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How To Make A Marvelous Mood Board

The beautiful images that fill the pages of your favourite magazines require a lot of preparation. Capturing the perfect scene can involve weekd of research and conceptualizing before the model even steps foot onto set. Industry professionals are well versed in the creation and execution of their ideas, but not without the help of a trusty mood board. Providing the team with visual imagery to convey the vibe of the shoot is a crucial element of your modelling experience. A collection of inspiring images, for your makeup, hair and clothes are the starting point for the story you want to tell.


By Natalie Dawson

Understanding Mood Boards

Mood boards release a feeling, or a certain energy, many creatives use them as inspiration to build upon. They also allow others to physically understand what it is you’re requesting. Find reference images of the exact aesthetic you’re trying to embody. This makes a world of difference when replicating certain vague requests, such as “a smoky eye” or a “high ponytail”. Elements of these techniques are simple enough for a general understanding. But what you envision for your look may differ slightly from your stylist or makeup artists perception. The most efficient way to avoid miscommunication is through the brilliance of a mood board and they’re so simple to make!

Your mood board is an expression of your own personal style. If your closet is full of fishnets and leather jackets, find hair and makeup references to match. Build a rocking mood board specific to a certain style if you are confident in your vision. A killer concept can be formed through one element. If a candid combo of fierce boots, winged liner and slicked back hair is too much, cut it back. Explore reference images with one unique feature that sells the photograph. Intricate makeup, an oversized coat or a pair of wicked sunglasses can help you step out of your comfort zone.

Perhaps you’re inspired by peachy tones and sun-kissed skin. A lace blouse or a floral skirt may be the starting point. Incorporating images of accessories such as flowers, bows or jewelry will further push your anticipated vibe. Push it further and design a mood board entirely dedicated to pastel pinks and baby blues. A soft palette could result in a delicate photoshoot filled with captivating portraits and whimsical poses.

If light an airy isn’t your style, design your mood board around neutral tones, which is perfect for anyone wanting to start their modelling journey. Clean, fresh photographs are best for the first few pages of your portfolio, but a pop of colour adds personality. Incorporating red or orange depending on your tone can completely change a look. Small, speedy adjustments can help you get the most out of your photo shoot.

There are a few ways to source images for your mood board. If you’re a computer whizz, searching for references through Google, Instagram or Pinterest is a great start. Alternatively, looking through modelling books or fashion magazines can achieve similar results. The vital part of mood board creation is to remember to include all your shoot elements. Research everything from your head to your toes: hair and facial hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, accessories and props (should you desire). Start broad and let your personal style and eye for beauty guide you.

What to include in your mood board

1. Makeup References

Experiment with colours, allow yourself to delve deep into rich rouges or pastel palettes. Your flawless face is a canvas for your entrusted and practiced makeup artist, but guidance is warmly welcomed. If the concept for your shoot is soft and subtle, don’t hesitate to compile images with dewy skin and lightly applied foundation. Feeling bold? Present your photoshoot team with neon blues and winged liner. Incorporate glitter, or perhaps keep it simple with soft freshly-kissed lips. A makeup mood board is the hub for discovering what looks could best suit your features. Any uncertainty in regard to your look will be reduced through discussion with your makeup team. Providing your artist with enough references will help them achieve your #makeupgoals!

Deepika Padukone for @patrickta

Shay Mitchell for @patrickta

Jasmine Sanders for @patrickta

Taylor Hill for @patrickta

2. Hairstyle References

Love your luscious locks by providing your stylist with an impressive display of creative looks and hairstyles. Tussled curls or straightened bangs, your hair need not be forgotten! A photoshoot is the perfect opportunity to drastically change up your look. Should your go-to routine involve a flat-iron, why not suggest a tight curl to your stylist? Reference images of slick ponytails or tangly-beach waves provide the studio team with detailed concept of your desired aesthetic. Think wig! Switch things around between sets through the use of coloured wigs or ribbons and bows. Men, your mystic mane can be adorned with gels, glitters and flowers. Search your favourite celebrities and study how they groom their hair. Even a buzzcut can be switched around and played with! Above all, let your research guide you and fill your mood board with glamorous examples of your dream hair.

Lenny Kravitz for @_manabouttownuk

Julianne Moore for @thewallgroup

Eden Fines for @shay_shaz

Jake Gyllenhaal for @Mark Seliger

3. Style References

There is never a wrong answer when it comes to finding your own personal style. Whether you like following fashion trends or breaking the mould by turning unique looks. The easiest way to design a fashion mood board is to deep dive into the depths of your wardrobe. Find that pair of ripped jeans you thought your sister stole, or your dad’s old bomber jacket. Use these as fodder for finding similar outfits to pull together for your studio session. There’s no need to go out and completely redo your wardrove, simply enhance what you’ve already got. At the studio, we have additional accessories to enhance what you’ve brought from home. Providing a collection of fashion images helps our team forge together the perfect look for you.

Finalising Your Moodboard

For any rookie mood board makers out there, Pinterest is the perfect place to start. Sign up using your Facebook or Google Account and you’re greeted with a world of inspiration at your fingertips. Pinterest makes it easy to search specific colours, textures and looks from an array of artists, influencers and designers. Simply hover over your favourite images and add them to your personalized ‘board’. Let your fingers do the walking as you explore every inch of Pinterests resources. Whether you’ve got a concept or not, Pinterest can help you narrow down your options. You’ll find yourself leaning towards certain makeup and styles, eventually resulting in a concise look.

Finalize your fabulous mood board by compiling all researched elements into one. Here, you can let your creativity drive you into whatever mood you’ve concocted. There are many different vibes that can be channeled depending on your individual personality. A mood board is used to inspire and express what you want from your shoot. Leave room to move and build upon your ideas by simplifying your collection of source images. Narrowing down your images may seem like an impossible feat, but it’s important to convey your idea at a quick glance. Mood boards pertaining to each look you plan to model will benefit your shoot day the most. Ultimately, there is no wrong way to make a mood board. A mood board is the foundation for your shoot, how much you want to build upon that foundation is your creative freedom!

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