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