If you have followed this blog site for a while, you will know that I love taking photos in the fog. The mood that it creates is unique, and besides, other people seem to like these photos too. Some parts of the country, during the cold winter air, there is fog almost every day. But, keep in mind that fog is damp, and you do have to take extra care of your camera. And also remember, that generally, this time of year if you have fog or mist, it is usually cold outside. Also remember that batteries don’t last as long in the cold, so, bring some spare batteries.
I also found a photographer that has written a great article about the important tips of shooting in the fog. Photographer Max Therry wrote a great article about shooting in the fog and mist. Check this out:
Taking beautiful images of mist and fog can be challenging, but it’s a skill worth learning. Fog and mist usually form during the night and are seen at their best in the early morning as the sun rises. Be prepared to get up early to catch the best shots!
Use Manual Focus
Your autofocus will probably struggle in mist and fog. The reason being that autofocus needs to find differences in contrast to focus, and fog and mist don’t have a lot of contrast. You may struggle to focus on something even in manual—it can help to pre-focus to a set distance, or widen your depth of field by stopping your lens down.
Use a Tripod For Steady Shots
If you want to be certain of sharp images, use a tripod instead of hand-holding your camera. This will also help if you need to use slow shutter speeds, as it will reduce camera shake. You’ll need to be ready to shoot when the sun comes up, so it’s wise to get all your gear set up in plenty of time, and this includes your tripod.
Shoot in RAW Format
Shooting in RAW format is best, not only because you have a far higher resolution image than JPEG, which you can post-process without fear of degrading image quality, but because you can fine-tune your white balance in post-processing. Fog and mist can sometimes mess with your white balance settings, but if you don’t want to shoot in RAW, put your camera’s WB on overcast or cloudy.
Camera metering systems are often confused by mist and fog, as they are with snow, because fog, mist, and snow are reflective. This fools your camera into thinking that there’s more light than there actually is. The resulting images can often be underexposed, with the white of the fog becoming dark and not at all how you saw it! If you are using an auto-exposure mode, try using some exposure compensation; try it around a full stop more to start with, but experiment.
Find a Focal Point
Because fog and mist lower the contrast and warp perspective, you sometimes need something to add a sense of distance or depth in the shot. Try adding leading lines into the image, such as a fence, hedge, wall or road that leads the eye into the photograph. You can also try framing the fog and mist by using natural features such as tree branches in the foreground of your image.
If you focus on objects that are close to you, the resulting shots will create a sense of distance in the image, as the object in the foreground will have more color and contrast. This saturation and contrast will gradually fall off the further away from the camera the objects in the image are.
You can get some great silhouette shots in mist and fog, by working out where the sun is coming up and putting your subject between you and the sun. If you shoot into the rising sun, your subject will be beautifully backlit against the fog.
Light rays in a shot of a foggy day can really make an image magical, by shining down on an object or part of a path or road. These light rays coming through the fog can be from the sun, or from any artificial light source, as long as it’s at an angle to your camera. You must be quick, though, before the sun burns the fog away.
Mist and fog photos are wonderfully atmospheric. They can be either sinister and brooding, or light and beautiful, depending on what you are trying to convey. I hope that this article has at least inspired you to set your alarm, get up early, and go take some mist and fog shots!
About the Author
Max Therry‘s passion for photography developed during his time in art school, where he would borrow his friends’ cameras and take photos of everything unusual around him. When this passion gained almost obsession-like traits, he bought his own Sony system and vowed to take as many photos as he could. After about a decade of filling up multiple hard drives, he says it’s time to share his experiences with whoever’s interested.
Here’s a few of my own Fog or mist photos: