Moody Photography Shoot with Jess Melia
Updated: Apr 9
I recently shot with the amazing model, Jess Melia, on our second shoot together. The last time we did a photoshoot, it was a colourful shoot. The complete opposite of a moody photoshoot, the vibe we were looking to achieve this time round.
In this blog I will first outline what moody photography is, what exactly makes a photograph 'moody' and how you can achieve this look yourself. Then, I will detail the inspiration for the shoot, as well as how I shot it and the lighting that was used.
So, what is Moody Photography?
A moody photo is one which utilises light, composition techniques and the subject to create an image that generates an emotional response from the viewer. Alternatively,
The Inspiration Behind These Dark Portraits
Simply put, these images were inspired by the most recent Batman film. I went to the cinema as soon as it came out and absolutely loved it. The casting was perfect, the music matched the visuals perfectly and, of course, the cinematography was stunning.
As you can see from the image of Zoe Kravitz above, many of the visual elements of this film created a perfect moody backdrop. The colours, dim lighting mixed with the atmospheric electronic music was so satisfying to experience.
I remember getting into the car after watching this film at the cinema. I sat in the back of the car as my dad drove us home and I got up the Pinterest app straight away. I had all of these ideas brimming within me that I was just dying to get into a mood board.
Dark and moody lighting is the key to mastering mood photography. It’s dim, directional, and contrasty.
As I demonstrated in these images, window light is a great and easily accessible source achieve this type of lighting. There are some variables to the window you use that influence the light you get. The size of your window and its position relative to your model affect the lighting of the image. Smaller windows (and light sources in general) will produce more contrasting light, while larger windows and light sources will be less contrasty.
To add more light and create a punchier look, I used a continuous light too. If it was a brighter day, I may not have needed this additional lighting. The continuous light helped to lift the shadows from the models face but also add further contrast and depth.