How I get my subject to pop in foggy and rainy day photos

  • Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.

How I get my subject to pop in foggy and rainy day photos

Shooting during the rain and fog can be a lot of fun.

For my family, we enjoy going out for an adventure to one of our near by state parks when we see there is rain and/or fog in the forecast. Typically, there’s no one else around and it’s nice to have a whole park to ourselves.

I love a good rainy day and it’s even better if there’s fog.

Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.

Here’s how I do it.

In camera:

I almost always underexpose one stop if I’m in an area with no tree coverage above me. If I’m deep in the woods, I properly expose. This allows me to bring up the exposure on only the parts I want to in post processing such as my subject.

Color pop is a fantastic way of making your subject stand out against the gray gloomy backdrop. Choose colors such as yellow, bright blue, red, pink, etc. You can use the color in a rain coat, a pair of rain boots, pants, hat or umbrella.

Also, look for interesting elements in your environment that can add to your composition. Leading lines, negative space or a reflection are great ways to add an extra level of interest to your image.

Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
before
Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
after

Post processing:

For editing, I begin in Lightroom and make a few minor adjustments (sharpness, white balance, contrast).

Next, I open the image in Photoshop and get rid of any distracting elements using the healing brush and clone tool.

I will then use a selective color layer, invert it and brush it on to manipulate only the color pop. My daughter has a yellow rain coat, so I will move the color sliders to give the yellow more warmth and I use the blacks slider to add more contrast.

Next, I’ll add a levels layer. I pull the shadows slider to meet the start of the left side of the histogram. The highlights slider is then pulled to meet the start of the histogram on the right side. I will then adjust the mid-tones slider accordingly.

Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
before
Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
after

How I protect my gear:

I often take pictures in the rain, anywhere from a sprinkle to a heavy down pour. There are a few ways I keep myself somewhat dry and my gear totally dry.

I always wear a raincoat and tall rain boots. These help me to stay dry and the boots come in handy for standing in puddles or lake water. I always carry an oversized umbrella. I have found this is the best way for me to keep my camera dry.

I also have a rain resistant cover but it tends to cause fogging on my LCD screen and viewfinder. So I only use this if I can’t manage carrying an umbrella.

Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
before
Rainy and foggy days can be very gloomy to some. However, if you look for an interesting composition and use a pop of color, you can achieve a beautiful and interesting photo.
after

There you go! Now venture out and take photos outdoors on a rainy and/or foggy day!

About the Author:

Nicole is a natural light photographer who focus on nature, environmental and children portraiture. She happily resides in North Carolina with her husband and is a stay-at-home mom to their daughter. Nicole is an avid hiker and enjoys taking day hikes as well as weekend trips with her family. Visit Nicole Kost online.
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6 Comments

  1. Daenel T. Mar 21 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Your images are beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your editing tips. I’m inspired to go purchase a big umbrella and rain boots.

  2. Courtney Mar 21 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Such good tips! Off to get an oversized umbrella!!

  3. Didi Mar 22 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Love your rainy/foggy day images!!

  4. Christopher Hall Mar 23 2018 at 3:40 am - Reply

    I try to talk my clients into this idea but they don’t seem to like wet days.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Daniel Politowski Mar 27 2018 at 4:57 am - Reply

    Great pics 🙂 Sam for some time I do and I am looking for inspiration 🙂 I will definitely come back to your blog, best regards!

  6. Anthony Calleja Photography Mar 27 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Amazing Photography!!

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