Controlling Mood and Emotion in an Image

When it comes to photography, the very best images will always convey a certain mood or emotion. By using a particular light, or type of light, we, as photographers, can control the mood and feel of an image by making adjustments to things like the direction, position, hardness or softness and even temperature of the light.

In this course you’ll learn how you can create two very different images by completely changing the look and feel of an image, even if it’s the exact same subject and composition.

Shooting an overhead shot of an eyewear designers desk, Karl first demonstrates how to create clean, bright lighting, similar to what you’d expect in an office. He then creates a far more evocative lighting setup, recreating the light you’d expect to see with early morning or late afternoon sunlight streaming through a window.

These two comparisons clearly demonstrate why light and mood are so important in photography and how, by using the right modifiers, you can create almost any look.


  1. Karl, when you talk about Inverse square law you often say that the closer the light the bigger it is and thus softer when dealing with modifiers. How does a bare bulb far back affect the “softness” of light? Thanks

    1. Hi Dill, size is relative to the subject so a bare bulb light when put close to an ant is a soft light if photographing an ant. In nearly most other cases it is a hard light with strong shadows because we are not usually photographing ants. A bare bulb light further away in the studio will be a harder light but if your studio is white there will be more bounce of light making the hard edge shadows look lighter. Please see this class if you haven’t already:

  2. Wow, one of your most beautiful shots I’ve seen so far, yet so different in style to what you usually do. Truly a master!

    1. Very kind thank you, although for me this isn’t one of my favourite shots. I have a few probably other product shots or some of my fashion ones.

  3. I like these kind of tutorials. They give me different ideas. I’d like to recreate by changing the impression it’s raining outside. Can’t hurt to try. Thank you…

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