100 Best Places for Photographing Iceland + Tips for Aurora

Complete guide to Photographing Iceland blog cover.  Text overlaying an image of Vestrahorn Mountains.

Every landscape photographer dreams of photographing Iceland and its many natural marvels. From ice caves to aurora borealis (northern lights) to volcanoes and more, it is truly a paradise for nature lovers.

This guide will cover the best locations to photograph in Iceland as well as some general tips and guidance for photographing them.

If you are interested in browsing or purchasing any of our Iceland photos, you can find our Iceland print gallery here.

You may also be interested in our other Iceland guides:

Top 10 Photography Locations in Iceland

There are simply too many amazing places to photograph in Iceland to cover every single one in detail or to visit in one trip. However, these 10 locations are the absolute essential destinations for every Iceland photographer’s bucket list.

If you see nothing else, make sure you visit these places.

1. Diamond Beach

A photographer stands ashore at Diamond Beach during sunset in Iceland.
Diamond Beach at sunset just might be the most spectacular place in the world for landscape photography.

At the top of every Iceland photography bucket list is Diamond Beach. This unassuming black sand beach is home to one of nature’s greatest miracles…

Known locally as Brei√įamerkursandur, the colloquial moniker of Diamond Beach comes from the large chunks of ice that break off of icebergs and wash ashore, closely resembling massive diamonds. Much like the colors in a glacier, they often have deep hues of blue, aqua, and sea green.

This natural phenomenon only occurs in a few places in the world, but nowhere else will you find it in tandem with the volcanic black sand. The contrast in luminance and color tones makes the diamonds sparkle brighter.

The Northern Lights dance over the mountains and ice diamonds of Diamond Beach.
The Northern Lights dance over the mountains and ice diamonds of Diamond Beach.

The truly fortunate may even witness the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) dancing above, capturing many of Iceland’s greatest natural marvels in one photograph. While this requires a bit of luck and photography comprehension, the result will be once-in-a-lifetime.


2. Mt Vestrahorn

Aurora Borealis swirls above Mt Vestrahorn in this night photograph of Iceland.
Aurora Borealis swirls above Mt Vestrahorn.

Mt Vestrahorn is an isolated mountain in Stokknes on the southwest shore of Iceland. It is a favorite place for every landscape photographer due to its savage, undeniable beauty and dramatic setting.

The black sand beach at its base provides incredible photographic opportunities for mountain reflections, or for simply capturing the tides rolling in. The other popular option is to shoot from just up the beach where rolling black dunes and tufts of golden-yellow grass create a unique texture and foreground unlike any other.

From the beach at Mt Vestrahorn, you will be facing north toward the mountain. This means that even during the faintest of northern lights displays, you have a high probability of capturing it in your frame.

Jumping for joy in this moody photo from Vestrahorn in Stokksnes.
Jumping for joy in this moody photo from Vestrahorn in Stokksnes.

There is no bad time nor bad weather to photograph at Mt Vestrahorn. Even on a cloudy day, the moody grey works to create an almost ominous tone. The golden grass pops as the only color in this otherwise monotone scene.


3. Skogafoss

A man in a red jacket crouches under a colorful rainbow at Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland.
Sitting under the rainbow at Skogafoss falls.

Skogafoss is the most iconic and most visited waterfall in Iceland. This powerful display features a width of 82 feet (25 meters) with a plunge of almost 200 feet (about 60 meters).

There are numerous things to love about photographing Skogafoss waterfall. The first is that it is located a short stroll from the parking lot, making it easy to visit. The next is that you can walk right up to the plunge to feel its spray and raw power, or climb the steps to the top of the falls to look down. The last is that in sunshine or even moonlight, the spray is enough to combine with the light to create spectacular rainbows (or moonbows)!

Photography tips on using the human element to show the size and scale of Skogafoss waterfall.
Consider introducing the human element to capture the size and grandeur of Skogafoss.

The most difficult thing about photographing Skogafoss is battling the enormous crowds and keeping your lens clear of spray. Bring lots of microfiber cloths and try to get there early to minimize these factors.

