To reduce haze in landscape shots, use a polarizing filter when shooting to cut down on scattered light. In post-processing, try adjustments like Dehaze, Clarity and Contrast in Lightroom to reduce the hazy effect and make the image crisper. You can also use Auto Tone in Photoshop.

Read on for tips on minimizing unwanted haze while photographing and removing it from images during editing.

What Triggers Landscape Haze?

Haze occurs when particles like dust, smoke and moisture scatter light rays moving through the air. As humidity rises, these particles often get larger, further reducing visibility. Haze can soften a scene and make landscape features less sharp.

How to Lessen Unwanted Haze While Shooting

Use the Right Gear

Bring items like a UV filter, tripod and wet weather gear to minimize hazy shots. For SLR cameras, a wide-angle lens can help, or pack a long lens to emphasize depth. Using a tripod allows you to test exposure settings. Stay open-minded when shooting haze.

Pick the Best Times

Haze is more common in the afternoon and evening when temperatures peak. The warmer, expanding air holds more particles. Daytime winds also stir up haze. Haze is often lowest in the morning when the air is cool, dry and still. It’s also less prevalent when sunlight passes through the least atmosphere, like when the sun is straight overhead.

Add a Polarizing Filter

Atmospheric haze is essentially light scattered by moisture and particles. A polarizing filter will cut this unwanted haze before you shoot, also improving clarity and sharpness by decreasing scattered light entering the lens.

Eliminate Air Haze

A UV or skylight filter takes out atmospheric haze that can make nature shots look dusty, murky and blue-ish. A quality UV filter shields your lens without affecting color, contrast or exposure. It lowers the chance of a blue cast and enhances accuracy.

Change Your Angle

Adjusting the camera angle to the sunlight can reduce haze, but dramatically altering orientation is only sometimes possible. Consider the light’s changing angle at various times of day instead.

Try Exposure Settings

Long exposures can capture mist movement and contrast between sharp and blurred elements. Even experienced photographers can learn a lot by experimenting with exposures in hazy, foggy conditions.

Mind the Balance

Since hazy scenes often lack color, pay attention to color balance to avoid dull, vanilla shots. Use proper white balance to offset morning cool tones. Consider shooting RAW for extra editing options.

Pro tip: To portray people as black silhouettes, expose for the haze, not the subject. This adds complexity and texture to the transient haze.

How to Remove Haze in Post-Processing

While some tips help minimize haze when shooting, you can also reduce its effects afterward:

Use Dehaze

Lightroom’s Basic panel has the Dehaze slider to decrease haze overall, but this can also overly saturate colors and darken the image. Use carefully along with upping exposure and lowering saturation.

You can also apply Dehaze with Masks above Basic. Mask out the areas you want the Dehaze effect to apply. Use the brush for small spots or the Gradient Filter if the sun comes from one side to choose large sections.

Add Clarity

The Clarity slider boosts mid-tone contrast. Natural or Classic settings work best for preserving highlights. Do white balance and Auto Levels adjustments first, ideally in individual Red, Green and Blue channels. The Structure slider likely won’t help much, but it depends on the haze severity. Slight haze in detailed shots may show improvements. For creative haze, gradually move Clarity and Structure left at low values.

Set Black and White Points

After adjusting mid-tones with Clarity, you may want to alter the black and white levels separately for desired results. Haze can wash out dark tones. Since black levels can shift with Dehaze and Contrast, recheck them after each change.

Use the Tone Curve

The Tone Curve Panel is right below Basic. Haze often appears when the curve’s solid left line sits above the dotted one. Click a left dot and drag it nearer the dotted line to reduce haze. The Tone Curve allows precise tone tweaks throughout the image, though changes can impact the whole photo. You can fine tune presets or target certain tones.

Correct White Balance

Depending on time and location, haze can alter White Balance in odd ways, like artificially warming the image or filtering out blue tones. It may also cause blue color casts. With RAW images you have great flexibility. White Balance can always be adjusted without degrading quality.

Try NeutralHazer

For full control, NeutralHazer is paid software that calculates air density per pixel, letting you define foreground/background boundaries and adjust their strengths and transitions.

Add Contrast

Boost contrast with the Contrast slider to restore it. Be aware this affects all tones including blacks, mids and whites. Use Clarity instead to avoid altering blacks and whites. The Unsharp Mask technique and adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw are also great for experimenting with “haze removal” by doing Local Contrast Enhancement through the Radius rather than a typical Amount value shift.

Haze Isn’t Always Bad

While haze can significantly impact your shot, limiting visibility, it can also be a positive! Haze may add mood and atmosphere to your images, changing how viewers interpret them.

It can be used successfully in landscape shots to enhance composition and convey a scene’s message. For example, it can clutter backgrounds, differentiate subjects, capture sunlight color and boost warmth and ambience. Consider creative ways to incorporate haze into compositions so it tells a compelling story.


Use a polarizing filter to cut scattered light for a crisper shot if you want to reduce haze, or shoot RAW and make adjustments during editing. Consider leveraging the lighting and incorporating haze as a design element for great results.