What Is a Mood Board in General
A “mood board” is a tool that helps me to outline/capture my initial production ideas in the creative phase. The board grows organically with every flash of inspiration during the shooting preparations and it is mainly used for communication purposes with the team later on, ergo the makeup & hair artist, stylist and the model.
The board is my general collection of inspiration. But in the further advanced pre-production phase it turns into a “collection of/for decisions”.
What does a Mood Board for Me?
I am using mood boards in an enhanced mode. Actually, I don’t use the mood board just for my ideas of makeup, hair, type of model, styling and accessories. No! Most of the time, I am also merging my location thoughts and light setting drafts into it.
In my opinion, this all belongs together: a set has to be coherent, transport a theme/message, a style era or atmosphere.
This includes the proper model type, choice of colors, certain accessories and props, outfit ideas that are already linked to the right type of location and ideas regarding light characertistics (hard, soft, big volume, limited, natural, mixed, etc.).
Especially for this production that left us with a very small amount of shooting time and with a budget that was more than limited, everything had to be prepared very carefully before the first critical steps could be approached at all.
My Old Fashioned Tech Approach
I’m an old fashioned mood board creator 🙂
I have to keep my eyes on all things and if possible at all of them at the same time. I have to be able to let my view wander about, jump back and forth in my thoughts or sometimes simply pause and take in the current overall picture.
Therefore, I am using the good old technique of pinning/sticking all ideas, emotions and the like onto a huge wall (or paper).
Of course this is not very practical when we are getting together in our team meeting; and it is not digital at all. If necessary, I then go ahead and take photos of the various sections to be sent via mail. Needless to say, that this is also not very practical for cataloging purposes.
In those cases I am making use of the photos that I have taken of every concept and board.
Well, I am a person who thinks visually. I guess this is the reason why I became a photographer after all 😉
Granted, nowadays there are apps for all sorts of electronic devices. Evernote is supposed to be pretty good, so is Adobe Collage. The technical implementation of your ideas is fully up to you. Most important is what you put on the board to fill it.
What Do I Generally Collect On My Mood Boards?
Not only the collected variety but also the clear decisions resulting from it in the end are the alpha and omega of every good mood board, a requirement for a flawless production.
My work on mood boards always starts once the decision about the basic production parameters has been made.
The cornerstones of each production determine, for example, the shooting style (Glam, Nude, Sensual, Boudoir/Lingerie etc.), studio or ‘on location’, amount of sets to be realized and – last but not least – the available budget (!).
Where Do I Get My Dose Of Inspiration From?
The fastest and most convenient way for me is to research topics and moods on Pinterest.
Being an infinite “mood board” in and of itself, the platform is filled with an incredible amount of visual appetizers for my type of photography.
Here the mood boards I follow on Pinterest. List is in no particular order. Board name & link:
- Fashion Photography: http://www.pinterest.com/oliviamartin18/fashion-photography/
- Shoot ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/elmariackermann/shoot-ideas/
- l’Accessoire & l’Intimes: http://www.pinterest.com/mylabyrinth/l-accessoire-l-intimes/
- Bare.ly Noticed: http://www.pinterest.com/brwaine/barely-noticed/
- Undies N’ Such: http://www.pinterest.com/hilary439/undies-n-such/
- But style is forever: http://www.pinterest.com/ChelseaSchroe/but-style-is-forever/
- Tights: http://www.pinterest.com/danathings/tights/
- Skivies: http://www.pinterest.com/juliannarenee/skivies/
- Not Too Much. Not Too Little. (Boudoir): http://www.pinterest.com/groovylens/not-too-much-not-too-little-boudoir/
- Sexy photos: http://www.pinterest.com/kaitlynwoods88/sexy-photos/
- B&W Portrait: http://www.pinterest.com/ashrafsuleiman/b-w-portrait/
- Modelicious: http://www.pinterest.com/saraivelys/modelicious/
- Sensuality: http://www.pinterest.com/edytakonarzewsk/sensuality/
- Photography: http://www.pinterest.com/madimalso/photography/
- Photography W&B: http://www.pinterest.com/d4u8/photography-wb/
- Artists Workspaces: http://www.pinterest.com/gregorio08/artists-workspaces/
- Femininity: http://www.pinterest.com/patriicijap/feminity/
- WOMAN and FEMINITY: http://www.pinterest.com/nogaavital/woman-and-feminity/
- Beautiful dresses: http://www.pinterest.com/journalistlisah/beautiful-dresses/
- Sensual beauty: https://www.pinterest.com/sweetmclady/sensual-beauty-stunning-sophisticated-classy-class/
Another one of my favorites in the digital world is the website of Pantone (“Celebrate the Color”) that I visit twice a year.
They have set up a great marketing instrument (“Pantone Color Forecasts”) for themselves but also provide true value with reports called “Fashion Color Report Spring/Autumn”.
And they even announce a “Color of the Year”.
Their reports show and recommend the colors in fashion for a certain period.
It’s not that I directly convert the things suggested there but it is always nice to be inspired and let yourself be guided by color combinations.
As a third medium, I am using the offline world – since I am old fashioned after all. Most of the time, this means magazines like Vogue, Playboy, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, FHM, architectural journals etc.
It is not only about the photographs but rather the incorporation of design, cropping etc. I can usually find a ton of single images online. But the complete emotion of a great “story” is always connected to a layout.
On a side note: I am not only interested in current issues but I also browse up to 30 years back in time!
Everything repeats after all 🙂
Last But Not Least: The Team’s Involvement
Do not forget about the team!
As a photographer, it is a good and helpful thing to follow your own thoughts, collect ideas and pursue certain styles.
But at all times, the last (logical) step is to discuss this input with the team.
With bigger productions the final mood board and the decisions taken are definitely based on a team effort!
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