What Is A Mood Board And Why You Need One


A mood board is a powerful tool used to communicate specific details about a project and helps a team working together to preview the end result and have a more meaningful vision in the planning process.


Creating a mood board should be done quickly, without dwelling too much on finding an image or idea that matches perfectly to the concept because that’s why we are creating the work in the first place. Basic visual information grouped together in one place helps me communicate with the team I’m working with for a broad first impression on style, location, and feeling of the finished work. The goal is not to copy another’s work, but to sometimes use it as a tool for inspiration.

Ideally, the mood board should convey three essential elements: a color pallet, a location or background setting, and a mood.

Below are four mood boards that I’ve put together for concepts in the fashion editorial and product photography genres.* I will outline the three essentials (color, background, and mood) for each concept so you can see how a mood board can communicate ideas.

Moroccan Femme

Color: ivory, cream, fuchsia, organic greenery

Background: moroccan inspired boutique hotel with water element

Mood: easy going and relaxed, luxury vacation

Handbag Humanity

Color: contrasting jewel tones of pinks, greens, variety of skin tones

Background: in studio, human skin element

Mood: refined, elegant, fashion forward

Sunshine Babe

Color: orange, yellow, green, blue

Background: mid-century modern private residence with water element

Mood: light, serene, almost happy

West World Lady

Color: ivory, mahogany, camel, black

Background: outdoor location, prairie land, empty farmhouse

Mood: moody, dark, shadow, hard emotion


Additional Notes

Creating a mood board should be an exciting and inspiring process, I have found that putting too much thought or trying to fit more than these basic three elements (color, background, mood) can easily derail the vision for the resulting finished work. If a project has a broader scope than these simple concepts outlined above, then I would suggest additional mood boards for each scene that the project calls for. I love to see a complete and cohesive story come together!


Do you have a product, or an entire project that needs a photographer with an eye for creative direction? I am a fountain of ideas. Reach out to me, I would love to work with you!

*images used in these mood boards are not mine, and are borrowed from my secret Pinterest boards. Follow me on Pinterest for continuing inspiration.