Essential Tips for Photographing Mist and Fog

One of my best photography memories happened when I was photographing fog in the wilderness in Washington state. 

Fog adds such an air of mystery to your photographs and landscapes. As someone from a traditionally dry state, the first time I saw real fog in the middle of nowhere I was incredibly fascinated.

But, when I started photographing fog, I quickly learned it is not an easy feat. The first problem I encountered was water droplets on my camera, and I didn’t understand how to prevent it from happening. I also found problems with lighting and depth. 

I want to go over all of the problems I’ve encountered with photographing fog so that you can learn. 

Beware Condensation

You can’t learn fog photography techniques if you run into the same problem while photographing fog as I did your camera gets covered with condensation. 

The biggest way to condensation forming on your camera or lens is to ensure that your camera and lens are the exact same temperature as the outside air. So, if you store your camera and lens in your warm or house before taking it out photographing fog, you’ll need to follow a few tricks.

Firstly, you need to stick your equipment into an airtight bag, like a Ziploc bag, in your home. When you go out to start photographing, do not take your equipment out of that bag until it has reached the same temperature as the air outside.  

A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes in your new environment before taking your equipment out of the bag. This should be enough time for even a large camera to cool down. 

But, you should also start looking into photography gear for photographing fog and mist, because a little condensation is bound to form on your camera if you’re in an extremely wet environment.

A Camera Canopy, for those who don’t know, is a shield for your camera that attaches to your camera via the shoe. I primarily use my Camera Canopy for photographing in either rain or snow, but it can also be incredibly helpful when photographing fog.

When photographing fog, it moves incredibly quickly, but more often than not you aren’t going to notice how quickly it is moving. One of the best tips for photographing fog I ever received was to shoot more photos than I thought I needed.

Now, I know this sounds a lot like spray and pray, but it’s a much more intentional technique. If you go out and take too few pictures the first few times you’re photographing fog then you won’t understand what perfect photos you missed because you didn’t take enough.

This way, you can compare photographs you took just minutes apart to learn how quickly fog moves so you will be better able to capture it next time you go out.

And, much like the sun, you only have a limited amount of time when you are photographing fog. You need to learn how long fog tends to linger in the area you’re photographing so that you understand just how quickly you need to move.