Studio light scheme for portraits with fog

Fog (“smoke”) is unreliable because dosing it is difficult. You may find your perfect f-stops and light power settings, but the variability introduced by a fog machine will force you to try and try again.

Of course, fog must be lit, or it won’t show up in photography. I’m presenting here a lighting scheme that I found working for the kind of fog effect I wanted.

I started modifying the scheme that I used here:

  • I closed the lens (Fujinon XF35/1.4) aperture to f/16 to focus as much fog as possible
  • I increased the power of the beauty dish, and I moved it off center to align it with the model’s line of sight
  • As a result of the reduced lens aperture, the relative power of the softboxes was quite low albeit set at 5.0 (the maximum on my units)
  • I did not use any light source for the background.


This is the result, after some photo-editing. I’m the model and the photographer :-)

Concept: pollution, polluted air. I'm blowing away smoke.
Concept: pollution, polluted air. I’m blowing away smoke.

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