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Learning how to take photos in fog or mist could be challenging at times. Mist and fog photography one of the most mysterious forms of photography. Using atmospheric elements like fog or mist is a beautiful way to display your favorite subjects' hazy, moody, or silhouette.
At the same time, fog is also well known to be challenging to photograph, however with some practice, helpful hints, and Lightroom templates developed for fog you can take your photography to the next level.

Have you tried to catch the fog but "MIST it"?

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What is Fog or mist?

Fog and mist photography is one of the most compelling arts of photography

The Fog is created by tiny water droplets floating in the air and condensed as a cloud at a ground level visible to the naked eye. It is much denser than mist. There are many fog variations. It could be hovering over the water, dropping down between trees in the forest, or cooling land forming after sunset. The fog does not last long, so you need to be on your toes to catch it at the right time.

On a foggy day, the air is full of moisture and will reflect and redirect the light-rays through to the subject. These conditions could create a heavily defused light but produce a stunning effect in general.
The scene could be stripped of contrast and color saturation and probably lost the focal point. The mist in the air makes your subject much dimmer and balanced in light.
Photographing in fog is much different from a well lit sunny weather.

The mist is an anomaly caused by small water droplets hovering in the air. Commonly seen where the moist air suddenly cooled down and creates a misty effect. You can usually find mist along the shoreline or over water.

That's the exactly the beauty of a photograph taken in the fog or mist. Embrace it!

More information on the type of fog and mist on visit Wikipedia.

Learn How to take pictures in fog or mist?

There are many different ways to take foggy or misty photographs to achieve the best result.
With an auto setting, you can take a good picture in for or mist, but then what's the fun of that? If you are lost and not sure where to start, auto-mode might be the one to help. Take a shot and check the settings. Decide if you are happy with it or you might just want to venture out and try different settings.

1. wait and find the fog

There are many different ways to take foggy or misty photographs to achieve the best result.
With an auto setting, you can take a good picture in for or mist, but then what's the fun of that? If you are lost and not sure where to start, auto-mode might be the one to help. Take a shot and check the settings. Decide if you are happy with it or want to venture out and try different settings.

2. How to balance low light conditions

The most efficient way and the freedom to be creative is when you hand-held your camera. First of all, you need to be familiar with its capabilities, like where to find the settings to change your ISO or F stop and so on, then you will have the flexibility to be creative taking pictures in fog or mist.
So the question is there enough light source to hand-held your camera? As for photographs taken in fog or mist, you might get away with a little blur.

  • If your answer is no, use a tripod or prop yourself and your camera against a solid surface to compensate for camera shake. 
  • Adjust your ISO setting in your camera to change the sensor's light sensitivity to let more light in to catch the foggy or misty. Increasing the ISO level allows you to take a shot at a faster shutter-speed and makes the camera sensor more sensitive to light.
  • Use Aperture priority. This setting will depend on your camera.
  • Use "Wide Aperture" to let in more light. Since wide aperture also relates to "depth of field," but you are not as much concerned about the image is sharp, this would be a great option.

Mistake to Avoid!
Using auto ISO mode will compensate for the low light, but you also lose the choice to make your image lighter or darker. I am not saying auto ISO is a bad thing, but I prefer to be in control, so it is up to you.

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1/4 sec, f/4.5, ISO-1000 - on a tripod

3. the difference between auto-focus vs. manual focus

  • The biggest problem with foggy or misty conditions, of course, the existence of low light levels and little or no contrast. Taking pictures in fog or mist with auto-focus will pick up the lightest part of the scene, and perhaps it is not what you wanted. The solution would be to switch to manual focus.
  • Night photography is the most difficult, especially if there is much fog or mist in the air. Switching to manual focus, in this case, using a tripod or monopod, is your best friend, so always have it handy.
  • Having trouble seeing if the image is sharp where there is too much noise created by fog, use your onboard zoom function in your camera. On the other hand, since the whole image is about capturing fog, forget about focus and concentrate on the scene's composition.

4. adjust your exposure manually

There are endless photography books, videos that will tell you about what exposure means in photography. The best way, the only way to understand is by practicing. Of course' you could use auto mode, but what is the fun of that? With every photo you take, you will get better and elevate your photography from good to great.
To point out, it is important to realize that understanding the relations between; shutter speed, F stop, and ISO significantly improves your ability to translate what you see to what your camera will capture.

