Photographing Lightning, the Guide...

March 12, 2013

How to photograph lightning….


  • Stay off of hills!
  • Keep away from electrical poles and metal objects, including fences.
  • Keep a safe distance from the actual storm.

OK…on to the photography

Shot last year in Defiance

It’s a little trial and error…but with today digital cameras it’s a lot easier than with film due to the instant ability to see the image and change settings.


  • Tripod
  • Shutter release or wireless trigger for safety
  • Generally at least an 18mm (with APS size sensor)
  • Rain Gear for the camera unless it’s sealed
  • Lens shade to keep water off the front of the lens
  • LUCK!

Generally it just fun from there… depending on the storm you can set your shutter from 10 seconds to 30 and I suggest f8 to f22 so most objects in the distance are in focus. Then just set your camera on manual focus and then to infinity.

I also try to use objects in the foreground to show the size of the storm. Like trees or buildings. Other helpful tips include using reflections in a pond or body of water…your image will be more interesting.

It’s all about trial and error….if the storm is really fierce… shorter shutter times will work too.

Have fun and be safe!