How to Shoot Moody Photos Indoors

Words and Images by Bryle Eusebio

Images by Paola Faith Simon

A mother holding her newborn.

A man smoking under the lamppost during the night.

A rusting broken bicycle.

Each day, we see hundreds of pictures on social media that make us feel awe. The idea of being able to harness a specific mood from the viewers without uttering a single word is one of the reasons why I love photography so much.

If you are a beginner and wanna try taking dramatic photos using just your camera, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that I’ve learned when taking moody photos inside the comfort of home.

Familiarize yourself with composition basics

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Understanding the right positioning of your subjects as well as the proper amount of light entering your lens will make your images stand out from the rest. Notice how the subject is off-center? This technique allows your eyes to linger and notice the background details of the photo.

Utilize the unidirectional light sources

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Take advantage of natural light coming in through windows and doors. When in a dark room, placing your subject near these sources would allow light to properly interact with them, resulting in great contrasts and shadows in your photos. You can also easily manage the lighting properly by gently opening your doors and windows.

Slight underexposure is key

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In layman’s terms, underexposing is when you don’t allow enough light to enter the camera. The use of this technique allows you to have more wiggle room when post-processing your images. Overexposed images are more difficult to manipulate since most of the picture’s details can be affected by the excess light.

Black and White Effect

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A black and white effect is a powerful tool that you can use to drastically enhance the mood of your photos. I use black and white when emphasizing contrasts in textures. When looking at the image above, the smoothness of the petals is properly juxtaposed with the roughness of the curtain resulting in a captivating image. This type of post-processing technique can be achieved by using editing apps and software, which are mostly free nowadays.

Connect with your audience

Moody Portrait

Remember that people who will take a look at your photos already have tons of stories in their heads. All you have to do is make them remember.

Subjects that show powerful emotions, feeling of loneliness, and expressions of passion are easier to connect with. So, always keep your audience in mind when closing the shutter.

I encourage you to try these tips in your next homemade shoots. Have your own techniques? Let us know in the comments!