  • Focus your exposure based on the fog or mist and not on the subject. In other words, your light meter will be taking the reading from the brightest part of the scene, so your image notable be darker. This method produces a beautiful silhouette, and your image will have a mysterious quality.
  • To capture fog or mist, you could turn your exposure compensation to a plus setting to allow more light to capture or to a minus setting if the subject turns out to be too bright - for this, you need to be in manual mode. Check the histogram for the right light balance.
    Using EV (Exposure Value) Compensation like +1 to +3. Changing the EV will allow you to make a quick adjustment to overexpose (brighten) or underexpose (darken) your image.

5. use space in your image

What is a positive space?

It is the part of the image that stands out from its surroundings. It is the focus of the viewers' attention.

What is negative space?

It is the total opposite—the area of the photograph that doesn't attract much attention. As a result, it will be the supporting buffer to the image. Negative space is the area between and around the body of an object. In other words, also referred to as white space. The focus on your subject should be prominent, and anything around is less noticeable less important.

Fog B&W Lightly aged LR preset
Fog B&W Lightly aged LR preset

Fog B&W Lightly aged LR preset

Convert to Black and White

How to take photos in fog and mist in low light conditions? The weather offers you nothing but gray on gray on a foggy or misty day, and the colors are non-existing, the fog is taking over, what do you do? Converting your photo may also do the trick.

In the image below, I took advantage of the mooring ships in the distance disappearing in the fog, focusing on the sailboat's front. The photo has a more black and white impact than in color since the fog created a washed-out and colorless scene.

Fog Fade Out - LR Preset - learn fog photography

1/125 sec, f/9, ISO-100 - hand-held

Fog - Fade Out - LR Preset - learn fog photography

Fog Fade Out - LR Preset

6. use the contrast between light and dark (Silhouettes)

Photography is based on light.

So why not take advantage of the difference between light and dark subjects?

The silhouette is created when your subject or main focal point appears darker against the brighter background. One of my favorites is finding the right balance between light and dark. It is a fantastic way to transform an image giving it drama, mystery, and mood.

One of those early mornings, you are in a hurry to get to work, and the sky is just exploding above you. Going to be late... I thought or maybe not... could not resist to stop and take the shot. No time for fancy setup; forget the tripod. Just take the shot!

Never miss an opportunity to take that shot! Always have your camera with you.

Fog - Blazing Sunrise LR Preset - learn fog photography

1/60 sec, f/5, ISO-100 - hand-held (propped my camera on the top of my car)

Fog - Blazing Sunrise LR Preset

Fog - Blazing Sunrise LR Preset

7. Using the "Rule of third"

Take advantage of your camera grid overlay to place your subject in a more pleasing “Rule of Third” position. It is possibly the most commonly known and used principle of photography.
However, rules are meant to be broken, but it doesn’t mean your images are not pleasing to the viewer even if it is surrounded by fog or mist. Learning the rule of third is essential so you can break them.
Ask yourself.
What is my focal point or point of interest on this shot? Do I see an object within the fog?
What happens when I place my subject to the side or the center of the photo? Does the fog or mist have an impact on the photograph?

Well, take a shot and see. Did it make the impact you were trying to achieve? Does it look unbalanced? If your answer is no, then take another shot composing your image slightly differently.

Fog - Warm Sunrise + Rad Filter LR Preset - learn fog photography
Fog - Warm Sunrise + Rad Filter LR Preset - learn fog photography

Fog - Warm Sunrise + Rad Filter LR Preset

8. Using leading lines

So What are leading lines? The start of a line that disappears into the fog, making it barely visible, works well, especially if it is well defined. Framing an almost invisible subject with a strong foreground can also create a sense of depth.

learn fog photography

1/40 sec, f/20, ISO-100

Blue Haze LR preset

Blue Haze LR preset

Conclusion of fog photography

Fog and mist is a wonderful element to capture and to add to your favorites. The mystery and mood sometimes on the dark side can add a playful, but intense mood to your image. Learning how to take pictures if fog and mist could be challenging but at the end can add a crucial element to your skill level and portfolio.

  • What is fog and mist
  • Low light level conditions
  • Auto-focus Vs. manual focus
  • Manual Exposure
  • Using positive - negative space
  • Creating silhouettes
  • Using the Rule of Third
  • Use of leading lines

We hope you've learned as much as possible from this article that will help you in your journey to take better photos in fog and mist. As the weather turns to fall head out and experiment and enjoy your time away from the hustle and bustle.
Top it off, check out our "Fog and Mist" Lightoom presets to uplift your photography from good to better.

We, at Beyond Snapshot Photography, thank you for your time to visit our blog and least but not last we encourage you to check out other blogs on photography tips and helpful hints.

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