Lens-Artists #248: Mood

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.

— Don McCullin

Many thanks to Sofia for her wonderful theme this week. She asks us to explore how we express moods in our photographs. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

Candid Moments

I recently spotted a bride-to-be and her friends in a candid moment on the Via del Corso. Rabbit ears are a popular accessory, but I’ve also see the bride wearing a crown and short veil.


The light (diffuse, direct, natural, artificial, etc.) and its location impacts the mood. This flower was lit by a beam of sunlight, highlighting its delicate and fragile beauty. And the mood? For me? Awe and wonder.

The Weather

An overcast sky can be a good ally. The changeable skies over Florence this spring create great opportunities to capture moody scenes–like this view from a friend’s rooftoop.


I am often drawn to art that expresses a mood. Here are two examples: A cheerful cherub brightened up the walls of the garden at Villa La Pietra, near Florence. In the second image shot in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, I love how Bernini captured the determination on David’s face as he prepared to face Goliath. You can see him getting ready to “fire” a rock at the monster.

Post Processing

And now for my final method….I love how Nik filters give me a chance to highten the drama of a scene–like this ancient door on a side street in Florence. The shift from color to black and white changes the mood to something sinister or gloomy.

Creating a mood in photography is very much a work-in-progress for me. It’s subjective on both ends–what mood I think I’m capturing or creating–and what mood registers with the viewer. I’ll see what happens with practice. In any event, it’s fun exploring the range of moods and how to best evoke them. To join Sofia’s challenge this week, be sure to stop by her beautiful Photographias site for her marvelous post and inspiration. In your post, include the “lens-artists” tag and link to her post.

Ann-Christine’s Backlit challenge last week inspired many of us to explore this type of photography more often. Your photos opened my eyes to a wide range of possibilities. Next week, it’s John’s turn to lead us so be sure to stop by Journeys with Johnbo next Saturday at noon EST for his inspiration.

In the meantime, I’m hoping that your week is filled with plenty of light and creative inspiration.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

49 replies »

    • Hi Margaret. Thanks! It’s a challenge I think to convey what we’re feeling as photographers. But like everything it takes practice, I’m sure. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I also like the door and flower. You gave clear examples of creating and feeling mood in photography, both verbally and with your choice of photos. I’d never heard of the rabbit ears thing and I still find it…let’s just say “interesting.” 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Terrific exploration of the topic Patti – loved your perspective on the statue of David which I’d not seen before. You’re right, the face is incredibly expressive. Also loved your B&W – is that a face painted on the lower right corner or is it just crumbling that LOOKS like a face?!?!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tina. It is a face drawn on the bottom right of the door. 🙂 🙂 That’s what caught my eye! A bit mysterious, don’t you think? I’m so glad you enjoyed Bernini’s David. It’s fascinating that Michelangelo captured David after he defeated Goliath and Bernini focused on the “before.” Interesting how these geniuses approached it. I’ll stop by your site, too. I’m just starting my reading after that crazy first week! Hope you have a beautiful, sunny week ahead.


  3. What an interesting response to the topic Patti! I love that opening quote from Don McCullin, perfect for this theme. Your flower photo is stunning and I love the edit on the old door. I was also taken by your point about the two-way subjectiveness of mood in a photo. I wonder how often we think we’re invoking one mood while our viewers see something very different?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sarah. I’m glad you like my point about the subjectiveness. Mood is hard to define sometimes and harder to agree upon! I wonder the same thing about the creator’s indended “mood” and a variety of responses from the viewers. I’m sure there are always surprises! Thanks as always for your thoughtful replies!! Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great interpretation of the theme. You can’t look at the cherub without smiling and David’s face shows determination. While the clouds case gloom, the non-bright roof tops seem to cheer me up. Isn’t it all subjective?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Anne! I’m delighted to hear that. Yes, it is subjective…both from the artist’s point of view and the viewer’s. I am always sure that no two people will have the exact same reaction! Now I’m wondering what moods you focused on!


  5. Wonderful post, Patti. You’re absolutely right, it is a two-way street and I was left very emotional with your flower photo; it is beautiful and it reminds me of the flowers we had in my grandparents garden, I still have the sweet scent in my memories. I have tried to find them but no luck so far. Bernini was a master, without a doubt. I’m glad you had one of his works to share with us, remarkable what he could do with marble. And I love the door…!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sofia. Oh, I’m so happy it reminded you of your grandparents’ garden. Now I’ll be searching for the name of the flower, too! And yes, Bernini was a genius. I love how he focused on the “before” and Michelangelo sculpted David “after” the fight. Fascinating how geniuses created these incredible works of art. And that door…a bit mysterious and spooky?? I had fun with this theme, Sofia. Great inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are right. The mood we capture and the mood that registers, might be two different things. I found myself questioning a few of my photos for that exact reason.

    Before I read your post, I tried to guess what or where you might take us with this theme. I love your work, as you know, and I was happy to see the moody photo of Florence. The city itself is full of any mood you could think up. The girls with the bunny ears was fantastic, and the expression on David’s face is such a work of art. The bite of the lip, the fierce look in the eyes, and the muscles…determination is what comes to mind for me. The last photo is what took me back for a few looks. I guess in color it would be an “ancient door”. In black and white it does become quite sinister, especially with the face of the man at the bottom. Very nice, Patti.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so helpful to hear your thoughts on each of the photos. It’s clear how some images (David) have a “predictable” reaction, but others like the door may have a variety of responses…Oh the moody Florence one…I love that view no matter how many times I see it! Your support is wonderful, Donna! I really appreciate and value it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A wonderful exploration here. I didn’t know about the rabbit ears, so thanks for that cultural insight. Beautiful close up of David’s face. And another great low-key shot of Firenze.


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