How to shoot lightnings

When I show someone (non-photographer) a lightning photo, they always ask: "How do you get the timing to press the trigger exactly when the lightning is there?"

I find this rather funny, because of course that's not the way it is done. I think most here know how to shoot lightning, but if there's someone, who don't:

Here are some tricks:

- set your camera to the lowest possible ISO (100 or 50)

- set your focus manual to infinity

- set your camera to full manual mode

- of course: use a tripod!

- set your exposure to about 30 seconds

- set the aperture to approx 8-16

- use a wide-angle lens, so you cover a big area of the sky

(thats for the night... if your shooting at day or dawn, the pictures will be much too bright. Then you have to shorten the exposure, increase the aperture or even use a neutral grey filter.)

Now aim your camera to the sky, push the trigger , and wait. If you're lucky you'll get a beautiful lightning photo.

It's so easy.

Unfortunately there where absolutely no thunderstorms here where I live for many months... so I'm eagerly waiting to do some new shots.

© Mangia

Photo credits: Brightdawn, Geoffrey Kuchera, Mt Bl.

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May 23, 2008


nice tips there Brightdawn, I use the BULB feeture that allows you to have the shuter opened for as long as you press the trigger and hope to be pointing in the right direction ;) I live in the Azores and so far no thunderstorms since I got my canon 350 digital, only have film pictures of lightning but I hope some thunderstorms hit the islands soon :) regards

May 23, 2008


Thanks for the tip. Your lightning shots are really quite spectacular. I live in Florida, the lightning capitol of the world. I'll have to try and get a few shots.

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