EXPLORE THE 100 BEST ICELAND WATERFALLS HERE.

4. Vatnajökull Glacier Ice Caves

Light bursts through a small window in the ice cave of Vatnajökull Glacier.
Light bursts through a small window in the ice cave of Vatnajökull Glacier.

Winter visitors of Iceland have the rare and spectacular opportunity of photographing ice caves. These large glacial tunnels create one of the most incredible landscapes you will ever encounter. What’s more, every year they form differently so you will never see the same ice cave twice.

The best and most easily accessible are the Vatnajökull ice caves in Skaftafell National Park which form throughout the largest glacier in Europe. In order to access them, you will need special equipment for hiking glaciers and a local tour guide.

Do not attempt to hike to the ice caves without a guide!

A girl admires the color and texture at the entrance to Treasure Island ice cave in Iceland.
Admiring the color and texture at the entrance to Treasure Island ice cave.

There are a few Icelandic experts who scout the caves that form each year, name them, and provide the information to local tour companies (or operate their own.) Attempting to find them yourself is extremely dangerous. What’s more, even local experts have expired due to a toxic gas that can form in the caves and equipment is needed for monitoring the air before exploration.

Guided Ice Cave Tours

The following are all highly rated ice cave tours to consider, though you may wish to jump down to the Iceland Photography Tours section of this guide to find out more information on booking the right one for you.


5. Kirkjusfellsfoss

Magical sunrise photography in northwest Iceland at Kirkjufellsfoss on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Sunrise at Kirkjufellsfoss on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Northwest Iceland.

Kirkjufellsfoss is the crown jewel of the Snæfellsnes peninsula; a region known for being one of the most beautiful in the country.

In Icelandic, the suffix “-foss” means waterfall. Accordingly, most of the waterfalls are named for something they resemble or a nearby feature. The large, conical mountain that resembles a wizard’s cap is Kirkjufell, translating to church mountain. Kirkjufellsfoss is the waterfall at its base.

Naming conventions aside, the scene that comes together here is one of otherworldly beauty. A small but vibrant waterfall spills through the foreground with the large mountain adorning the backdrop. At sunrise, the sky often adds some color and magic, though it is even more popular at night when the aurora is on display.

Night photography featuring Kirkjusfell Mountain  and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall under the Aurora Borealis.
Kirkjusfell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall under the Aurora Borealis.

While the photographs depict a remote, unspoiled landscape, the road is actually just in front of it all with an entire parking lot and even a town only slightly out of frame to the right! This is one of those places where the picture is often more charming than the experience, but it is undeniably an amazing place for photography.


6. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Photographing Iceland at sunset with pink tones filling the sky above Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Pink tones fill the sky during an icy sunset at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

The land of the midnight sun is home to multiple glaciers. In particular, Jökulsárlón Glacier is responsible for many of the most beautiful landscapes in Iceland. You have already seen Diamond Beach and the ice caves that form near here, and now you are discovering Glacier Lagoon.

On the black sand lakeshore, mountains of jagged ice fragments pile up like fallen leaves. The view looks across this frozen lagoon at distant mountains which adds a sense of drama to your composition.

Wrapped in a blanket under the stars and polar lights at Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.
Wrapped in a blanket under the stars and polar lights at Glacier Lagoon.

From the shore, the view is facing north making it a popular destination for northern lights photography. However, sunset can also be quite special and should be considered if you have already spent an evening photographing Diamond Beach.


7. Reynisfjara (Black Sand Beach)

A cinematic photo on a stormy Icelandic morning at Reynisfjara Beach.
A cinematic photo on a stormy Icelandic morning at Reynisfjara Beach.

Massive columns of black basalt rock line the shores at Reynisfjara, also known as Black Sand Beach (despite being one of many black sand beaches in Iceland.) This popular spot is located near the city of Vik in Southern Iceland.

Reynisfjara will be busy nearly any time of day and can be challenging to photograph as a result. However, mornings are the best time to limit the crowds and also provide the nicest light when there is a sunrise to be had.

To create a cinematic feel, consider introducing a subject in red to this night-black landscape. This stark contrast is extremely effective in creating a mood to your image.

A girl in a red cape looks at the columnar rock of Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland on a storm day.

8. Godafoss

Iceland photography featuring the pink skies of a winter sunset at Godafoss waterfall.
A winter sunset at Godafoss Waterfall.

The small but idyllic Godafoss is one of the most picturesque waterfalls you will find anywhere in the world. Massive icicles form in the wedges where the thundering waters stream over the edge.

At first glance, the falls at Godafoss may slightly resemble those of the “natural wonder of the world” of Niagara Falls. In reality, they are much smaller than might be expected after seeing photos.


9. Lake Myvatn / Grjotagja Cave

Using a red dress to create a fairytale feel at Grjotagja Cave near Lake Myvatn.
Using the red dress once more to create a fairytale feel at Grjotagja Cave near Lake Myvatn.

Near serene Lake Myvatn in Northern Iceland is Grjotagja Cave. This small cavern, complete with a geothermal hot spring, feels like it was stolen from a movie set. In fact, Game of Thrones has borrowed this location for filming!

Once a popular bathing site, soaking is no longer allowed following eruptions from 1975 to 1984 which caused the temperature of the water to rise to more than 122¬įF (50¬įc). Still, the photo opportunity it presents is reason enough for visiting.

The deep-aqua water and rising steam creates a dreamlike atmosphere, particularly when the sunlight streams in.


10. DC-3 Plane Wreck

Aurora photography featuring a visitor staring up at a northern lights tornado from the DC-3 Plane Wreck.
Staring up at the northern lights tornado from the DC-3 Plane Wreck.

The famous DC-3 Plane Wreck in Iceland has become one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland. Out in the middle of nowhere lies the remnants of a small plane that crashed in 1973. Due to its remote crash site and difficulty in moving it, it was opted to just leave it there.

Since photographers (and Justin Bieber!) brought it to the public eye, it has become one of the most visited destinations in the country. There is some debate as to whether it should be preserved as a kind of art installment, but the consensus was made to let nature take its course.

The hike is a lengthy one but the trail is quite clear. Alternatively, there are tours available that provide ATV delivery to save the walk. You can choose either to take a two-hour ATV tour or a full-day tour that includes a visit to the plane wreck.

If you are going there with photography in mind, try to arrive before sunset and stay for at least a couple hours of nightfall to capture some aurora… just be sure to bundle up and carry a flashlight!

*It is worth noting for the superstitious that no one perished in this crash. *


Top 100 Locations for Photographing Iceland

The Golden Circle is home to some of the best locations for Iceland photography, with Gullfoss Waterfall pictured here as the standout attraction.
The Golden Circle is home to some of the best locations for Iceland photography, with Gullfoss Waterfall as the standout attraction.

There are endless incredible places to photograph in Iceland, but these are the 100 best destinations to add to your itinerary:

