Mood Boards

I was asked what a Mood Board is and how it differs from a Story Board. This may seem convoluted but this is how I described what a Mood Board is:

A Mood Board, unlike a Story Board, does not indicate a progression of images that will actually be shot, nor the actual setting. What it does do is describe a flavour or nuance of what the ambience of the image will be. It gives one an idea of your intention. It is akin to an interior designer showing colour and texture codes to their clients. It is not a specific chronological plan or set design as would be established in a story board, which is more akin to a visual script. It is a visual and sensory direction. It uses metaphor’s and analogies rather than concrete specific and pragmatic details. Mood boards are being asked of by editors more and more these days to assist them in understanding the direction you are considering and help them decide if that is the direction they wish to explore as well.

Above example from Designer Direction

About Benjamin Kanarek

Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…

  • Awesome Benjamin, thank you.

  • I was asked the following question and gave the following answer:

    Michael James Cox:

    I have a question Ben as the photographer how much of the mood board and story board are you responsible for and how much comes from the clients team of art directors and stylists? Is it different for every client?9 minutes ago · Like

    Benjamin Kanarek 

    Well Michael, to be quite frank, it is like this. The Mood Boards are developed based on the fashion trends of each season collections. We derive the inspiration from what was shown in all of the major centers, i.e. NY, Paris, Milano, London and come up with themes that visually support those collections.For example, If there are no plastics being shown this season, there is no need to do a plastic theme, as the clothing would not exist. So, when we do the mood boards, the choices of clothing are left in the hands of the fashion editor-stylist’s interpretation and hopefully that marries well with our vision.

  • Dietmarkohl

    Well explained and easy to understand Benjamin.A visual Script / Layout sozusagen.Hope you dont have to many Dark Hours !


  • Kevin Kinisky

    Great writeup Benjamin. I was just thinking about content for an upcoming blog that I was going to do as people were asking about this. Glad you wrote something up about it.


    I just like the style you took with this article. It isn’t typical that you just discover something so to the point and enlightening.