Photography tutorials

How to Photograph Lightning

Advertisements

<meta name=”description” content=”Find out how to effectively take photographs of lightning with these top tips.”/>

How to Photograph Lightning

 

Photographing lightning can be tricky. It’s almost impossible to know exactly when and where it will strike. Even if you find yourself in the right conditions, you still need some luck and knowhow in order to actually capture it. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of taking a great photograph of lightning. In this post, we cover some of the essentials you need to know to successfully take pictures of storms.

Invest in a Tripod

It will be almost impossible to capture a storm without using a tripod. To see lightning, it will usually need to be dark out, or be framed on a dark background. Without a tripod, your shots will be blurry and unusable due to the lack of light.

A heavier tripod is better, as it won’t be affected by the adverse conditions of the storm. It’s also recommended that you use a remote trigger in addition, to reduce any camera shake.

Use a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

In order to photograph lightning, you’ll need to be able to change various settings on your camera. For this reason, most smartphone cameras or simple point-and-shoot devices are not up to the task. A DSLR or Mirrorless camera will give you the complete control that is necessary.

Use a Low ISO Setting

Try to keep your ISO as low as possible when shooting. Doing so will reduce the amount of image noise (graininess) on your photographs. An ISO of 100 is ideal, but you may need to slightly increase it if you’re not getting the desired results.

Try Different Apertures

Start with an aperture around f/8 and see how your shots are coming out. If you find that distant lightning branches aren’t visible, choose a wider aperture until they are. You may find that even with your aperture at its widest setting your shots aren’t bright enough. If that’s the case, it’s time to raise the ISO.

Play With Shutter Speeds

The shutter speed you choose will depend on how much ambient lighting there is. If there’s no natural light at all, you can leave your shutter open for 10-20 seconds and capture a variety of strikes. However, the longer your exposure, the more chance of digital cameras having lots of image noise. If there’s plenty of ambient light, you should opt for a few seconds maximum shutter speed.

Establish some test shots as it starts to get dark and make adjustments as necessary. From there, you can set your camera up to automatically take shots (using an intervalometer) every few seconds. However, ensure that you then make adjustments as the light changes.

Use Stacking to Create Images

To create images that have multiple lightning strikes, you’ll either need to use a film camera with one long exposure or take numerous shots with your digital camera and stitch them together. For the latter, you’ll need to use a post-processing tool such as Adobe’s Photoshop or Lightroom. Here, you can select a variety of images and layer them over each other, before blending them into one image.

Time-Lapses and Videos

By using your cameras intervalometer to take multiple shots of the same landscape, you can also create a stunning time-lapse of the storm. Alternatively, you can shoot video and use tools such as Premiere Pro to pick out stunning screenshots. However, if your camera using a rolling shutter, you may find that your stills are partially exposed. To reduce the chances of this happening, set your shutter speed to line up with your FPS.

<meta name=”description” content=”Find out how to effectively take photographs of lightning with these top tips.”/>

How to Photograph Lightning

 

Photographing lightning can be tricky. It’s almost impossible to know exactly when and where it will strike. Even if you find yourself in the right conditions, you still need some luck and knowhow in order to actually capture it. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of taking a great photograph of lightning. In this post, we cover some of the essentials you need to know to successfully take pictures of storms.

Invest in a Tripod

It will be almost impossible to capture a storm without using a tripod. To see lightning, it will usually need to be dark out, or be framed on a dark background. Without a tripod, your shots will be blurry and unusable due to the lack of light.

A heavier tripod is better, as it won’t be affected by the adverse conditions of the storm. It’s also recommended that you use a remote trigger in addition, to reduce any camera shake.

Use a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

In order to photograph lightning, you’ll need to be able to change various settings on your camera. For this reason, most smartphone cameras or simple point-and-shoot devices are not up to the task. A DSLR or Mirrorless camera will give you the complete control that is necessary.

Use a Low ISO Setting

Try to keep your ISO as low as possible when shooting. Doing so will reduce the amount of image noise (graininess) on your photographs. An ISO of 100 is ideal, but you may need to slightly increase it if you’re not getting the desired results.

Try Different Apertures

Start with an aperture around f/8 and see how your shots are coming out. If you find that distant lightning branches aren’t visible, choose a wider aperture until they are. You may find that even with your aperture at its widest setting your shots aren’t bright enough. If that’s the case, it’s time to raise the ISO.

Play With Shutter Speeds

The shutter speed you choose will depend on how much ambient lighting there is. If there’s no natural light at all, you can leave your shutter open for 10-20 seconds and capture a variety of strikes. However, the longer your exposure, the more chance of digital cameras having lots of image noise. If there’s plenty of ambient light, you should opt for a few seconds maximum shutter speed.

Establish some test shots as it starts to get dark and make adjustments as necessary. From there, you can set your camera up to automatically take shots (using an intervalometer) every few seconds. However, ensure that you then make adjustments as the light changes.

Use Stacking to Create Images

To create images that have multiple lightning strikes, you’ll either need to use a film camera with one long exposure or take numerous shots with your digital camera and stitch them together. For the latter, you’ll need to use a post-processing tool such as Adobe’s Photoshop or Lightroom. Here, you can select a variety of images and layer them over each other, before blending them into one image.

Time-Lapses and Videos

By using your cameras intervalometer to take multiple shots of the same landscape, you can also create a stunning time-lapse of the storm. Alternatively, you can shoot video and use tools such as Premiere Pro to pick out stunning screenshots. However, if your camera using a rolling shutter, you may find that your stills are partially exposed. To reduce the chances of this happening, set your shutter speed to line up with your FPS.

 

Advertisements

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply