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Mood Board Tips

Lesson 10 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

10. Mood Board Tips

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is the importance of creating a mood board for engagement photography and the benefits it provides, such as visual communication, addressing expectations, and free marketing.


Q: Why is it important to create a mood board for engagement photography? A: Creating a mood board helps to visually communicate with clients, address expectations, and tailor the shoot to exceed those expectations.

Q: How does a mood board help in addressing concerns? A: By reviewing the images on the mood board, photographers can identify any concerns or discrepancies in the client's preferences and have a conversation to clarify stylistic choices or make necessary adjustments.

Q: What is the purpose of having clients pin images from another blog on their mood board? A: It allows photographers to stay aware of current trends and evolve their style, while also serving as free marketing as clients pin the images on Pinterest, resulting in increased exposure for the photographer's work.

Q: Should the mood board be used as a shot list? A: No, the mood board is not meant to be a shot list. Instead, it is used as a guide to capture the desired mood and feel of the shoot, rather than recreating specific poses or shots.

Q: Where should the client create the mood board? A: Clients should create the mood board on their own Pinterest account and then share the link with the photographer via email, allowing the photographer to view the mood board.

Q: What is the recommended size for watermarks on images? A: It is suggested to use small watermarks on images to ensure that they are easily shareable and to avoid discouraging others from sharing the images. Large watermarks may deter people from sharing the photographs.

Next Lesson: Posing Questions


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Mood Board Tips

So love your work, and adore your clients. And this goes into our expectations, how do we plan for shoots? We create a moodboard. There's five reasons that we create a moodboard. One, the moodboard is a visual communication tool. Okay, so, the reason why we realized that we needed to do this was because when we first started a studio and we had people come in, we said show us some pictures that you like. And they go okay, they show us a couple photographs and then we go out and do the shoot and then we come back and they're like, oh, you know what, I had different expectations. And we're like, that's weird, we even had you show us the pictures. And they go, oh yeah, I like the pose. Kinda like how we talked about earlier. I like the pose, I like this, I like that. But not what we interpreted as what they liked about the photo. So we need visual communication, but we ask them, and I'm gonna show you guys in a second, we ask them to actually write one word or one sentence about what they...

like about a photograph. What this does is it helps us to tailor expectations. If a client pins 10 images on their moodboard that are all beach photographs and they said they wanted a downtown shoot, well, there's an expectation there that we need to kinda fix, right? Hey, you guys pinned 10 beach photographs and you had a downtown shoot planned, should we change the location? Address concerns. That's that time where, okay, they pinned 20 images and not a single one are from your studio. They pinned this other guy. Okay, maybe it's time to have the conversation of hey, I just want to make sure, stylistically, do you like what we're doing? Or did you want something else? Making sure that, we'll get to this, we get to this quite a bit and most of the time, they'll pin other people's images because we don't have shots in that particular location. And they will clarify and say, oh, no, I just couldn't find a shot in that location on your blog. I say, oh, no problem, we'll go ahead and do that. I just want to make sure that, you know, the film, kind of dark vibe, we don't do that kind of stuff, so making sure you're on the same page. We set ourselves up so once we've addressed and tailored those expectations, we set ourselves up to exceed the expectations, and exceeding expectations comes from understanding it first and then that's gonna come from the technical side, once you get on the shoot, once you're working with them, and so forth. The other reason that we have them create a moodboard is it's free marketing. This is the last of the reasons, but we have all of our clients, we give them guidance, we say pick 10 to 20 images, we want 80% from our blog, and we actually want 20% or less from another blog. And the reason why is, my job is to always push forward the studio's style, and so part of that is making our shooters go out and do different things. So I want them to come in and say here's some other shots from other stuff that we really like too that we'd like to incorporate. This keeps us always moving and evolving and keeps us aware of the trends that are out there. But we have 80% from our blog. What does that 80% do? Well, they're using Pinterest to pin them all. So if you go onto our website and you see it, every single one of our images, if you mouse over it, it goes to Pinterest, so now our clients pin stuff and our images are getting pinned tens of thousands of times each month, constantly, by our own clients. And so, it just keeps it always evolving. People will see our images, and it's funny, they get put on other, like Ning, or whoever, local photographers will be like, I got one of your images on my moodboard, I'm like, ahaha! I win! Didn't get the client, but I can still mess with you. All right. We ask for one sentence with each one. That's to help us make sure that we're on the same page with what they like and what we like. And we say that this is not a shot list. Don't pin 50 images. We want 10, 15 images. We're not gonna go and recreate those shots, we're gonna shoot for that mood, for that type of feel. We're not gonna go and just do the exact same poses, although what ends up happening is when you study the moodboard and you actually go out and shoot, you have those things in your head. So check this out. We approached this entire shoot for our engagement, for this Incredible Engagement Photography class, I said, Meg, you create the moodboard as if you're my client and then I'm gonna actually approach it just like we would a client shoot. This was the moodboard that she created. We chose a location, and then what was funny is, after the shoot, I went back and I said, hey, let's just go look back and see how we did. And these were the shots that we got from... Each of them. So, we had shots that lined up, and I had tons of different shots, too, that were outside of that, but as I was shooting the moodboard, I kept thinking back to, or as I was shooting the shoot, I kept thinking back to the moodboard and what kind of look they were going for. And it was naturally putting me, I didn't go study the photo and go, this is what I wanna do. I go, hey, they liked whimsical stuff. And so I just started doing some whimsical stuff. And then it just happened to be almost the identical shot. You had a question? When you're asking a person to create a moodboard, I'm going to feel so stupid asking-- No, no, ask any question. Where does that go? Does it go-- To Pinterest. On her Pinterest board? Or your Pinterest board? Yeah. No, so what we do is, that's a really good question, actually, because what you wanna do is have the client use their Pinterest account to create the Pinterest board. Because you want them to basically, I mean, this goes back to the marketing side. You want them as a Pinterest user to be pinning your images. So they're gonna pin it, and then they're just gonna share the moodboard with you. So they share it with you, send you the link. They can send you the link to the moodboard. And then you can view the moodboard on your-- They send you the link through your email. Yeah, through email, to view it. I think Pinterest will allow you to share it, too. They have some cool things there. But yeah, that's a good question, 'cause if you create it on your own, if you say, oh, log into our Pinterest and pin it, then you're not benefiting from the, it just looks like you're really conceited. Always pinning your own, I really love my own stuff. It's fantas, nah, so you want them to pin from theirs. That was a really good question, actually. Truth tangent, small watermarks people, small watermarks. Guys, this is the number one way your images will not get shared with other people, okay, is large watermarks. When we give them to our vendors, when we give them to other people that we work with, when we give them to our clients, if you want them shared, if you have a watermark on them, make them small. I mean, people will steal your image whether you have the watermark on it or not. I mean, and half the time when you see gigantic images with watermarks on them, you know that it's not really necessarily a good enough photograph to be stealed, stolen. Be stealed? To be stealed in the first place. So, small watermarks are gonna make sure that your images are getting around more. And I even know a lot of friends that don't even watermark anymore. It's just, let them get out there. Let them, you want them to be shared. People are gonna ask, the thing is that, if you take a great photo and a client puts an image up without the watermark, and it's a fantastic image, and somebody else knows that client and is their friend, they're gonna ask, who took your photo? It's natural, they're gonna ask. So, I would encourage you all to be less worried about that type of stuff. Big corporations, they're not gonna steal your images. Other photographers might, that happens to us a lot. Other photographers will take the images and use them, but nothing you can do about that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work