How to Take Amazing Pictures of Lightning!




About: I'm a 15 year old kid who loves to make stuff with his hands. I hate having to pay someone to fix something, that why i like to fix it myself!

Using you digital camera, I will teach you how to take amazing pictures of lightning. All you need is a camera that you can change to exposure time. I have and love a Cannon PowerShot SD900. Its exposure can be set to up to 15 seconds.

Step 1: Setting the Exposure

In order to take photos of lightning you need to determine how long you cameras exposure can be set, or if it even has the exposure setting. An exposure setting on a camera is telling the camera shutter how long to stay open. The longer the shutter is open, the more light that can be let in. Remember: it must be dark outside to take lighting photos like this, because you are letting light in and during the day the picture will just turn out white due to alot of light being let in.

Normally, when looking to find this exposure setting, you will need to change your cameras setting into Manual Mode. Then go into the menu and serch for where it says something like shutter speed or long exposure.

Step 2: Picture Time!

Okay, now that you have set up your exposure setting it is time to take some cool pictures!

Here are some things you will need:

-Tripod (you will need your camera to be completely still during the time the shutter is open)

-Lightning Storm (Uhh...duh!)

-Patience (it may take some time to get the picture, I suggest setting a custom timer and telling you camera to take 10 pictures with the exposure on)

-Shelter (or something so your camera dose not get wet or damaged!)

Step 3: Exposure Can Also Be Used for Other Fun.

You may have seen people "draw with light" well now you know how to. All you need is a flashlight! Just simply walk in front of the camera when you are taking the picture and "draw" with the flashlight!



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    9 Discussions


    Check out my lightning photo instructable:



    9 years ago on Step 1

    For certain Canon point and shoot models: 1. Click the func. set button while in manual mode 2. Go to set the exposure 3. Click disp 4. Try to get the biggest number. Mine is 15" 5. ????? 6. PROFIT!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Also what a good thing to do to lower noise is to later take a photo with the lens cap on then in photoshop or whatever software use blend in the lenscap shot to reduce noise, it makes a difference in final product.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    A very useful Instructable. Thanks. If you have the appropriate model Canon camera you can dramatically change the firmware functions without modifying the permanent firmware at this site.
    I have been using this on a Canon A710 IS to set aperture open time to up to 64 seconds. Allows Raw shooting and saving as well as many other features.

    3 replies

    Thank you for your advice, although i belive that i cannot use CHDK. My canon is a SD900. I am not compleatly sure that i cannot use CHDK maby you could give me a little more infromation on it?


    Hi I have checked with some of the developers of the modified firmware and the SD900 is not ported yet to work on. It will take somebody to get interested at a programming level to port and modify the firmware. Pity as there are so many extra functions available. Keep checking this page for a change in the SD900 status Regards Harry