Northern Lights Photography Tips

By Michelle Yastremsky

Now that you've mastered how to find the Northern Lights, it's time to learn how to take this breathtaking phenomenon and catch it on camera!
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Here are 5 tips to help photographing the Northern Lights - make sure your camera is charged and ready!

Start with the setting

The Northern Lights are majestic in any setting, but if you're going for that perfect photo, why not choose a landscape worthy of this natural wonder? Glacial lagoons, rolling hills, spruce trees covered in snow, wild animals at bay, or historic landmarks in the background of your Aurora photo can help take that shot to the next level.

Choose a high iso, long exposure

Shooting with an SLR? Play around with your settings to help optimize your photo results. Open your lens to its widest aperture, set your ISO between 800 and 3200, and choose an exposure of around 15 seconds.

Try it with a tripod

This is especially important when shooting long-exposure. The tripod will not only help stabilize the photo, but once you've finished setting up, you can focus more on enjoying the light show and less on positioning your camera.

Clouds can be foe or friend

0-10% cloud coverage is ideal for your Northern Lights photo shoot, but 10-20% cloud coverage can help make it artsy. While cloudy skies will keep your naked eye from seeing the Northern Lights, they can actually be beneficial for catching that jaw-dropping shot. Your camera can see colors and light movements your eyes may not, and the clouds can help frame that aurora dance quite beautifully.


The Northern Lights really are as beautiful in reality as they are in photos. But that still doesn't mean you shouldn't use all your available tools to make the photo pop! Avoid over-editing, and stick to bringing out the colors of the Aurora, instead. You can use the vibrance tool or mess around with the color balance to really make those otherworldly greens and yellows pop.

Did you take an amazing photo of the Northern Lights? Share your photos with us on Facebook!

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