Lighting Photography

Night Time Lighting Photography

* Set your camera on a tripod.
* Connect a cable shutter release or set the remote for taking the shots.
* Lock focus at infinity.
* Set the shutter speed to bulb 'B' (the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold it open). If you don't have this option, set the exposure time to the longest possible - realistically you need 10 to 30 seconds
* Set the aperture (F-stop) to between F2.8 and F5.6. Experiment a little with different settings but I recommend nothing higher than F8 unless you want many bolts of lightning to occur in the one photo.
* Frame the picture where the most lightning is occurring, or where the most spectacular clouds are.
* Observe the lightning for a short while before taking a picture. You will notice that some cloud to ground (CG) lightning strikes very fast (in a fraction of a second it has flashed and gone). Other CG bolts strobe or pulse for anything up to 2 seconds. Sheet lightning (anvil crawlers) sometimes lasts up to a second or more as it spreads across the sky. If the storm is close to you and/or you can see it growing or moving, then exposure times should be at most 15 seconds, or else the cloud will blur (especially if more than one lightning bolt occurs during the exposure). If the storm is a fair way away, you are only framing the storm base, or you cannot see it developing or moving, then exposures can be anything you like! I recommend between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. You can have longer exposure times for higher F stops.