Have you ever used a ‘mist’ filter with your camera? These are pretty weak – they usually produce an overall hazy glow to your pictures that doesn’t look that realistic. But there is a way to create ‘mist’ effects in Photoshop Elements that’s a lot more realistic. It uses adjustment layers, masks and blend modes, and while that might sound pretty complicated it’s actually quite straightforward. It’s also really easy to tweak the results once you’ve finished.

Elements mist effect

Here’s our start shot. It’s a good candidate because it has some three-dimensional depth which will make the mist effect look more real.

01 Add a Solid Color adjustment layer

Elements mist effect

This is going to be the main ‘mist’ layer. It’s nothing more than a solid color adjustment layer which I’m going to modify later. You can create adjustment layers using the drop-down menu at the top of the Layers palette.

02 Choose white for the colour

Elements mist effect

As soon as you create a solid color adjustment layer you’re prompted to choose the colour. This needs to be white – so just drag the colour selector ‘blob’ to the top left corner of the color picker.

03 Reduce the opacity

Elements mist effect

At first, all you see is a solid white, so make sure the new adjustment layer is selected in the Layers palette, then click the opacity gadget and drag the slider to the left. The image starts to appear and you can see the beginnings of the ‘mist’ effect. An opacity value of 75-85% is generally about right.

04 Select the Gradient tool

Elements mist effect

All new adjustment layers come with a layer mask directly alongside them in the Layers palette. You can click on the mask to select it and then edit it directly. For this, I need the Gradient tool – it’s in the tools panel on the left. When you select this, the tool options appear in the panel underneath the picture (this is new in Elements 11 – in previous versions there is an options bar along the top).

I need a simple black-white gradient – you should find one amongst the gradient presets.