Creating atmosphere in Photoshop

A good photo conveys not only the visual image, but the emotional environment as well. For landscape architects, creating a certain mood in picture would allow better communication to the view, thus conveying his or her design purpose. What does mood mean? The dictionary defines it as “Inducing or suggestive of a particular feeling or state of mind”, which would suggest that a moody photo is one that creates an emotional surrounding, raising the internal feelings of viewers.

Light is the best guide to emotion. Unconventional light indicates the time of a day, the pace of a season, and the specific location of a place. The specificity would deliver a feeling of being on site, evoking the emotions. In my pictures, I want to show the mood changing during a day of the Mississippi River, using it as a metaphor to show the time elapsing.




Texture applied to the serpentine shoreline. By erasing the boats and strengthens the contrast between plant and soil, I deleted the extra indicators of in the composition. Morning glory from another picture substitutes the original sky, leading to the perception of morning time.


The grid is indicator to water surface, capturing the motion of the water. To clarify the time and location, sunset clouds are imported to the picture. Adjustment on the overall tone further emphasis the atmosphere of nightfall.


I toned down the picture, and used the “invert” function to shift the color representing the darkness of the night. Brightness glowing amidst black refers to the heat emitted from infrastructures and creatures that is captured by the infrared camera.



The process of creating a mood in a picture

Basic image


Press Shift + control + U to desaturate


Use the orange Photo filter


To strengthen to composition, birds and illusional factories are added to the picture. Burn and dodge tools are applied to decrease the contrast harmonizing the whole composition.


Water of the Mississippi river is toned down and reflection to the floating infrastructure are imported, bringing more sense of reality.


Add a layer and use gradient tool to create an illusion reality.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.