5. Very good tips and examples. Thank you. I often get frustrated because my house is dark and I only have a small inexpensive camera. But, I still try and like to share my world.


  6. Great tips....I'm such a beginner when it comes to good photography.

  7. This is such a great post Lucy! I'm always trying to improve my photography skills and this made so much sense. You rock!

  8. As always thank you for your tips! I guess my problem too seems to be a lack of Backgrounds and always seem to have the perfect rustic boards and such.....

  9. Thanks for the tips, and I agree with you that Andrea's photo is beautiful.

  10. Thanks for this! I'm working on this with a point and shoot in an apartment and it's tough!! :) I love all the tips!

  11. Lucy these were some really great tips and I'm going to try it out this weekend hopefully. I do have a question or two and that is, what kind of lens were you using to take these pictures. Do you have favorite settings on your camera that you like to use? Thanks for sharing. I love finding new tips for photography. :)

  12. That's a really good point, Lucy! :)

  13. Thank you so much for these tips! It's making me realize that I have to pay a lot more attention to my background (and especially the mood that it creates). I'm usually so focused on lighting that I forget about the rest!

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