How to Photograph Lightning – Tutorial & Pro Tips 4K

How to Photograph Lightning – Tutorial & Pro Tips 4K

How to take beautiful pictures of lightning and the best cameras for lightning photography and video. Camera settings and tips… To license video contact

Use a tripod so that you can take long exposures without motion blur. The heavier the tripod, the better. Instead of pushing the shutter button on your camera body, use a cable release. That way you won’t risk moving the camera with your big clumsy finger.

Set your camera on manual focus and focus on infinity. CAREFUL! Many camera lenses focus beyond infinity so I always have to nudge my focus back a hair. Focus on a distant light to make sure you’re in perfect focus.


Start with your ISO set at 100.

Start off in the middle around F8.
If lightning is striking far away, and shows up too dim, open your f-stop more to f5.6 – f2 until all the branches are nice and bright. If you have too much light, close your f-stop to f11 – f22. If your f-stop is open all the way and the lighting branches still are not showing up well, then bump up your ISO to 200, 300, 400 etc.

When it’s finally dark enough, start taking long exposures… 1 second – 10 seconds or more depending on how much ambient light there is. My favorite time to shoot lightning is at sunset. Because of all the existing light, you can only leave your shutter open a second or two. Once it’s pitch black, you can leave your shutter open for 10, 20, 30 seconds or more.

The best cameras for lightning photography are the ones with manual settings options. Most digital DSLR cameras or mirrorless cameras have these options. Nikon, Cannon, Sony, Fuji, etc. all work great.

The best way to take photos of lightning with a phone camera is to just shoot video and then take a screen grab of a good frame. You might get lucky trying to take a photo with burst mode or by simply taking a normal photo, but the cards are stacked against you.

Most video cameras nowadays are equipped with a rolling shutter. that means the frames you are capturing are recorded through a scanning process that rolls down the sensor. Though this process occurs really fast, lightning is much faster. The result is often annoying blocky rectangles called partial exposures.

Most negative lightning strikes I capture on video are ruined with partial exposures. Positive lightning channels and anvil crawler lightning tend to exist longer, thus are captured some-what better by rolling shutters. While shooting video of lightning with a rolling shutter, I usually set the shutter speed at 30, the frame rate at 30 and cross my fingers.

Another option is to invest in a camera with a global shutter. A global shutter scans a snapshot of the entire scene all at once. So, no partial exposures. The catch is you’ll likely spend thousands of dollars at least on a good HD or 4K camera and the global shutter technology is not one for low light sensitivity.

“Won’t Pray Adagio” by Southern Backtones
guitar score by Hank Schyma
“Ode to Joy” performed by Hank Schyma

*** FREE Pecos Hank 2018 calendar poster file ***

You can shrink it down and print it on your home printer, or have a shop print the full 24×16. You can also use it as your desktop background.

I’d love to know what country or state this poster is hanging up in so let me know in the comments.
Merry Christmas from Texas!

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