Cap­tur­ing and en­hanc­ing the mood of a land­scape will help your pictures stand out from the crowd

NPhoto - - Feature -

Ul­ti­mately, the best pho­to­graphs are not just in­ter­est­ing, or even beau­ti­ful – they are deeper than that, cap­tur­ing a mood or feel­ing. The best pho­to­graphs evoke a re­ac­tion in the viewer. Ansel Adams felt that the pho­tog­ra­pher had to re­spond to a sub­ject be­fore the viewer could: “I have made thou­sands of pho­to­graphs of the nat­u­ral scene, but only those vi­su­al­i­sa­tions that were most in­tensely felt at the mo­ment of ex­po­sure have sur­vived the in­evitable win­now­ing of time.”

Adams’ unique abil­ity to cap­ture the grandeur and mood of the Amer­i­can land­scape ce­mented his place in pho­to­graphic his­tory, and in the hearts of mil­lions of view­ers. His best images con­vey the mon­u­men­tal qual­ity of moun­tains or deserts, but also cap­ture the feel­ing of a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment when the light, clouds, and weather were just so.

To in­fuse your own pho­to­graphs with mood, you must pay as much at­ten­tion to light and weather as Adams did, and use ev­ery pos­si­ble vis­ual tool – line, shape, pat­tern, tone, colour, move­ment, ex­po­sure, and depth of field – to em­pha­sise the feel­ing you’re try­ing to con­vey.

Tone Dark tones sug­gest som­bre moods, as in this im­age of Bri­dalveil Fall.


Stud­ies have shown that colour can have a pow­er­ful ef­fect on a per­son’s mood. In­te­rior de­sign­ers cre­ate peace­ful, serene rooms with blues and greens. Ad­ver­tis­ers use red to grab your at­ten­tion. Black can con­vey power, sex­u­al­ity, el­e­gance, or mys­tery.

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