Within the Tribe Community, we often see the questions, "Which presets are moody?" "How can I make my images look moody?" Is it just a preset? Is it a style of shooting? Is it the subject?
We'd like to answer some of these questions, and offer some insight and tips for how to achieve a moody style and edit in your work. While our 'moody' Tribe presets and creative profiles will definitely help achieve this look, there are many factors to take into consideration including styling and planning your shoot, lighting and exposure, and editing.
"Moody" photography has a style and aesthetic of it's own that must occur from start to finish. It is part of how a photographer conceptualizes the session and how the image is taken. It is ingrained in what they create--and editing is just a piece (though an important piece) of the pie. When planning the session, think about textures, colors, locations, and lighting that will serve the dramatic.
Let's dispel the idea the 'moody photography' = 'dark photography.' LIGHT and shadow are key elements in creating a moody image. The goal should be to properly expose your subject according to the image and to maintain skin tones and highlights rather than muddiness and poorly or improperly exposed skin. Familiarize yourself with 'chiaroscuro'--the bold contrast between light/highlights and dark/shadows-- and learn how to use it to create mood and 'drama' in your image. A good starting point for building a stronger understanding of and for finding inspiration for effective chiaroscuro is in Renaissance paintings and in classic cinematography. As a rule of thumb, sun-soaked landscapes or perfect open shade on a sunny day may not be ideal for a moody look, rather side-lit subjects whether indoor or outdoor generally bodes well for this type of photography. Many "moody" photographers do slightly underexpose (BUT NOT TOO MUCH!!) because the effect of bringing up the image in post does something lovely to the shadows while still exposing properly the highlighted elements of the image.
Though we carry a large variety of post-production tools, Tribe Archipelago is well-known and loved for our moody LR presets and creative profiles. While, as we've discussed, the lighting, composition, and style of the image greatly lend to creating a moody image, choosing a preset that fits your vibe and your tones is key. A number of our presets serve the moody artist well and are ideal for moody wedding photography, emotive portraiture, editorial/fashion photography and landscapes, dramatic flat lays, or rich contrast food and product photography. “Moody” presets within our collection include: TERRAIN, WOLF PACK, LXC, and BASECAMP. Do some research on our website, check out our various photo Lookbooks, and find the right fit for you!
Lastly, check out our new creative profiles to create your own, distinct moody edit! Creative profiles can be thought of as a layer that can be applied on it’s own or “over top” of a preset, and controlled with an intensity slider that allows you to make an image as dramatic and contrasty as you desire! This slider allows for so much ease of flexibility and customization that we are confident you will not only find a beautiful fit for your style, but will have the option of developing something that is truly unique to your brand.