Self Portrait Tutorial | 4 Ways To Convey A Mood With Your Image

Self portraiture as a genre can seem like a whole different type of beast when it comes to photography as a whole. But the beautiful thing is it’s really not that different from any other type of storytelling with your images.

Making conscious decisions is very important for the overall process of creating a mood with your self portrait images. Below I’m sharing several techniques for you to think about when crafting your self portrait image and the story you want it to tell.


The type of lighting you choose to light a scene can completely change the mood, and that definitely includes self-portraiture.

Brighter photos tend to convey a joyous mood, such as the image on the left, while low-lit photos tend to be moodier, like the image on the right. Keep this in mind when choosing the light for your self-portraits and the story you want to tell. 



Keeping color theory in mind can definitely help you to convey a mood in your self-portraiture. Blue tones can convey a sense of calmness and in some cases, sadness, while red tones can imply a sense of confidence and power. Yellows can communicate happiness and positive energy, while purple is associated with luxury and royalty.

Combining the intentional use of light and color theory can make for very impactful self portraits that clearly convey your work’s message.



Utilizing props is a great way to help you tell a story and create a mood within your self portraits. I often include flowers because they add a touch of femininity to my images that I love, and they can be used in multiple creative ways.

You can use your flowers as a crown to create a sense of strength in your image, or you can use them to create layers and a sense of mystery within the frame like I did in the image on the right. The sky’s the limit.



How you choose to pose in your self portrait can make all the difference in the mood it conveys. Posing yourself in an open manner displays an air of assuredness, while posing yourself in a more closed off way can create a sense of isolation and loneliness. Keep these things in mind when considering the story you want to tell with your self portrait.


Each of these individual factors has it’s own important effect on the storytelling impact of your self portraiture.

Remember to be mindful in your decision making with your self portraiture in order to craft your image’s story for the viewer. When combined they can work to create an entire mood for your image.