January 24, 2013

Tips and Tricks // How to Build a Mood Board

How to Make a Mood Board | Grown-up Shoes

(Photography Credits:Top photo by Maru Alvarez Colodrero  for Pitocatalan Children’s Clothing | Far left second row: outtake of ban.do shoot by Max Wagner | Middle second row: Jennifer Livingston |Far right second row: Shirt + photo by Wild Fox Couture)

Until I started styling my own shoots, I used to think bloggers just made mood boards for fun. Turns out they’re actually really useful, and not just for stylists or bloggers. Mood boards are great for planning a party, redoing a room or building a new wardrobe. The above board is for a shoot I have coming up next week and I wanted something to show the make-up artist, photographer and models before we got there so they could see the direction we’d be going in.

Luckily, to build a great mood board for any occasion, you don’t need to be a graphic designer or even own Photoshop! Here’s some super simple tips to make your next party, room redecoration or shopping trip a big success:

Where to Start: I feel like I’ve been plugging Pinterest a lot lately, but it’s fantastic for mood boards. Just make sure you’re following people who’s taste you love! Follow your favorite magazine editors, bloggers, friends with great fashion sense, anyone so long as they have a great eye. From there, you can move your board to Photoshop to fancy it up if you have the skills, but it’s not necessary.

Decide What’s Important: For this shoot, I’m working with a photographer, make-up artist and model. So creating a cohesive vision that the three of us could work to achieve together is important and I need to ensure that they understand our goals before we get to the set so we don’t waste any time. I tried to think about all of their needs—what do I want the make-up artist to achieve? What images best capture the look I’m after? What angles do I love that I’d like the photographer to capture? What mood do I see the model portraying?

If you’re working on a redecorating a room think about color, furniture, the lighting that you’re working with and the kinds of accessories you want. If you’re throwing a party, spend some time thinking about all aspects of your bash—is it a cocktail party? Casual? Formal? Are we drinking out of mason jars or is now the perfect time to display your amazing vintage bar ware collection? Think about your event from every angle and collect photos that make you excited about your project and inspired to take it on.

 Edit, Edit, Edit: When you begin your board, don’t hold back. At first, it’s simply important to find what you love so that you can get an idea of what you’re doing. Then when you have enough images, begin to edit. Are there twelve photos with warm reds and oranges and only two or three with blues and greens? Take those blues and greens out and work with the warmer color scheme you’re clearly more drawn to. Sometimes I get so set on an idea that it’s hard for me to shake it, even when it’s clear that it doesn’t fit into the final vision. Be flexible and open to what you’re drawn to and allow the images you’ve chosen to help guide you to a final vision.

Communicate a Mood: What do you see when you look at the board above? It’s all in the same color scheme and feminine, but there’s a playfulness to it too, right? Something whimsical and not-so-serious about it—a feeling that’s created by editing down your photos to just the right right ones that convey what you want. Is the new room you’re building a relaxing haven just for you? Is it meant to entertain? Will there be children in it? Take all of these things into account and really home in on the mood you want to convey.

*One last note: Something important to keep in mind with Pinterest: don’t just do something because you can. Maybe you see everyone drinking out of mason jars so you think they’re important to have—they’re not (red solo cups will do just fine if that’s what ya got). Neither is a photo booth background if you don’t want one or  polka dot straws or succulents if you’re not into succulents or if they just don’t go with what you’re doing. Keep your own vision and tastes at the forefront and remember that often less is more.

For a wedding I styled last month (that I’m so excited to show you soon), the bride and I went back and forth on tons of fun decor ideas (editing!) and finally decided on only one handmade element: an altar made of tons of bunting that she and her sisters and friends had made. It was perfect—just that one sweet touch of something handmade created a really special feeling for the ceremony and even helped highlight the elegance of the gorgeous white tent and beautiful hall of the reception. But mostly, it was organic to the event, the couple and the evening. It wasn’t just an altar of bunting for the sake of an altar made of bunting—it was well thought-out and meaningful, and that is key when it comes to any element of a project.

You know my own guidelines by now: do what you love, make it easy on yourself and have fun with it. Happy mood boarding…xoxo


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