Northern Lights are really beautiful and not at all challenging to catch with a camera if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few guidelines that you might want to consider before venturing out to try and photograph the northern lights in Iceland:

How to Photograph the Northern Lights in Iceland

— DON’Ts —

  • Try to make do with your cameraphone. You need a proper camera.
  • Do not under any circumstances forget to take a tripod with you as you cannot “just” photograph the Northern Lights. And however little you think you move while waiting for your camera to take your picture, believe me: you do move. Movement = blurry pictures. We don’t want that.
  • If it’s primarily photography you’re into, I don’t particularly recommend going by boat, unless it’s a very still night on the sea. As great an experience as a Northern Lights hunt by boat is, you will have to contend with the motion of the ocean. Just go on a boat trip without your camera and enjoy the view.
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How to Photograph the Northern Lights in Iceland

— DOs —

  • Have a relatively good camera with you that allows for easy and quick change of settings.
  • You want to have your ISO set to 800 and your aperture as low as it goes.
  • Focus on a far away light source (preferably with manual focus as auto focus can be horribly tedious).
  • Your shutter speed should be anywhere between 5 seconds to 30 seconds, although the optimal would be between 5-20 (30 is for very faint lights, basically).
  • You can also do continuous shooting so that while shooting the lights you can enjoy watching them without having to look through your camera.
  • You do have to play around with the settings depending on the intensity of the lights but these guidelines should help you get the best of your photoshoot.
  • DO enjoy them without your camera, even if you choose to take the pictures manually.
The What's On Team
The What's On Team

What's On locations in downtown Reykjavík

  • Laugavegur 5 (Main Office)
  • Laugavegur 54 (Trip)

Opening Hours:

  • Mon-Fri 9:00 - 17:00 through phone or email.
  • (Opening hours are limited temporarily)

Contact What's On

The official source for safe adventure in Iceland is safetravel. It’s located in our Laugavegur 54 location.