How to Set the Mood in Landscape Photography

Every great photo has a feeling to it—a mood. It could be romantic, like the slow, shallow waves on the ocean shore at sunset, or calm, like a boat resting against a dock in the morning mist coming off a lake. Sometimes, you have an idea of the mood you want to achieve in a landscape shot, but the final image doesn’t have the feel you were going for. The right mood isn’t something that just happens; you have to have patience and persistence. Renowned landscape photographer, Clyde Butcher takes us into the Florida Everglades to show us how he captures mood:

Mood Makes All the Difference in a Great Photograph

Too often, photographers don’t think about mood when taking a photo. They’re focused on an element—like a tree or mountain peak—but don’t think about creating a feeling. But, how do you create a feeling?

foggy photo creates mood

“What makes a great photograph is these little subtle things you do that nobody understands why you’re doing them. They don’t understand why they like the picture.”

Capturing a natural setting covered in fog, for example, changes that scene dramatically. But, it goes beyond just waiting for the right weather conditions. Butcher explains that changing the level of your camera can create mood. It’s important to understand the camera angle and how it can change everything.

low camera angle photo

If you want to show the expanse of the landscape, get up high; if you want the image to feel like you’re in the foreground, in the scene, with the background way in the back, then get down low.

landscape foreground photo

Getting the right mood takes time. You hear it all the time—and Butcher agrees—great photography takes patience and persistence. Think about your shot, the mood you want to portray, and take the steps to get that. You might have to wait hours, days, even weeks sometimes to get the right mood, but don’t give up, it’ll be worth it.

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