The hunt for mood in photography - Dreamstime

Hi everyone,

This is my first blog. I have been unable to do one up until now, but I am excited to join the Dreamstime community. I have been a photographer with Dreamstime now since August last year and I am continually inspired by the amazing photography uploaded to this site and the high standard of work.

For sometime now I have been conflicted over what is the most important in photography, the technical aspect, composition or mood. This seems to be a common question and debate amongst photographers, but I have come to my own personal conclusion after 2 years of some good , bad, great and disasterous results , I truly believe that mood is , in my humble opinion, the most important aspect of a photo. Yes, even stock photography.

I have seen many, many 'technically perfect' composed photos that have left me cold and then seen photographs that may break some of the golden rules but the mood captured in the shot is just magical.

Isn't that what photography really should be all about in the end anyway. A photo that moves a viewer in some way, weather it be awe, laughter, tears or interest. With that in mind I am making my focus (excuse the pun) on creating photographs with mood in mind. Of course lighting plays a huge role in capturing mood but with a little effort you can supply this light if it is not available naturally.

So my hunt is now on to hone my craft and ability to try and tell a story or move a viewer with even the most mundane subject. Even a teapot can tell a story if it is photographed well!

If any of you more experience photographers, who feel the same way as I do, could pass on some valuable hints on gaining more mood and tips wth lighting to give great results in this area, I would be so appreciative. I am also happy to pass on any enlightment or bright ideas that I come across in my pursuit of capturing mood.

Again, I am so glad to be a part of this wonderful community of superb artists and photographers and I look forward to communicating and interacting more with everyone.



Photo credits: Alptraum, Brett Critchley, ChelseaSuzanne, Lifeontheside.

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February 06, 2013


Thanks for all your comments, I found them very interesting. I still believe though, that it is important to create a photograph with as much mood as possible , in even the must mundane, everyday subjects. The mood does not have to be dark or soul stirring but with a little effort by adding some props such as fresh raspberries behind a jar of raspberry jam for instance, you can make that photograph so much more appealing and gives a mood of fresh,organic and tempting immediately. I do agree, that stock photography needs all types but it is interesting when you do a simple exercise such as doing a search for anything you want, people, animals, dog, cat, jam,bread,food,cake,handbag etc, that when you do a search with 'newly uploaded' and then change the search for the same thing with 'best sellling' it changes dramatically. You will see alot of 'mood' photos high up there in the first rows under best selling , where the photographers have taken more time with lighting and props to present the item or subject in the most appealing and creative way possible. Just my thoughts though and I believe , as has already been pointed out, that there is definately a need for both.
I just love creating I suppose and for me personally, it is worth the extra effort just for my own satisfaction of the finished photograph. I also believe that it helps to improve ones photography skills immensely.
Thanks all again for your wonderful and very interesting comments and also your warm welcomes .

February 02, 2013


Hi, Suzie! Thank you for Your interesting post! I´m just trying to figure out, what is most important for successful microstock photography. But I kind of agree with Jackbluee, that it´s good to have in portfolio both kind of images - photographs with mood (and yours are really great), and also subjects, which are "ingredients" for designers to create their own art. But actually I am pleasently surprised, that my sales till know are images, which I didn´t took purposely for microstock, but just because I liked the subject.

February 02, 2013


Dear Suzie, welcome aboard! Congratulations with the nice blog! By the way, the absence of mood, depression is not well covered subject in stock. Take this chance & let us to see your vision of those conditions. Good luck & have a lot of sales!

February 01, 2013


welcome suzie! I totally agree with you, I was a portrait photographer for many years and the ones that sold the best were the ones that captured the essence of the person or told a story. to this day my favorite photos are the ones where people are NOT looking at the camera. keep up the good work and welcome to DT

February 01, 2013


Hi Suzie!DT is a wonderful community of stock photography!Ultimately, selling stock photography is art.Another art.Yes,you're right!Lighting and mood are very important,but not only....I like your portofolio! Beautiful images!

February 01, 2013


Hi Suzi and glad to see you on here finally :)

I agree that mood can play an important part in a great shot. The editors choice section is a great place to see some very moody, well created shots. Not always the biggest of sellers but a great gallery to keep an eye on Dreamstime's best shots. I'm lucky enough to have a shot going in there anytime soon ( as soon as the database catches up ), but it's somewhere I keep an eye on for inspiration and to remind me how much further my photography needs to go to be good :)

Love your port and I hope we can see lots more of you and your work around here now your up and running on the boards :)


p.s thanks for using one of my shots in your blog :)

February 01, 2013


Hi Suzie!
Your absolutely right. Lightning and mood are really essential!
Actually I am more imagebuyer than contributor... It happends almost every week that I am looking thru thousands of images to illustrate something, wich really can be anything. Both in commercial, editorial and non-profit it´s common to illustrate an idea or a feeling. And when comparing images it´s not always the technical perfect that will work. I also disagree with the inspectors sometimes when rejected ;-) Why? It´s very common for me to use copyspace or combine several images together...
Finally, I really love your cats! Nice portfolio :-)

February 01, 2013


I think some people buy "mood", some people buy "objects". Stock photography should include the varieties. One image could be "bored" but useful. One image could be very "moody" /interesting, but might take even longer to sell. Sometimes we should follow the "golden rules", sometimes we break them. It all depends.

I just take what I consider beautiful. I never thought about the rules or mood. I just trust my eyes. Some of my images are "bored" but they are good sellers. But I enjoyed taking all of them! That is the most important.

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