A photo speaks a thousand words. Maybe you love capturing street photography, or are just a big fan of their aesthetic in general. Whatever your reason, here’s how to grace your original street photography with a moody effect – without having to be a professional photographer.

It’s all about the tones, really. Knowing when and how to adjust your imagery – with the right tools, you’ll be able to achieve your desired photo effects perfectly.

Here are some elements I’ve noticed that appear for most moody street photography:

  • A cold photo temperature
  • Often consists of simple settings
  • Shot from creative camera angles
  • Usually taken at night under street lights or city lights to achieve the emotion of an object or location, for instance
  • Streets that are void of life are perfect for a focus on still subjects
  • Streets that are crowded with people tell a story infused with more solemn notes

It’s easy to replicate this moody effect with one of your own, especially effects that are unique to each of your photos. All you need is Pixlr X – it’s free, fast and easy to use. If you’re interested in downloading the original state of this photo, it’s City of Bricks by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash.

The sidebar on the left shows you the lighting adjustments made with Pixlr X. You can choose your own adventure, or follow my image adjustment settings down below.

Set these sliders to:

Saturation: -16

Temperature: -34

Under Light:

Exposure: 10 | Black: 50 | White: -6 | Highlight: -42 | Shadows: -42 (or more, if you prefer a darker street scene)

How To Give Your Street Photography A Moody Effect - 123RF Blog
Click this photo to get a closer look at the sidebar adjustments.

And look at the comparison before and after in the GIF down below. It’s easy to turn a regular street photo shot during the day into a moody, gloomy street scene.

How To Give Your Street Photography A Moody Effect - 123RF Blog
Before and after!

If you want, adjust the amount of Dehaze under Filter > Scene. This helps to make the photo much darker in a more even manner. Hit Save and you’re done!

Looking for more tutorials? Check out how to retouch a dog’s portrait or create a glitch effect quickly using an easy filter.