  1. Diamond Beach
  2. Mt Vestrahorn
  3. Skogafoss
  4. Vatnajökull Ice Caves
  5. Kirkjufellsfoss
  6. Reynisfjara
  7. Glacier Lagoon
  8. Godafoss
  9. Grjotagja Cave
  10. DC-3 Plane Wreck
  11. Blue Lagoon
  12. Seljalandsfoss
  13. Arctic Stonehenge
  14. Gulfoss
  15. Strokkur Geyser
  16. Seljavallalaug Spring
  17. Svartifoss
  18. Hof Church
  19. Viking Village
  20. Bruarfoss
  21. Hverfell Crater
  22. Lake Myvatn
  23. Reykjadalur Hot River
  24. Fja√įraŐĀrgljuŐĀfur Canyon
  25. Gljufrabui Falls
  26. Snæfellsjökull Nat. Park
  27. Hoffell Hot Spring
  28. Dettifoss
  29. Kolugljufur Canyon
  30. √ěingvellir Nat Park
  31. Oxarafoss
  32. Keri√į Crater Lake
  33. Aldeyjarfoss
  34. Dynjandi
  1. Skaftafell
  2. Skorhagafoss
  3. Thjorsardalur Valley
  4. Stjórnarfoss
  5. Hengifoss
  6. Westfjords
  7. Barnafoss
  8. Fja√įr√°rglj√ļfur Canyon
  9. Norafoss
  10. Faxifoss
  11. Malarrif
  12. Gatanof
  13. Hvítserkur
  14. Sval√ĺ√ļfubjarg
  15. Valahn√ļkar og Karlinn
  16. H√°ifoss og Granni
  17. Stjórnarfoss
  18. Vei√įiv√∂tn
  19. Kerlingarfjöll
  20. Hveravellir
  21. Fja√įr√°rglj√ļfur
  22. Fjallsárlón
  23. Folaldafoss
  24. Hengifoss
  25. Litlanesfoss
  26. Ljósastapi og Skjólfjörur
  27. Fuglabjarganes
  28. Glymur Waterfall
  29. Grundarfoss
  30. Selfoss
  31. Stu√įlagil canyon
  32. Hverarönd
  33. Hraun
  1. Kolufoss
  2. Gjögur
  3. Berserkjahraun
  4. Kerlingarfoss
  5. B√ļ√įir og B√ļ√įahraun
  6. Arnarstapi
  7. Svörtuloft
  8. Kvernafoss
  9. Sv√∂√įufoss
  10. Hraunfossar
  11. Mors√°rfoss
  12. Black Lava Beach
  13. Snaefelsness Shipwreck
  14. Hellnar Arch
  15. √ěakgil
  16. Hverir Geyser
  17. M√ļlafoss
  18. Reykjafoss
  19. Golden Circle
  20. Myvatn Baths
  21. Vatnajokull National Park
  22. Selvallafoss
  23. Stu√įlafoss
  24. Waterfall Circle
  25. Glj√ļfurs√°rfoss
  26. Almannaskar√į
  27. Dyrhólaey
  28. Gluggafoss
  29. Hvítárfoss
  30. Englandsfoss
  31. Hafragilsfoss
  32. Gj√°in
  33. Anywhere with horses
CLICK DROP DOWN TO BROWSE ICELAND PHOTOS FROM THE TOP 100 LOCATIONS

  • Iceland sunset photography from Diamond Beach.
    1. Diamond Beach


Tips for Photographing Iceland

Long exosure Iceland photography of Bruarfoss on a sunny day.
Bruarfoss Falls on a sunny afternoon.

Regardless of your skill level, you may encounter some conditions and events when photographing Iceland that you are not prepared for. The arctic winter climate presents unique challenges, and photographing a moving sky at night is not an easy thing to master.

This section of the Iceland photography guide provides some expert photography tips and insights to help you capture the impressive sights you will discover.

Photographing the Northern Lights

Photographing aurora in the mountains of Southeast Iceland.
The Northern Lights dance above the mountains in southeast Iceland.

Photographing the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights is an incredibly challenging thing to do for beginners and even amateur photographers. It combines the already-difficult task of shooting at night with the challenge of capturing a moving target.

There are many considerations that have to be made such as seasonality, weather conditions, equipment, and moon cycle, and that is before getting into the camera settings!

If you have hopes of shooting this for your first time, we have created a comprehensive guide to photographing the aurora that covers every single factor for you to consider as well as apps and tips that may prove useful.

Photographing Ice Caves

Booking the right guide will make all the difference in your ice cave photographs.
Booking the right guide will make all the difference in your ice cave photographs.

Iceland is home to some of the most spectacular ice caves you will find anywhere in the world. The majority of those accessible to tours are located within the glacier of Vatnajökull National Park.

Unless you are an absolute expert in glacier hiking and navigation, you will need to book a photo tour in order to see the ice caves. Additionally, they only form in the latter winter months into early spring.

