Are you looking to change up your photography and create some compelling and dramatic stills? Fog photography, like rain photography, is the perfect way to incorporate the weather into your photography and add a depth of emotionality to your work (as well as looking amazing!)
In this post, we will be discussing the best fog photography techniques, whether you’re wondering how to photography a misty morning, or a thicker Dickensian fog. We will also be giving our suggestion for how to make fog for photography if it isn’t adequately foggy for your fog photoshoot.
1. Consider focal length
Before creating your fog photograph, it is important to use the right lens. The lens will depend on the density of the fog and the kind of image you want to create. Telephoto lenses will compress your photos, so it’s best to avoid a longer focal length when shooting in dense fog.
Conversely, wide-angle lenses have a dilating effect on your scenes, so they will make the fog seem thinner. Therefore, wide-angle lenses are good for a denser fog when you need to focus on your subject, and telephoto lenses are ideal for a lighter, misty fog, as they will make it more visible on camera. If you’re wondering how to capture fog photography on a mobile phone, wait for a denser fog, as mobile cameras are made with the focal length of wide-angle lenses.
2. Shoot in Manual
Fog photography camera settings can be quite challenging, as shooting in the fog comes with a few interesting technicalities. The water droplets in the air scatter and reflect the light making it much softer than usual. Although soft, directional lighting is something photographers love, the soft, foggy texture reduces contrast immensely. Moreover, the fog usually comes with overcast, dim lighting, and your camera’s light meter can become confused by the reflective mist in the air, causing it to decrease exposure. Therefore you should always shoot in Manual mode in the fog.
3. Fog photography camera settings
When shooting in the fog, you should ideally use a mid-range aperture such as f/5.6 as this is quite close to our natural vision, and therefore will produce a realistic focus on the weather. Because of the blurry fog texture, you should keep your shutter speed to about 1 second, but if you want a sharper image, go for a faster shutter speed. In terms of ISO, you should keep it very low to avoid a grainy quality.
4. Use manual focus
Shooting in the fog can be quite a challenge. The fog comes with an unusual combination of soft and dim lighting, reducing the contrast in the scene, leaving it with no deep highlights or shadows. In addition to this, the saturation will also be very low, making it difficult for your camera to pick out your subject to focus on. Therefore, you should always opt for manual focus to save time in the fog.
5. Use a tripod
When practising fog photography, we would recommend shooting with a tripod. This is important for camera stability to prevent camera shake. This is particularly important if you are using long exposures to create your photograph.
6. Long exposure fog photography
Although you should use a faster shutter speed if you want to create a naturalistic representation of the fog, trying out long exposure techniques for photography can produce dreamy effects. The fog can naturally have a very interesting texture. Therefore, even if there isn’t much light available, you shouldn’t use a shutter speed longer than 1-2 seconds. Any longer than this, and it will actually smooth out the texture of the fog.
An alternative method of producing a silky fog texture is to use a Neutral Density filter. ND filters work by blocking out the light from entering your camera, resulting in a very cool motion blur effect, which can work well with foggy weather.
7. Create depth
Because the fog greatly reduces contrast, there is a very obvious lack of deep shadows and highlights. This can make your images look flat and dull. The best way to improve your composition in fog photography is to create more depth in your images. You should avoid creating too much distance between you and your subject, as this is a significant factor in your subject becoming ‘part of the fog’.
Reducing your distance can help focus on your subject and create more depth. One of the popular fog photography techniques is to use several subjects within the same composition at varying distances to create depth; such as trees in a forest.
8. Silhouette fog photography
If you’re shooting foggy portraits, it can be fun to add a dimension of eeriness, melancholy, or mystery, by experimenting with some silhouette photography. Foggy weather is the perfect opportunity to try out silhouette photography, as the fog naturally obscures people, making it very easy to take silhouette portraits, especially in low-light conditions. If there is still quite a lot of light when you are shooting in the fog, remember that shooting against the light and underexposing your image is the best way to create a silhouette.
9. Bring a lens cloth
Although shooting in the fog produces great pictures, one occupational hazard is condensation forming on your camera lens because of the level of moisture in the air. This can be very annoying when trying to take photographs. To overcome this, you should always have a couple of lens cloths in your kit when you’re trying to work in a foggy environment to quickly wipe away the condensation.
To protect your gear, you should avoid changing lenses, as doing this can cause condensation to form between your camera and lens. Always put your camera and lens in your camera bag before going home, and leave it for a couple of hours, to prevent condensation from forming on the inside of your lens.
10. Use a fog machine
If you need to shoot a misty portrait but the weather isn’t complying, the safest way to make fog for a photoshoot is to use a fog machine. These are great devices that actually heat a mixture of water and (usually) glycol to create artificial fog. Although not quite the same as the real thing, for indoor shoots or contained outdoor ones, these are at least more reliable than trusting the weather to perform!
We hope you enjoyed our tips and tricks for creating great fog photos.
Do you need a photographer who can adapt to all kinds of weather? Splento photographers are highly skilled professionals who can capture amazing photographs in a manner of different environments. If you’re interested in hiring a professional photographer on-demand at an affordable rate, contact us today.