How to Edit Dark and Moody Photos

Did you know that almost 1.5 trillion photos are taken each year?

It's no secret that people love to take pictures, but many of them never see the light of day. Why is this?

It's partially because people don't know how to edit photos to look exactly how they want them to. Are you one of these people?

If you want to take your photo game to the next level and create a dark and moody ambiance for your feed, read on to see how influencer presets can help you achieve this with ease.

Download Lightroom

There are countless photo editing apps out there, but Lightroom is favored by many.

Lightroom should be your go-to option if you plan to use presets because of how easy it is to work with them here.

The Lightroom app has a free version packed full of powerful editing features that will have your photos popping like never before.

You can also download Lightroom on your PC if you prefer to work on a computer.

Your Camera Makes a Difference

Another thing to remember when taking photos, especially if you're a social media influencer or working to become one, is that the camera you use does impact your photos.

Even a simple smartphone camera can take wonderful pictures, but you need to know how to use the camera to your advantage. 

When you take the photo, even the lighting can drastically impact the final result. 

Try to familiarize yourself with your phone's camera settings and play around with them so you can create the moody photos you're aiming for.

Plan Your Photoshoot

If taking photos is a big part of your job, chances are you understand how important it is to plan out your photoshoots ahead of time.

Depending on the look you're going for, shooting at a different time of day or in different spaces will make a big difference. Certain brands might want a specific look, and needing to shoot dark and moody photos is common.

To achieve this look, plan on shooting in either a very dim or very bright space.

If you're in a dimly lit space, not much editing will need to be done because the vibe has already set the tone. However, if you're in a bright space, heavy editing can darken the photo as a whole without making one area too dark.

Correct the Exposure

When using Adobe Lightroom, changing the exposure is simple.

The exposure impacts how much light comes in through the lens when taking a photo. Thankfully though, this can be edited after the photo is already taken too.

To create dark photos, you'll typically decrease the exposure. This will darken the photo as a whole. It's also possible to select specific portions of the photo to darken so that the rest remains light.

Knowing how to adjust exposure is essential because this one simple setting changes everything about the photo when it's adjusted.

Try to Create Contrast

You can create contrast when you're editing photos or when you're taking them!

It's best to do a mix of both. Try to have contrasting colors in your photo so that certain things pop. This way, when you adjust the contrast, things will appear even more dramatic than before.

Moody photos don't have to be all dark. In fact, having a balance of darkness and light makes it interesting to look at!

Pay Attention to Textures

Textures can be both a pro and a con when creating dark and moody photos, no matter what you plan on using them for.

On the one hand, the textures create contrast which can be good for a moody look.

On the other hand, when you edit photos containing textures to appear darker, the texture creates shadows that can take over the entire photo. Try to be mindful of this when you're editing and make sure that the texture (especially if it's a background) doesn't ruin the photo.

Use Vignette Sparingly

Vignette is when the outside edge of the photo is slightly darkened.

Everyone loves using vignette because it's easy to use and adjust, and it adds a vintage feel to moody photos. Even so, it's possible to overdo it when using this editing feature and make your photo look fake and tacky.

Try to use only a small amount to darken the outer edges so that it looks natural and doesn't overtake the photo!

Avoid Obvious Filters

At one time, using filters was commonplace.

Everyone used them, and it didn't matter how obvious it was.

Now, you want your photos to look cohesive, especially if your social media platforms are how you make money. But, you no doubt want to strike a balance between cohesive and interesting to look at. Not every photo should look the same.

The best way to do this is by avoiding using commonly over-used obvious filters altogether. They aren't designed to make every photo look its best, and it's an easy way to ruin a wonderful photo.

Pay Attention to Skin Tones

Another thing you want to consider when editing photos, especially if you're editing to achieve a dark and moody look, is skin tone.

When you darken a photo, skin tones darken right along with it. So it's important to make sure that any people in the photo still look natural and that no one is being darkened so much that they don't look like themselves or are hard to see in the picture.

Use Presets to Shorten the Process

There are countless ways to edit your photographs, but the best way to do it is by using presets.

Presets are a way to apply a pre-set list of settings to a photo that makes it look a certain way. Presets, especially ours, are meticulously created to ensure that they provide just the right look and feel no matter the photo.

All that you have to do is adjust the exposure and white balance.

Exposure and Light Balance

We talked about exposure earlier and how adjusting this setting impacts the overall feel of the picture by increasing or decreasing the brightness.

Light balance impacts the colors within the photo. Changing the light balance can make colors look more rich or bright, dark and moody, true to color, duller, or more warm or cool. 

The key is to make the end result look as natural as possible.

Why Use Presets?

Using presets is the quickest and easiest way to achieve high-quality, professional-looking edits for your photos.

Influencer presets are used often so that their feed looks cohesive and balanced while still being unique. Beyond this, presets are amazing because:

  • They help with skin tones
  • They're easily accessible in Lightroom
  • They're perfect for beginners
  • They're accessible forever
  • It takes seconds to apply them

Once you get the hang of using presets, it opens up a whole new world. You don't need to get boxed in by just one preset, either. Instead, tons of different presets are all designed to accomplish the same thing: a stunning end result.

Types of Presets

Different presets achieve different results. This article has focused on using presets to achieve a dark and moody look for your feed, but if you ever want to go for a different look, presets have got you covered there too.

Check out some of our popular preset options:

  • Aesthetic presets
  • Lightroom presets for portraits
  • Wedding Lightroom presets
  • The best presets for Instagram 
  • Rustic presets
  • Insta food presets
  • Golden hour presets

The ones mentioned here are just a drop in the bucket. There are presets designed to make every type of photo pop.

Whether you're posting gym photos, travel pictures, wedding sneak peeks, club photos, or a new product, there's something to help you out.

The Bottom Line

Editing dark photos or moody photos doesn't need to feel like rocket science.

You could make all of the adjustments mentioned above and spend hours striking the right balance between several different settings. Or, you could tap on a preset, make two small changes to ensure the lighting and color are set, and post it just in time to get the most eyes on your work.

Having a cohesive brand image online is crucial to increase your engagement and grow your followers. One large part of that includes having a feed that entices people and draws them in.

Use presets to make your job easier and your feed better.

Use Influencer Presets Now, See Growth Later

Using influencer presets to promote a consistently dark and moody look in your photos (or any other look you want) is the most simple way to edit.

You don't need to waste hours of your time making these edits when someone else has spent hours crafting presets for you.

If you want to take advantage of presets and take your social media to the next level, click here to check out our preset bundles that can get you started with plenty of options and save you money along the way!