Mood Boards Can Help Develop Your Own Photographic Style

Mood boards can be a big help as you become more interested in photography and begin taking the necessary steps to improve your craft. One step is to seek out the advice of more experienced photographers to help you out. This is a great way to learn proven methods and techniques that are essential to becoming a better photographer. Another way is to access our list of 101 free Photography tutorials.

Mood Boards
Photo by Andrés Nieto Porras

However, one thing may be more difficult to execute than learning how to navigate the DSLR menu or understanding how light affects your image. This elusive assignment is developing your own personal style. If you look through the portfolios of some of the most popular photographers, you’ll notice how they all have one thing in common: a personal style.

Since personal style is somewhat more abstract than learning a technical skill, it can be very hard to teach to someone else. There are, however, a few pointers to help you get started.

Creating  Mood Boards

mood boards
Photo By Pedro Alves

One of the easiest ways to recognize your own personal style and begin to foster and cultivate it into beautiful works of photographic art is by exploring the things around you. For this, I like to keep mood boards. Mood boards aere a place to pin all the things that inspire you and are especially eye-catching. Pinterest works great for mood boards because you can make them public or private.

There are other options available for mood boards as well. ImageSpark, MoodStream, and even Evernote are other good options. Do a Google search to see what works best for you. Most find Pinterest their top choice because they are already using the platform and there’s less of a learning curve. You can check out our Pinterest boards here.

What To Put In Your Mood Boards

mood boards
Photo By Sarah Zucca

Once you know where you’re going to keep your mood boards, the next step is to start adding to them. I prefer to keep a few different boards going because I prefer organization. For example, I will have one board for landscape photos that inspire me, one for wildlife, one for portraits, etc.

But I don’t just stop at photography! I also have a couple boards for things I find inspiring outside of my camera hobby. For example, graphic design and architecture are two things I enjoy, so I keep boards for those as well.

mood boards
Photo: The White Planet by Fiona Beqiri

Your personal photographic style should reflect you as a person. Your personal style is both inside and outside of the hobbies you engage in.

On your mood boards, pin everything that inspires you from the photos you enjoy to the color palettes that call out to you, even the style of fashion you prefer. The point is to make a collection of the things that represent you.

Maintaining Your Mood Board

Once you’ve got a good collection going, take some time looking through the boards and weeding out things that you no longer enjoy, or perhaps have outgrown. Periodically take a step back and look at the collections as a bigger picture and see if you can recognize any common patterns.

mood boards
Photo by Jesús Alenda

Apply this information to your photography. Before you know it, you’ll have your own signature look on all the work you produce and your portfolio will begin to look like a cohesive collection instead of a series of unrelated images.