My top 3 tips for northern lights photography

The northern lights is by far the most spectacular phenomenon I've ever witnessed, but also a real challenge to shoot. Here are my top 3 tips to get your postcard worthy northern lights photo in Lofoten or any other place in the world. *all photos featured were taken the same night

1. Use a tripod

I find myself always running into people trying to photograph the northern lights up here in Lofoten without a tripod. A tripod allows you to slow down your shutter speed to a couple of seconds, making the photos sharper and brighter.

2. Shoot wide and bright

I'm usually shooting around 16 - 24mm (on a full frame camera) and always with the brightest lens I have. The wideness of the lens allows for both foreground and plenty of the northern lights. The biggest problem of shooting the northern lights is the lack of light, which means high isos and slow shutter speeds. A bright lens allows for a cleaner image and greater tonal range. I'm usually around these settings: F/1.4 - 2 seconds - ISO 3200

3. Include foreground and elements

It's tempting to just shoot straight up and get most out of the lights, but mountains, people or other elements add depth to the photograph and tell more of a story. Here's where a wide lens comes into play, and don't be scared to go real wide - even bring out the fisheye.


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Hallvard Kolltveit Photography | Lofoten Islands, Norway | hallvard.kolltveit@gmail.com

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