50 Magical Examples of Misty Morning Photography

Morning can be a magical time of the day, especially when the light is perfect. Add some mist, and you’ve got a scene worthy of a fairy tale.

Unlike fog, which is denser and hides subjects from view, mist allows for both mystery and good visibility. Even if the mist is thicker, you can still get clear shots of the scenery. The misty background simply adds mystique.

Nevertheless, misty mornings can be difficult to photograph. Like Golden Hour and Blue Hour photos, you have to plan your shoot ahead of time for the best results. And like photographing snow, you might have trouble getting an accurate exposure.

Depending on how thick the mist is, your images may turn out underexposed unless you use bracketing, spot metering, or exposure value compensation to get the right exposure. In any case, you’ll want to use a tripod to minimize blur, unless you can get away with a fast shutter speed.

Getting a good exposure can be tricky, but it’s only half of the challenge. The other half is finding a misty scene that’s worth photographing. Below are some tips to help you conquer that challenge.

Head out before sunrise.

Again? Yes. The best photos of mist are often taken in the early hours, when everyone else is still at home. Just like with sunrise photos, it’s crucial to get up before dawn for the most stunning shots. You can check the local forecast the day before to make sure you’re likely to see mist. Then, set your alarm, and don’t ignore it! If you get up too late, you might miss the beauty, as mist typically disappears as the day gets warmer.

Roman Vanur – Misty morning

Roman Vanur - Misty morning

Marco Bergner – Pastel Dawn

Marco Bergner - Pastel Dawn

Look for water.

Mist forms when water in the air cools down quickly. The rapid cooling is most likely to happen around water, which differs in temperature from the land. This difference in temperature affects the air as it drifts over the land and water, leading to mist.

If you don’t have much water in your local area, wait for high humidity and a large difference between day and night temperatures. These conditions are common in autumn, when nights are long and clear, allowing the ground (and the air above it) to rapidly cool down. Then, you’ll get mist over the land, even if there’s no lake, river, or ocean nearby.

Gumball Photography – Cincinnati Skyline

Gumball Photography - Cincinnati Skyline

Desiree_Elaine – Sunrise at Bells

Desiree_Elaine - Sunrise at Bells

Choose something to focus on.

Once you’ve found some lovely mist, your next task is to find a second subject to focus on. This second subject doesn’t have to be fancy or eye-catching. It can be anything, from a nearby tree to the ground in front of you. Its main purpose is to give the image a visual foundation, which can help draw viewers into the mist.

Tim Vrtiska – Tree Farm

Tim Vrtiska - Tree Farm

Zed The Dragon – Le Mont-Saint-Michel un matin.

Zed The Dragon - Le Mont-Saint-Michel un matin

Experiment with minimalism.

Mist and minimalism work great together, especially for black and white photos. Mist creates a natural white background which can remove distractions and contrast beautifully against dark subjects.

Nimit Nigam – Varanasi Morning….

Nimit Nigam - Varanasi Morning....

Ryan – Misty Morning Calm

Ryan - Misty Morning Calm

Try to backlight the mist.

Because mist is thinner than fog, it can sometimes be hard to notice unless there’s light shining through it. This light can come from any source, like flashlights, street lamps, or sunbeams. In the morning, the most natural choice is sunlight. If the sun’s not too bright, try facing it to get striking shots of sunbeams burning through the mist.

Marco Bergner – The Sunbeam

Marco Bergner - The Sunbeam

Paul Shears – Misty Dawn

Paul Shears - Misty Dawn

Shoot the mist from above.

Another way to make mist look more “obvious” or impressive is to shoot it from above. A higher vantage point can turn a blasé misty morning into a spectacular, otherworldly scene. The same technique works for fog, too, so if you’re unsure whether the morning will bring thick fog or thin mist, you can head up higher for guaranteed nice shots.

Fotis Mavroudakis – Misty valley panorama

Fotis Mavroudakis - Misty valley panorama

Shirren Lim – .The Clouded Morning.

Shirren Lim Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Indonesia

Get inspired by misty morning photos from other photographers.

Still at a loss about where to go or how to shoot a marvelous misty photo? Take inspiration from the following photos. One of these shots might give you a new idea, motivating you to set your alarm and get out there on a misty morning. Even if you don’t end up with the shot you hoped for, you’ll at least have more experience for getting better photos next time!

And if you do get that coveted shot, share it with us on Instagram or in our Flickr community so we can admire it!

Wiesław Ludwiczak – misty morning

Wiesław Ludwiczak - misty morning

Heather Katsoulis – misty morning

Heather Katsoulis - misty morning

Håkan Dahlström – Blue misty morning…

Håkan Dahlström - Blue misty morning...

Ian Sane – Misty Morning

Ian Sane - Misty Morning

Bhanu Tadinada – Misty Morning

Bhanu Tadinada - Misty Morning

bullets95 – A misty morning

bullets95 - A misty morning

Richard Walker – Misty Morning

Richard Walker - Misty Morning

peter burge – A very misty morning

peter burge - A very misty morning

Susanne Nilsson – Misty Morning

Susanne Nilsson - Misty Morning

Liam 38 – Misty Morning

Liam 38 - Misty Morning

Karsten H.68 – Misty Morning

Karsten H.68 - Misty Morning

Hefin Owen – Misty morning sunrise.

Hefin Owen - Misty morning sunrise.

TroyMarcyPhotography – Foggy Morning on the Mississippi

TroyMarcyPhotography - Foggy Morning on the Mississippi

Steve Stanger – Ocean Grove pier #2 (Ocean Grove, NJ)

Steve Stanger - Ocean Grove pier #2 (Ocean Grove, NJ)

Jack Nobre – 2017 last Sunrise

Jack Nobre - 2017 last Sunrise

Hadley Johnson – Super Moon Setting

Hadley Johnson - Super Moon Setting

Ludovic Cadet – Early morning

Ludovic Cadet - Early morning

Robert Felton – Misty Morning Reflection

Robert Felton - Misty Morning Reflection

Amine Fassi – Morning Dark Reflection

Amine Fassi - Morning Dark Reflection

Denise Worden – Standing At The Edge

Denise Worden fog over water

Denise Worden – Daydream

Denise Worden fog trees

Jette Baltzer – Heading for safety

Jette Baltzer lake denmark

Robert Felton – Misty Morning Light

Robert Felton - Misty Morning Light

Denise Worden – Sitting In Stillness

Denise Worden misty lake

Greg David – Moment of Silence

Greg David mist sunrise

Denise Worden – Is There Anybody Out There?

Denise Worden foggy lake

Ahmad Syukaery – Sunrise at Mantar, Sumbawa

Ahmad Syukaery - Sunrise at Mantar, Sumbawa

Andy Farmer – Morning Run

Andy Farmer - Morning Run

Robert Felton – Sunrise Mist At Ducks Cross

Robert Felton - Sunrise Mist At Ducks Cross

Marco Bergner – Moorstimmung IV

Marco Bergner Kaltenhofer Moor

Jim Smith – morning coffee

Jim Smith morning boat

mehmet onelge – Morning fog on the river

mehmet onelge - Morning fog on the river

Nimit Nigam – Umaid Bhawan Palace

Nimit Nigam - Umaid Bhawan Palace

James Jordan – Misty autumn dawn

James Jordan - Misty autumn dawn

J a s o n B o l d e r o – Hiatus

mist trees

CLAUDIA DEA – delicate trees

trees in mist

Gael Varoquaux – Surfer in the haze

Gael Varoquaux - Surfer in the haze

Thomas – Autumn Morning

Thomas - Autumn Morning