The best thing you can do to guarantee a positive experience is book a photo tour with a smaller group size. Factoring the price, ratings, trip length, and group size, we recommend the Skaftafell Ice Cave Tour & Glacier Hike.

Arctic Adventures is the most popular, but mostly because they have the best marketing. They offer full-day tours that include a stop in one of the ice caves, but they also bring in groups by the literal busload. This means the caves they visit will be largely chewed up and you will be dealing with crowds throughout your day.

Or, browse one of the many ice cave tours and decide for yourself!

You will want to make sure you bring a tripod as it is rather dark in the caves. Also, wear brightly-colored jackets if you plan on including yourself or a partner in the photo to provide a subject. Last, consider bringing a headlamp for this same reason; adding a light source to your subject will help them stand out.

Photographing Icelandic Horses

A frost-tipped Icelandic horse stares heroically at the photographer.

A frost-tipped Icelandic horse stares heroically at the photographer.

You will see these surfer-cut beauties anywhere you go in the country, so the trick is to look past the ponies at what is behind them. Having a strong background will make your images far more memorable.

There will be times when a large telephoto lens will be necessary, but more often you will able to get fairly close to the animals. They are very friendly and may want food, but please do not feed them!

Aside from finding a strong background, the other consideration is to try and make find angles or subjects where there is minimal bunching. The ponies tend to stay in groups creating a jumbled frame with no clear subject; your job is to make them stand out.

Photographing Iceland Wildlife

Photographing Iceland in the summer means capturing the migrating puffins.
Photographing Iceland in the summer means capturing the nesting puffins.

The arctic climate of Iceland means fewer opportunities for photographing wildlife than most places in the world, but those that do exist here are spectacular!

Which wildlife you are likely to encounter is incredibly seasonal. Some of the main attractions include migrating whales, arctic foxes, reindeer, and the adorable puffins. There are also a variety of avian and aquatic animals you may encounter if this is your priority.

Photographing wildlife in Iceland is no different from anywhere else in the world. A telephoto lens will be the preferred choice, ideally something in the 400-600mm range. For reference, we use the Tamron 150-500mm for Sony Full Frame cameras.

Additionally, you will need to research the seasonal habits of the animal you wish to photograph. Puffins and whales, in particular, have very predictable patterns that will all but ensure a successful photoshoot if you are in the right place at the right time.

Photographing Iceland in Winter

Winter photography in Iceland means many chances for Northern Lights photos as seen here at Seljalandsfoss.
Winter photography in Iceland means many chances for Northern Lights photos as seen here at Seljalandsfoss.

Photographing Iceland in the winter months presents some unique challenges, but also some unique opportunities. Ice caves and the aurora borealis, for example, are seasonal events that cannot be enjoyed in the warmer months.

Dealing with the arctic cold can be difficult. As you come in and out of the cold, condensation will appear on your lens that can be difficult to deal with. If you leave your gear out in the cold too long, ice can form on the glass ruining your shots. Even trying to use your fingers to manipulate your camera settings can be impossible when cold enough.

Oxarafoss in Thingvellier National Park covered in winter ice and snow.
Oxarafoss in Thingvellier National Park covered in winter ice and snow.

In addition to the typical photographer gear we recommend and detail in the next section, the following items should be considered essential for those of you photographing Iceland in the winter:

  • Photography Gloves: There will be times when your fingers go numb in literal seconds if exposed, but it is impossible to manipulate your camera settings with bulky gloves. Photography gloves allow you to quickly free up and re-cover your thumb and index finger to make adjustments on the fly. Icefishing gloves also do a great job!
  • Lens Warmers: To prevent your glass from freezing, use lens warmers in extreme cold settings.
  • Hand Warmers: Bring lots of hand warmers to stash in your boots, gloves, and pockets for those times when you are having to be still and patient out on a cold night. Or better still, cut down on waste and invest in rechargeable hand warmers!
  • Extra Batteries: Batteries do not perform as well in cold conditions and can fail unexpectedly altogether in the extreme cold! Do not get stuck out in the tundra with the perfect shot and no battery. Be sure to have extras on you at all times just in case.
  • Heated Jacket: Not an essential, but a wonderful luxury! A heated jacket not only keeps heat in, but creates it. This can be life changing for those times when you find yourself standing around for hours while waiting for the shot or on the completion of a time lapse.

