Fog is a thick cloud of tiny water droplets in the atmosphere that restricts visibility or in this case, gives way for amazing photo opportunities. I can never tell whether the fog makes me feel small or big. It gives me an odd sense of my Place in the World“>.
Since the landscape is no longer fully visible, it is very different shooting in fog than in ordinary weather. Meaning changing the way we shoot is very important on a beautiful foggy morning.
It can be one of the most exciting things as a photographer to wake up early in the morning, look out your window and see a thick cloud of fog blanketing the landscape. Almost immediately I grab my coffee, my gear and head out into the ominous fog. Only thing is, what settings do i need to change my camera to? How is it photographers capture the fog in a mystical and unique way? Are portraits the best pictures in foggy mornings? Or should I focus on the landscape? Should I bring props to make my foggy morning image unique? I’m going to cover these and more to help you take the best possible shot in a foggy morning and give tips that will help beginners find their feet with foggy photography.
First and foremost let’s cover the best fog photography settings in order for you to get that superb shot.
For a morning shot, the best time to head out is just before the sunrise. The light in the air is soft allowing for detailed yet smooth images. For my fog photography settings I like to have a low ISO of around 100-200, Wide aperture of 5.6 and a shutter speed on less than 200. Furthermore if you like shooting in RAW, you need not be concerned about you white balance as you can do that when processing the image but if you shoot in JPEG I recommend changing your white balance setting to overcast. This will allow for the best white balance in order to get that picture of fog the way you want it.
These settings allow for the image to be both well lit and sharp. Another tip for getting really sharp images with good light is to use a timer and a tripod. I love using the timer for all my pictures because it means that there is no contact or movement of the camera when the shot is being taken. My aim with every shot is to reduce human contact always if applicable. So with most shots, especially when using a long exposure because any movement at all blurs the image.
Adding your own unique touch to photography is what is going to make you stand out. If you want your image to really pop, go above and beyond what you normally do. One of my favourite ways to do this and a really good photography tip for beginners is to use lights. Think about some of the most vibrant images on instagram. A lot of them have amazing colour, which is one thing that fog does not bring, so we need to bring it the the fog. Picking up a set of battery powered fairy lights could be one of the best things you’ll do for your photography all year. In the case of fog it brings out a different element that you brought to the table. Being unique with your lights and trying out different sort of compositions could lead to some of your favourite shots!
I don’t tend to take portrait pictures purely because I don’t have the time to grab someone when I want to head out to take pictures, I usually just go! But that’s okay, because if remember the timer on your camera? Well take portraits of yourself. Ye you might look a might odd but if you’re not comfortable just face the other way from the camera when taking the picture! A tip for foggy morning images is actually to do portrait photography because once again in bring another element into the image, making the fog a more dominant feature in the background. Portrait photography in the fog is phenomenal because it changes the image in amazing ways. If the subject is smiling, the fog is no longer as dark and has a sense of adventure to it but if the subject is facing away or has a serious face, it can change the fog into a ominous feature of the composition. Always keep this in mind when shooting portrait photography in the fog.
Finally I’m going to cover how to make your photo really vibrant in Adobe lightroom. This application is incredible and i recommend to absolutely everyone who is even remotely interested in photography. Check out the image below…
In the editing of this image, in order to make the fog dark and bring out the foreground tree that has fallen on the ground, I upped the exposure a touch and drastically reduced the highlights. In doing this I need to bring up the whites so the lights on the tree stood out. I love the colour of this image, it is perfect to add grain to and increase the sharpness. By increasing these two elements the picture becomes a touch more surreal but keeping it close to the original.
If you’re using Adobe Lightroom for the first time and are a beginner photographer, mess around with the application and see what works best for your type of photography.