Creating Fog for effect


Use a fog machine to create atmosphere.

Once you notice how often TV, Hollywood and Advertising use fog machines you won’t be able to miss it.

Commercial photographers use a simple fog machine to add a haze to a room just before shooting to create visual FOCUS and separates subject from the background by muting background colors and enhancing the feeling of depth.

In professional work, FAST photography starts with the “T”–THINK. Nothing can be left to chance so each FAST element is considered and controlled in advance. Planning and designing the shot means the most casual and spontaneous looking images can be created on demand. Additional lighting can give the shot a nostalgic mood like the this one of a young student and his proud parents.


Fog machine for interior moods

A fog machines can be found at film, music and party rental firms and are fairly easy to use with a bit of practice. It is not a toy and heats oil to create the effect so please read and follow the instructions carefully. Depending on the mood desired a very brief burst will be added into the set from several locations if needed. The fog will be given a few moments to reach an even haze and shooting will start. This repeats until the shots are done.


Canyon set without fog


This pair of shots shows how fog can add realism to a model set landscape. In the first image the fog has not been applied so the entire image is well saturated and sharp all the way to the “sun-set”.



Canyon set with fog

The second image features a moderate amount of haze to add a dramatic sense of depth and atmosphere. The entire set is only 6 feet deep with the “sky” background about 10′ from the camera so you can imagine that the studio was quite hazy during the shot.



Studio set without fog


These two shots show a studio set before and after fogging. The lighting is strongly directional from the left to light features in the set “on demand” and to emulate an early morning/late afternoon sun.



Studio set with fog

With the fog added to the shot you can see how the directionally focused lamps create “light beams”. You will often see this effect at rock concerts to add drama. Now you know that there was a fog machine in use!


This was a complex set that rotated in front of a sky background that could be lit to appear noon to midnight. There were two mountain range pieces that fit in the background to add another layer of depth. Without the fog the reality of the set would have broken the illusion.

This final example is a typical “heroic” look. Based on the discussion above I bet you can figure out how this was achieved.



Product shot with dramatic light beams in fog

A single focused beam light was placed behind the product. A piece of cardboard with random holes cut in it was added to create streams of different sized beams of light. The “cookie”, “gobo” or “Cucoloris” is a fancy name for a device with holes cut in it to add special effects to lighting. A heavy blast of fog was added before taking the shot.

For light beams a focused light is needed. This can be any light used without diffusion and ideally sent through a Fresnel lens, barn door or snoot. Broad and diffused light will create a huge glow which can be very beautiful on its own but will not create the streams in this picture of computer towers.

Good luck. I hope this helps you create the image you are dreaming of.

  Shoot FAST
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