Iceland Photography Gear

Standing above Gullsfoss waterfall on the Golden Circle.  Arctic clothing and special equipment is needed for photographing Iceland in winter.
Standing above Gullsfoss waterfall on the Golden Circle. Arctic clothing and special equipment is needed for photographing Iceland in winter.

While it is possible to capture some great photos nowadays with smartphones, for the best possible photos you may want to consider a few key pieces of photography gear:

  • Camera: We use the Sony a7riii and have been in love with it ever since the first photo we took with it. However, for beginners you may wish to consider an entry level DSLR. This will allow you to start getting to grips with manual settings and decide whether photography is something you enjoy enough to invest in.
  • Lens: The lens we use most frequently is the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS as the zoom range allows for meaningful diversity. We also often use the Laowa 15mm F2 for shots that require a wide angle lens and low light capability, such as the northern lights and ice caves.
  • Tripod: A tripod is essential if you are shooting in low light, at night or for any other long exposure photography. When traveling, we use the Manfrotto Be Free as it’s lightweight and easy to carry on longer hikes. For times when we require something more stable, we use the Artcise Carbon Fiber Tripod.
  • Filters: A Circular Polarizing (CPL) filter (CPL) or Neutral Density (ND) filter are very useful for allowing slower shutter speeds and for cutting glare on reflective surfaces, helping to bring out the colors. The best CPL and ND filters we have found are the quartz line from Polar Pro.

Iceland Photography Tours

Long exposure Iceland photography featuring sunset at Diamond Beach.
Long exposure Iceland photography featuring sunset at Diamond Beach.

Dedicated Iceland photo tours promise you will visit the best places at the best times for capturing something magical on your visit. Below are our recommendations for local tour companies.

Ice Cave Tours

Unless you are an absolute expert in glacier hiking and navigation, you will need to book a tour in order to see the ice caves. Additionally, they only form in the latter winter months into early spring.

Based on the price, ratings, trip length, and group size, we recommend the Skaftafell Ice Cave Tour & Glacier Hike. However, there are many other ice cave tours to consider!

Below are some of the top-rated ice cave tours in Iceland.

The best thing you can do is spend a little extra on a tour with a smaller group size. While Arctic Adventures will typically be the cheapest, as the price offered is part of a full-day tour, they also bring in groups by the literal busload. This means the caves they visit will be largely chewed up and you will be dealing with crowds throughout.

Northern Lights Tours

Photographing aurora at the amazing Mt Vestrahorn in Iceland.
Photographing aurora at the amazing Mt Vestrahorn in Iceland.

Many visitors to Iceland plan their trip during the winter months in the hopes of witnessing the northern lights. While their dance is a frequent occurrence in the skies over Iceland, the lights can at times be elusive and weather conditions do not always cooperate. Therefore, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to visit Iceland without seeing them.

In order to improve your chances of photographing the aurora borealis, you may wish to consider a northern lights tour. The northern lights tours below have the best ratings for a chance to witness this natural phenomenon. Don’t forget to also check out our complete guide to photographing the aurora to ensure you don’t miss a shot!

DC-3 Plane Wreck PHOTO Tours

While you can hike to the DC-3 plane wreck, it is a lengthy one. Alternatively, there are tours available that provide ATV delivery to save the walk. The following tours all visit the plane wreck:

Questions About Photographing Iceland

How do you take pictures in Iceland?
How do you take pictures of the northern lights?

Photographing aurora as the Northern Lights dance above the road.
Photographing the Northern Lights for the first time is a moment I will never forget.

If you are attempting to photograph the aurora borealis (northern lights) but do not understand photography, the best strategy is to use the “Night Mode” on your smartphone and use a tripod or other object to hold the phone still.

