Have you ever set up a shoot with a model or even a friend, send the person an email generally describing what you wanted, then only to find out on the day of the shoot that something is missing? Either you forgot something, or your model misunderstood what you really wanted. Are you working with a MUA and she 'thinks' that she knows what you want? Well.. no surprise that it can happen more than one may think that it should.
Most people are very VISUALLY oriented, and related best to images. This is especially true of artistically inclined people. A mood board is simply a visual representation of the planned shoot. Above is a simple board that outlines hairstyle, makeup, wardrobe and accessories, as well as what type of background(s) that may be used. Other elements can easily be added such as poses that the model may want to try.
A mood board should reflect the overall theme of the shoot. For example, in the board above the theme may be a fashion shoot for "The lady in Red". The theme or concept tends to unify everything and helps others who also may be working on your team such as a Makeup artist (MUA). The MUA may suggest makeup to compliment the wardrobe. If you are lucky enough to have an assistant, he/she can have backdrops hung and wrinkle free before you even walk in the door.
Mood board are not difficult to create and can be put together with almost any image processing program. Thousands of images are available on sites such as Pinterest or even google images. You may even want to create a 'board' on Pinterest and then send a link to your model and other team members so that they can view it on line. This often works well as a collaborative tool for instant feedback.
Another tip for the model is to create a "Wish List" on a site such as Amazon. This can serve as a visual catalog of outfits and accessories that the model wants (or owns). This can be very valuable when setting up the mood board, especially when it comes to clothing or shoes. If a photographer wants a well fitting piece of clothing, this can be a good platform to work from to get just what the concept needs to be successful.
The mood board serves as a visual 'job description' and in the example above, you may want to post a key pose that you want the model to focus upon during the shoot. On the day of the shoot, bring a printed copy of the mood board with you so that everyone involved can stay on point to achieve the best images possible!
Bob Barford is a published award winning photographer based out of Pennsylvania.