Person photgraphing the northern lights in the Tromsø region

How to photograph the northern lights

A quick guide on how to capture the northern lights while staying in Tromsø. If you are coming to Tromsø to see the Aurora Borealis, getting great photographs is at the top of everyone’s list.

Many Northern Lights tours will take professional photographs for you to keep as a momento of your time. But if you are a keen photographer, instagrammer or videographer heres some tips on how to get the best Northern Lights photos. 

Happy photographing!

What to do:

  1. Set your camera in manual mode (M).
  2. Set the focus to Infinity.
  3. ISO is all about light sensitivity and poor light requires high ISO. Set the ISO to 3200. Depending on the light (very strong Northern Lights, full moon, lot of snow), 1600 or even 800 might be enough.
  4. You need the aperture (f) to be as wide as possible (the lowest number), f: 1.8, f: 2.8, f: 3.2
  5. You need to get the fastest possible shutter speed to “freeze” the Northern Lights’ movements. Long shutter speeds make the Green Lady appear like a veil over the sky. Anything from 2-30 seconds can work depending on your camera.
  6. Use a tripod or rest your camera on something steady. Set the self-timer on 2-3 seconds so you have time to let go of the button before it starts taking pictures.
  7. Be prepared! Sort your camera settings at home before you go out. You want to be ready if she appears. 


What you need

  • Camera with a wide-angle lens.
  • Tripod to keep the camera steady.
  • Warm clothes (wool in layers).
  • Headlight (to sort your camera settings).
  • Dark place (avoid light pollution).
  • Hot drinks to keep you warm.
  • Patience is your friend.