If you have a DSLR or mirrorless, you will want to follow these simple steps:

  1. With your LENS set to Auto-focus (AF), find something in your foreground to focus on. If nothing is available, place a flashlight at least 10-20 yards away and use that to Autofocus.
  2. Toggle the small switch on the side of your lens to Manual-Focus (MF). This is important to lock focus!
  3. Spin the top dial on your camera to “Manual” mode using the twist dial on the top.
  4. Set aperture (indicated by the letter F) to the lowest number it will go to (usually F3.5)
  5. Set shutter speed (indicated by a or / symbol) to 15″
  6. Find the ISO option and set to 3200 or higher.
  7. Set your camera to 10 second self-timer to avoid shake after pressing the shutter button.
  8. Press the shutter button.

For even more tips, check out our Complete Guide to Photographing the Northern Lights.

How do you photograph the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

Cameras are allowed at the Blue Lagoon, but you should take a waterproof camera or waterproof smart phone if possible. This will not only protect it from water, but from becoming damaged internally from the steam.

If possible, arrive at sunrise or as early as possible to avoid crowds and enjoy the best light.

How do I plan a photography trip to Iceland?

The Viking Village is photographed on the hillside of Mt Vestrahorn in Iceland.
The Viking Village was created for filming of numerous TV shows and movies.

There are a large variety of local tour operators that provide photography tours of Iceland, with Arctic Adventures being the largest and usually least expensive.

Additionally, many prominent landscape photographers offer Iceland workshops which will focus extensively on photography.

Finally, you can organize your own self-guided Iceland tour by creating a Google map using this guide and setting your own pace of schedule!

Is Iceland good for photography?

Hof Church is one of the many scenic tourist stops for Iceland Photography.
Hof Church is one of the many scenic tourist stops for Iceland Photography.

Yes! In fact, Iceland is largely considered to be the best country in the world for landscape photography, rivaled only by New Zealand and the vast USA.

What season is best for photographing Iceland?
When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Photographing winter in Iceland at Diamond Beach featuring the famous red dress.
Photographing winter in Iceland at Diamond Beach featuring the famous red dress.

Each season brings different pros and cons. Winter is the most challenging but features ice caves and long nights with greater chances to see the aurora borealis. Spring and Fall see more road openings and easier access, while still providing plenty of nighttime hours for northern lights photography. Summer provides the best weather, migrating wildlife, and access to the Highlands, but also suffers from the largest crowds, limited availability, and no aurora potential.

What camera should I bring to Iceland?

Aurora Borealis photography at Godafoss waterfall
Bring a professional camera to Iceland to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments.

If you know how to shoot with Manual settings, you should bring a full frame camera with at least one standard zoom (24-70mm minimum) and one wide angle prime for photographing aurora (15-25mm range.) The Sony Alpha series is largely considered the best and is weather-sealed for the harsh Icelandic climate.

If you do not know how to shoot in Manual modes, bring a waterproof smart phone, preferably one with Night Mode. Waterproof means weather-protected which is important in Iceland.

What lenses should I bring to Iceland?

A small church in Thingvellir National Park

To avoid changing lenses often, in the harsh Iceland environment, you should bring a wide angle zoom lens with an extended focal range. We used the Sony G Series 24-105mm lens for most of our Iceland photos.

In addition, be sure to bring at least one wide angle or super-wide angle prime lens for aurora photography (15-25mm range.) Our preferred lenses are the Laowa 15mm F2 and Zeiss 25mm F2 for Sony E-Mount.

What equipment do I need for Iceland photography?
What equipment do I need for Northern Lights photos?

The essentials are a camera, prime lens, and a sturdy tripod. Other helpful equipment to consider are a remote to avoid camera shake, photography gloves that allow you to use your index fingers and thumbs, and lens warmers to keep the glass from icing over.

If you found this complete guide to photographing Iceland useful, you will likely find value in some of our related and regional guides below:

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