Demisting in Photoshop

We won’t do anything in this article that we haven’t done in earlier tips. It will be a slight contrast increase and the restoring of shifted color levels. The article provides solid basics to understand how the simplest Photoshop menu commands can be built upon each other and how they can be used to solve a seemingly difficult task. The difficult task, in this case, is to remove the veil of fog that has settled on the town.

Load the photo in Photoshop

I think there’s no need to lengthily explain what’s wrong with the picture. High humidity often produces such an effect if you use a tele lens. The photo is blueish and lacks contrast—it is misty. But surely it isn’t hopeless!

Restoring contrast

There are several methods for adjusting contrast. Feel free to browse around the links at the bottom of this page. We chose to use Image/Adjustments/Levels.

On the dialog, you’ll have to adjust the two arrows on the sides (the black and the white one). Drag them towards the middle of the diagram so that they at least touch the edges of the “mountain” in the histogram above. You can drag the black arrow even further. This will make contrasty areas in the foreground overly dark, but it is the town that matters to us now.

Set the arrows as desired, and keep an eye on how the original photo changes in the meantime.

Colors in dark areas

We’re done with contrast, but the mist put a blueish tint on the whole picture. We’ll need to remove that.

Click Image/Adjustments/Selective Color, which allows you to adjust colors based on hue and brightness intervals.

Firstly, select Blacks in the Colors dropdown. This controls the colors in darker, shadowed areas. Make sure to Relative is selected under Method.

Drag the Yellow slider to the right (for us, the proper value was +25%) to eliminate that blueish tint.

Colors in midtones

When you’re done, select Neutrals in the Colors dropdown, which controls colors for midtone areas.

Once again, primarily adjust the Yellow slider. We dragged it all the way to the right. This made blue-green areas a verdant green, as if basking in sunlight. We used the Magenta slider to make the red of the rooftops more lively, and decreased Cyan to reduce greenish hues.

It is important to remember that there are no fixed rules here. The above settings worked well only for the sample image. When dealing with your own photos, keep an eye on how the picture changes, and adjust the values accordingly.

Gone is the mist

In the distance, traces of fog are still visible, but they are necessary to maintain the spatiality and perspective of the picture. The main thing is that our town, shot with a tele lens, is finally visible in full color.