Northern Lights Photography

Northern Lights Photography : How to take photos of the northern lights with Your Smartphone

Unlocking the Secrets of Capturing the Aurora Borealis with Your Smartphone Like a Pro : Northern Lights Photography

Capturing the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights Photography with just your smartphone is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. Here’s your guide to immortalizing nature’s most mesmerizing light show using the device right in your pocket.

  1. Guided Tours: Joining a guided tour can enhance your aurora photography experience. Knowledgeable guides can lead you to the best spots, ensuring you’re in the prime position to witness and capture the luminous dance of colors.
  2. Sturdy Tripod: In Iceland’s often windy conditions, a steady tripod is indispensable for long exposures. Look for tripods with hooks to add weight, ensuring they remain stable even in fierce winds.
  3. Manual Focus: To capture crisp aurora shots in low light, lock your focus to infinity. Manual adjustment ensures your camera doesn’t struggle to focus, resulting in sharper images of the celestial spectacle.
  4. No Flash, Night Mode: Utilize your smartphone’s Night mode, available in models like the iPhone 11 Pro and newer, to adjust exposure time and capture the aurora’s graceful movements. Avoid using flash, as it can disrupt the natural ambiance of the scene.
  5. Apps for Enhanced Control: Explore photography apps like Northern Lights Photo Taker, NightCap Camera, or ProCam X Lite for Android users. These apps offer manual controls essential for capturing the subtle nuances of the aurora borealis.
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Northern Lights Photography
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Smartphone Camera Settings for The Northern Lights Photography

Before embarking on your journey to photograph the Northern Lights with your smartphone, familiarize yourself with these essential camera settings to ensure stunning results.

  1. Aperture Size: The aperture dictates the amount of light entering the camera lens. In low-light conditions like aurora photography, opt for a low aperture value, preferably f/2.8 or lower, to maximize light intake and capture the aurora’s brilliance.
  2. Exposure Control: While many smartphone cameras lack built-in exposure settings, external camera apps offer manual mode options. Experiment with exposure settings to control the amount of light hitting the camera sensor, crucial for capturing the subtle nuances of the Northern Lights. Some apps even allow exposures of up to 30 seconds for prolonged captures.
  3. ISO Sensitivity: ISO measures the sensor’s sensitivity to light. While most smartphones limit ISO adjustments to around 3200, some flagship models like the Huawei P30 Pro offer astonishing ISO values reaching up to 409,600. Start with an ISO setting around 1600 for aurora photography and adjust as needed. However, beware of increasing ISO too much, as it can introduce unwanted noise into your images.

Remember to explore and understand these camera settings on your smartphone before heading out to photograph the Northern Lights. With the right adjustments, you can capture the mesmerizing beauty of the aurora borealis with remarkable clarity and detail. 📷

Extra Tips for Capturing the Northern Lights Photography :

  1. Dim Screen Brightness: Reduce your screen brightness to preserve your night vision and avoid disturbing others enjoying the spectacle. A dim screen ensures your focus remains on the enchanting display overhead.
  2. Shoot in RAW: Opt for RAW format to capture more details, providing ample opportunities for post-processing to enhance the vibrancy and clarity of your aurora images.
  3. Battery Backup: Cold weather can drain your smartphone’s battery faster. Carry a power bank to ensure you don’t miss out on capturing the aurora’s magic during extended photography sessions.
  4. Experimentation is Key: Don’t hesitate to experiment with exposure times, framing, and compositions to create unique and captivating aurora shots. Including elements of the landscape can add depth and context to your photographs.
  5. Dress Warmly: Icelandic weather can be unforgiving, especially during aurora hunts. Dress in layers and ensure you’re adequately insulated against the cold to stay comfortable during your photography endeavors.
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Remember, while capturing the Northern Lights is undeniably thrilling, take moments to simply savor the experience without the distraction of gadgets. Sometimes, the most cherished memories are those etched in the mind rather than on camera roll.


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