How to Create Beautifully Moody Landscape Photos
Image Credit: franckreporter via iStock
Landscape photos are a dime a dozen, so to make your images stand out from the crowd, you need to find ways to make them special and unique.
One way you can do that is to enhance the mood of your images.
You can do this in a variety of different ways - each as effective as the next.
Let's have a look at a few landscape photography tips that will get you beautifully moody landscape photos.
Add People to Your Landscape Photo
Photo by Aaron Ang on Unsplash
Not only does adding people to a landscape photograph instantly add a strong focal point, but it also helps you tell a more defined story about what's going on in the image.
That storytelling power can help you create a moodiness in the shot that might otherwise be less salient if the photo is of just the landscape.
For example, in the image above, the man becomes a focal point of the shot because of his placement in the foreground.
His gaze to the distant mountains as he pauses from reading his book gives this image a pensive vibe and begs the question, "What is the man thinking about?"
Photo by Jonathon Reed on Unsplash
But adding people to landscapes doesn't have to take the form of them being front-and-center in the shot to create mood.
In the photo above, the man is much smaller in the frame, yet our eyes are immediately drawn to him.
Unlike the first example, this photo has a much different mood - one with a sense of excitement and perhaps even danger.
In this case, the importance of the man to create that mood cannot be understated. Though the view from this vantage point is spectacular, you wouldn't get the same feeling from the shot if the man wasn't near the edge of the cliff.
Use a Circular Polarizing Filter
Image Credit: loeskieboom via iStock
By far, one of the most important landscape photography accessories you can own is a good circular polarizing filter.
These filters provide too many benefits not to have one in your bag!
In addition to reducing atmospheric haze so distant objects in the shot appear clearer, circular polarizing filters also minimize glare off of water and other non-metallic surfaces.
That means that your landscape photos will be more crisp and have fewer distractions from reflective light, which allows viewers to concentrate more on the subject matter and the mood.
Image Credit: borchee via iStock
Circular polarizing filters also enhance the contrast in the sky, making the white clouds pop on a background of a darker, deeper blue sky.
Naturally, this is an advantage when you want to create a landscape photo with a bright, cheery mood, like the one shown above.
Filters can be used to create different kinds of moods, too.
For example, by adding a neutral density filter to your lens, you can extend the shutter speed and create a long exposure landscape photo that has tons of mood and drama. Learn more about the best lens for landscape photography on our website PhotographyTalk.com.
Just be careful when buying lens filters because cheap, poorly-made filters will hurt - not help - your images.
You don't have to spend a ton of money to get quality, either. Kenko circular polarizing filters are a prime example of that.
Starting at less than $15, these filters are budget-friendly without sacrificing quality.
As the #1-selling filter in Japan, they're backed by tens of thousands of customers that achieve the look they want with polished optical glass that resists dust, water, and oils from skin.
What's more, these filters have a SLIM ring that minimizes vignetting, even when using a wide-angle lens.
In other words, you can create gorgeously moody shots without breaking the bank with a Kenko circular polarizer!
Editor's Tip: Get Kenko’s latest updates and access to promos for discounted gear. Click here to sign up.
Add or Enhance Mood in Post-Processing
A final way to add mood to your landscape photos is to go a little dark in post-processing.
By reducing the exposure and enhancing blue and green tones, you can get jaw-droppingly beautiful shots with tons of mood.
What's more, if you desaturate the image a little bit to dampen the color contrast, you can accentuate the feeling in the shot.
There's actually a variety of things you can do to enhance this type of mood in your landscape photos...
In the video above, Mark Denney offers his tips for doing so.
Have a look at the video, consider the other tips outlined earlier, and start creating some awesomely moody landscape photos!