Rock with a hole in it - Gatklettur

8 Tips for Landscape Photography in Iceland

In Blog by Jón Hil.

Iceland is a spectacular destination for those who are passionate about photography and traveling!

With its vast landscape and nature, Icelandic nature is quite unique and offers countless beauties of mother nature to be explored and captured with the lens. A passionate photographer always has a dream of enlivening an exotic private photography tour in Iceland. If you are one of those people, then Magical Sky Iceland is that one-stop solution to make this dream come true.

With 10 exquisite photography tours, you can explore the vast realms of mother nature and her exotic creations in Iceland. The guidance of ace photographer Jon Hilmarsson throughout the trip will ensure that your trip is both fun and knowledgeable. The Iceland native who founded Magical Sky Iceland will give you all the necessary knowledge regarding the exotic locations you get to visit.

Furthermore, Jon takes the excitement a step further by assisting you with your photography work and as he teaches you valuable tips to capture the best details of the locations with your camera while enjoying a memorable trip, as he takes you on a splendid journey through various arctic photo tours or landscape photo tours in Iceland. You will also get to catch up with other passionate photographers as you explore the beauty of Iceland.

Cool Tips for Landscape photography in Iceland!

The variety of natural geological formation throughout Iceland include numerous volcanoes, cliffs and an endless number of waterfalls. Adventurous photographers will find paradise in these series of attractions that make Iceland so unique. You can choose from the various photo tours different tours and package tours/workshops that Magical Sky Iceland offer and explore with Jon Hilmarsson, who is willingly ready to help you use your camera to compose your personal vision as you broaden your visual awareness!

Magical Sky – Photo Tips for Aurora

The Aurora or simple Northern Lights is undeniably one of the most fascinating natural phenomena known to mankind. It is a mixture of many hues flash and burns that flow across the night skies of the Earth‘s Polar Regions. The Aurora begins to appear as a faint glow of greenish light that gradually forms breathtaking rays, arc, and curtains of red, blue and purple hues across the sky. What is more fascinating is that this beautiful progression of colors slowly fades away only to reappear. Auroras can be calm, active or pulsating and appear at intervals of 1-3 hours several times during the night.

Picking a good location to shoot the perfect aurora pictures is the first and most important thing to do as a photographer. It is necessary to find dark places, away from light pollution and where there are little or no clouds. The best would be a location where the sky is clean and calm. If you wish to get artistic with you clicks, then try looking for a location with an interesting foreground, for example, like, abandoned house, lakes that give reflection, mountains, seascape, and lighthouses.

Patience is the key, so you have to watch the skies and await the wonderful light show once you have chosen your destination. It is recommended to look regularly at updated forecast since the clouds move and change rapidly.

Basic Photographic Tips

It is important that you know your camera gear well to try some amazing photography tricks for shooting the aurora. Make sure that you have made all the necessary adjustments and settings before the northern light display. Of course, the settings and tips vary across different camera models, but here are some tips to keep in mind to get you started.

  • Manually control the ISO settings of your DSLR camera to achieve the best possible results from your shots.
  • The highest possible ISO would be the most ideal setting for a perfect Aurora shot, preferable ISO is around 3200
  • Use the highest f stop possible, the lowest number
  • Use a fast and bright lens with high aperture, f/2.8 is good.
  • Either use live view or set pre-focus on infinity or the lens to manual focus
  • Since you will be using a tripod, its recommended to switch off image stabilizer on your lens.
  • Set white balance to auto or sunny, you can also correct it in post-processing
  • Always shoot in RAW format because it will give you more editing options in post-processing
  • Set LCD brightness to low-medium
  • Do not use any filters on your lens so as to avoid any interference in your photos.
  • Use a tripod that is easy to use and set up in the dark and is sturdy
  • It is recommended to use a wireless remote control for shutter release.
  • Don’t leave the lens open for the cold air as it may get damaged from the intense low temperature.
  • Use the lens hood to close it while you are waiting or not shooting.
  • Do not breathe towards the lens in the cold air, it can cause the lens to get covered with frost.
  • Always keep a cleaning cloth ready for clearing frost from your lens.
  • Since it is a game of “Wait and shoot”, always have plenty of spare batteries and extra memory cards with you.
  • Make sure the extra accessories and items you carry are designed to withstand the extremely low temperatures.

Milky Way Photo Tips

  • Look for a clear and calm night sky away from all light pollution.
  • The sky must be clear or good gaps in the clouds where the Milky way is situated.
  • Try looking for a location with an interesting foreground like lakes that gives reflection, mountains, seascape, and lighthouses.
  • No moon and little or very weak northern lights on the clouds where the Milky way is situated
  • Use DSLR camera which can shoot on high ISO, from 6400 till 12800.
  • A wide and bright lens with aperture f/2.8 or higher
  • The lens must be adjustable for manual focus.
  • Carry an easy you use and sturdy tripod
  • Use wireless remote control for shutter release
  • Switch off image stabilizer because you will be using a tripod


  • For performing Timelapse, use the same camera gear as for Aurora and Milky Way
  • The time lapse should be at least two hours at each photo location to have good shots to use in a time-lapse movie
  • Choose a location that is away from light pollution and the city’s hustle bustle because you are going to take multiple pictures over a long time.
  • Program the camera according to the strength of the lights, ISO from 1600-3200
  • Highest aperture f/2.8 or higher
  • Play with the exposure according to the strength of the lights.
  • Program your wireless remote control for shutter release and make sure that there is no pause between shots.
  • Keep checking regularly if there is some mist coming on the lens, then you need to wipe it off with your cloth
  • Be very quick each time to stop the session, because you don’t want to see some gaps or stutter in your time-lapse.

Dress for the Weather!

  • Since it’s a long wait doing time-lapse, be well dressed or sit in the car, bring something hot to drink
  • You may also have to spend long periods of time standing still outdoors while you are waiting and shooting the Aurora, so make sure you take plenty of layers with you.
  • Wear thermal trousers and coats, put on thick socks, gloves and a hat, and wear proper snow boots
  • Fur-topped outfits are the best and most recommended ones as the snow brushes off much easier
  • Carry and consume some warm chocolate drink and biscuit warm yourself up and keep active in the low temperatures
  • Carry a torch for helping yourself adjust your camera settings in the dark. A head torch would be the best option as it frees up both of your hands.