How To Make A Mood Board For Your Next Photoshoot

Photo by Andy Art on Unsplash

Creating a visual array of ideas and inspiration is a great way to prepare for a photoshoot. In fact, all types of creative projects utilize an accumulation of words, images and even videos that shape and define their vision. We call this creative composition a mood board.

Creating mood boards can be an effective way to lay out your concept and work to develop the creative intention for your shoot. Each mood board is different, with no two looking the same. So, they should be developed with your own personal eye and style in mind.

If you are wondering how to make a mood board, we’re here to help you out. Here are three steps to creating the best visual representation of your creativity for your next photoshoot. 

Have An Idea In Mind

When creating a mood board, you should first think about the overall idea and concept of your photoshoot. This includes style, location, type of clothing and more.

Are you shooting a vintage editorial, streetwear feature or swim look book?

Do you want the images to feel commercial, have a lifestyle aspect or more abstract?

Will this photoshoot take place in a studio, outside, during the day or at night?

These are all questions that will build a cohesive idea that you can work from during your shoot. This will give you concrete details that can shape your inspiration. And, you will use this idea to find elements that give examples of the direction for your photoshoot. 

So, once you have determined your overall idea for the shoot, then you can start to build your mood board.

Source and Pull Photos From Various Sources

Next, to make your mood board, you will need to source and pull photographs from various sources that align with the idea you have created.

For example, you can save images that inspire you from sources such as:

  • Collecting images using the “Save” Feature on Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Your Favorite Websites / Blogs

But, you don’t need to limit your mood board to a set of images that exemplify your overall direction and vision. You can branch out to include words, examples of editorial design, moving images and video clips.

Your mood board is meant to be an accumulation of artistic elements that comes together to represent your creative idea and showcases elements for inspiration.

You should never create a mood board with the intention of copying another artist’s idea. You should make sure that your board is used as a reference for ideas, emotions and overall aesthetic of what you would like to create.

So, use your personal board as a starting point and build upon it with you own unique spin and vision.

Put the Images Together in a Cohesive Way to Showcase Your Idea

Photo by Mr TT on Unsplash

Finally, after you have pulled the images, words and videos for your board – it is time to place them together.

We make mood boards to align and design our ideas. Therefore, you should place your images together in a cohesive way to express the overall purpose of your project. 

There are several ways to design a mood board based either on your computer or smartphone.

Programs to Design your Mood Board

    • Make It Simple with a Document Program
      • You can use Microsoft Word, Pages or even the online graphic design tool, Canva, to design your mood board. Just take the images you have saved, drop them into the document and arrange in a way that helps you visualize each aspect.
    • Use Your Creative Skills in Photoshop or Indesign
      • If you’re extra creative, you can use Photoshop or InDesign to design the mood board. This can take a bit more time, but allows unlimited possibilities of how to arrange each element. So, it can be a great tool if you are creating a mood board that needs to be eye catching and professional for you and your team.
    • Download an application for your smartphone
      • You can also download an application for your smartphone to arrange collages of your images into a mood board. Two applications that have a simple, clean interface and are user friendly include – Jux and Niice.

Once your mood board is completely designed, you are ready to use it for your photoshoot. The mood board is a great resource for you to send to your team during the planning stages, consult with during your shooting and show to your subject, so that they understand the vision you have in mind.

So, to make your next mood board – craft a captivating idea, source images and artistic elements from your favorite sources and compile them together to create a cohesive visual array.