Photographing fog, steam and smoke can be challenging but rewarding. These elements add mood, mystery and drama to your images, but they also require careful exposure and composition. Here are some tips to help you capture fog, steam and smoke effectively.
- Use a tripod. Fog, steam and smoke often appear in low-light situations, so you may need a slow shutter speed to get a good exposure. A tripod will help you avoid camera shake and blur.
- Adjust your white balance. Fog, steam and smoke can affect the color temperature of your scene, making it look cooler or warmer than it really is. You can use a custom white balance setting or adjust it later in post-processing to get the right tone.
- Choose your focus point carefully. Fog, steam and smoke can reduce contrast and detail in your scene, making it harder for your camera to autofocus. You may need to use manual focus or select a focus point that has enough contrast and sharpness.
- Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Fog, steam and smoke can create interesting shapes and patterns in your scene, so try to move around and find different viewpoints. You can also use them to frame your subject or create a sense of depth and scale.
This article is aimed at just mist and fog, but it has many suggestions that can be used for any of the 3 themes with many good ideas and descriptions of approaches. The article reminds us that the camera exposure can be “confused” (just like for snow images) so be careful.  It points out that color and details will be diffused (which you can use as a plus) and offers many suggestions about composition.
How to Improve Your Fog Photography
Serena Dzenis - Iceland-Photo-Tours
There is a similarity between fog, steam, and smoke; they are all the result of something in the air.  This article gives 10 very good tips for fog and they can certainly also be used for steam and smoke photography:  Plan you Photography; Focus Manually (it can be difficult to find a focus point); use a Tripod; Switch to Manual Mode with Exposure Compensation; Use Fog/Steam/Smoke to Demonstrate Depth; Use the Light (side, back, front); Make use of Shapes and Silhouette; Key an Eye on Moving Smoke; Experiment with Texture; avoid condensation with fog (no problem with smoke).
This is a wee bit different from most articles in that it is a page on-top of a page.  It has some good ideas and photo, but you may have to enlarge it.  Here are the “tricks” with good explanation that explains why differences can have a big impact:  Emphasize Depth (close subjects have contrast but not distant subjects); Emphasize Light (often close light has streaks of light); Photographing from Without (take photos from OUTSIDE the fog/smoke) will emphasize the existence of the fog/smoke.
​​​​​​​How to Capture Photos in Foggy or Misty Conditions
Digital Photo Secrets
This article is focused on fog but shares some helpful ideas for smoke as well.  Fog, steam, and smoke can make the environment look like it is lighted by a soft box with few clear lines and the need for longer exposure and attention to appropriate focus.  Composition is important since objects in the foreground have more contrast and color.  
Outstanding Shots of Fog and Mist
David Peterson - Digital Photo Secrets
This is an article that is very different from the others: it only suggests that fog (and steam and smoke) saps contrast and color.  The only “real” suggestion is that you include a strong foreground.  But it includes 22 very good examples of a variety of foggy shots.  Practically nothing to read but some great examples of photo that may give you some ideas. 
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