How to Edit Dark And Moody Images

It's headed toward Christmas and the vibe on instagram has certainly changed. In this video, I go over how to edit dark and moody photographs. 

Following on from my article about shooting dark and moody photographs, I have put together a video looking at the post production required to finish and polish the image. I have opted to use Lightroom as it seems to be more popular, although the image from the original article was editing in Capture One. I use a food photograph in this example although the concept will apply to any field of photography.

Before looking at the post production, it is worth noting that to achieve this look, you have to have shot a dark and moody or low key image to start with. You aren’t going to change some bright, light, and airy image into something dark and moody in Lightroom. It’s also important that the content, context, and that the styling of the image all match to get something that really works. 

A lot of what is required for these images are just very small tweaks and often they go wrong when photographers are too heavy handed with their editing. If you start pushing the contrast slider up or completely crushing the blacks you will quickly find your image looking a little cheap. 

I also find that by adding more blacks to an image from a Canon sensor that I have to reduce the vibrancy to stop it looking too garish. This of course may differ depending on your sensor to lens combinations that you have opted for. 

In the video I go through the entire process from cropping to sharpening and all of the tweaks that I make in-between to take my raw file to the finished product, which obviously ended up on Instagram just in time for Halloween.  

How do you go about editing your dark and moody images?

Scott Choucino's picture

Food Photographer from the UK. Not at all tech savvy and knows very little about gear news and rumours.

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