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Mood Boards: Visual Inspiration And Aesthetic Direction Guides





A mood board is a creative document that can charter the life, inspiration, and aesthetic direction of a creative project. The mood board is usually centered around a single image, item of inspiration, or aspect of the project. This could be a found image, a photo that has the editing style you want to achieve, a color palette, or even an item that has just sparked the creative juices in you. Any way its sliced, it should be an integral part of the final image, and will be referenced as such.


Creative documents that chronicle the direction and concept of photoshoots are not uncommon in the professional design and photography world. It’s good practice to document your work’s inspiration so that it can be easily communicated to other creatives that you work with as well as recreated in the future.

A mood board that exhibits the concept of visible backdrops in photographs

Above: A mood board designed in Adobe Photoshop that reflects the concept of visible backdrops in photography

The purpose of all creative documents is to show the progression of ideas, aesthetics, and life of a project. Many times in the creative industry ideas and aesthetics are what drive a project but can only be judged once in their final created form. So creatives use mood boards, stylescapes, wire frames, and story boards (to name a few common tools) in order to communicate and refine their ideas before the final products are actually produced.

A mood board created on pinterest

Above: A mood board made on Pinterest.com

This is very cost effective in the creative community because clients want the project done right, and creatives want to deliver the best end result possible, in one try. So the mood board can function as a guide for marrying both the image creator’s and client’s vision together in a way that provides confidence and trust. This is super important because the livings and earnings of all creatives banks on this trust happening.

The creation of your first board can be fun but it can also be difficult.

Get your mood boarding on the fast track to awesomeness:


– Pick an image or inspirational item whose elements you want to stay true to in your final piece

– Find multiple additional images that have elements of your final vision

– Image placement and crop can highlight or downplay the importance of an image or item so be strategic in your design choices when actually crafting your board, however that may be

– Don’t be afraid to make your mood board totally yours. Add flair, add 3-D objects, use collage skills to refine your elements and bring them together harmoniously

– When you are done, take a step back and ask yourself if your board is in line with your creative goals, if it is supportive or contradictory. Yes? AWESOME! No? Keep at it! Swap items, adjust the gestalt of your board, down or up play certain aspects you want to stand out. You are 90% of the way there!


two creatives discussing a moodboard


Now What?


Ok, so now you have a mood board that you are happy with. Radical. Now live with it for a while. Use it as a tool for yourself first and foremost, to check in on the direction of your shoot. Bounce ideas off of yourself to refine your creative approach, come up with new ideas, and develop your reasoning for why these elements work together. This is a two sided reward, you refine your work and the idea refines you as a creator. Also show it to others and get their opinion (if you’re brave enough, which you are).

A huge part of creative documents is making them shareable. Being able to use them as a means to communicate your creative vision to others is an invaluable skill and will most definitely set you apart amongst photographers and designers alike

Super inspired to make a mood board? Share them with us on Facebook and instagram with the #fitbstudio and #fitbmoodboard tags and you could be featured!

Thanks so much for keeping with with Fill In The Blank and keep up the amazing photo work!