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Photographs That Set The Mood

Updated on July 8, 2014
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

"In street photography, it’s mostly about capturing gesture – along with great light and color. In landscape photography, things shift – there’s no “person of interest”, no gesture to catch our eye. So we need to try something different.

Landscape photographer Michael Frye suggests we try to capture the mood of the place."

"The term sense of place has been defined and used in many different ways by many different people. To some, it is a characteristic that some geographic places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people (not by the place itself). It is often used in relation to those characteristics that make a place special or unique, as well as to those that foster a sense of authentic human attachment and belonging. Others, such as geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, have pointed to senses of place that are not inherently "positive," such as fear. Some students and educators engage in "place-based education" in order to improve their "sense(s) of place," as well as to use various aspects of place as educational tools in general......Places said to have a strong "sense of place" have a strong identity and character that is deeply felt by local inhabitants and by many visitors. "Wikipedia

This photographic project as the title clearly shows is to photograph subjects that conveys the message to the viewer of a location and better if this location can elicit feelings as well.

We can go in different ways and try to establish a sense of place in regards to states of mind, feelings and other things but using a location to convey or rather to tell an audience where one is and how one might feel is much easier and also easier to photograph if you use a place to tie them together.

Your first point of focus will be to research locations that will clearly show where one person is; where your subject is located. You should include people in the shots but this is not crucial for the project to have an effect.

Keep in mind that you are not doing a calendar or travel type shoot. You can use basically any location that sends a message of location; country, city, town, in danger, relaxed, in love, happy or sad. These are just a few of the themes that you can apply to the the theme and still make the project work.

Concentrate of locations that have a "feeling", that can invoke a sense of geographical location or a sense of emotion. You may use locations that are bright and full of light or darker ones even those that show stormy weather. It does not matter so long as you have a clear idea of what sense of place it is that you want your photographs to display.

A good technique is to show and discuss these locations with others to gauge how they feel and if they too sens the same as you do.

The project itself is a combination of weather, travel, environmental and to a point, portrait photography all rolled up into one and this is what can make the project difficult to do but with a little practice and good research it can be accomplished.

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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source
CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

Once you take your shots be prepared to discuss them with others and prepared to retake the shots if they feel to tell the one looking at your images where the location is; a desolate place, a happy place etc or if the images fail in their attempt to convey a feeling.

You have to be your own worst critic at this point and evaluate a shot for its potential rather that because you like it.

There is nothing wrong with keeping shots that you like for whatever reason. But from a professional's point of view none will probably keep a photograph if it does not do what they intended to do, in other words the photograph must have a purpose. And they much less will submit these images to any publisher for the same reasons.

Whether your photographs are stark in their nature or richly colored they must be recognizable as an attempt to establish a commonality with the subject and the viewer; the viewer must be able to recognize what it is that you are trying to show.

If done correctly , these images are very good materials to submit to many publishers, calendar companies, greeting card companies and others, assuming off course that they are technically sound and pleasing to look at.

Do you think that capturing the mood is easy with landscapes?

See results

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thanks Lynn. Your to do list must be

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      I like this even for personal use even with strangers in it. I have long needed to step back and take the bigger picture. Its on my to-do list. lol!