How to take pictures of the Northern Lights

Focus your lens on infinity during the day time and mark an area on your lens with a pen so you know exactly where to turn it in the dark.

Find your settings at home, or in car on the way to the watching spot. Then you avoid adjusting the camera in the cold.


  • Aperture as low as possible.
  • Shutter as low as possible.
  • ISO as low as possible, normally 800-2500 ISO is best.
  • Use the timer.
  • Turn off the timer sound.
  • Set the lens on infinity.
  • If possible, shoot in RAW format.
  • Set LCD Brightness to low.
  • Remove the filter from your lens, or you will end up with an undesirable deviation on all your images.
  • Set the white balance to appr. 3000-4000 Kelvin.
  • Bring with you at least 2 batteries, and 2 flash cards. Change often and keep it in a warm place.
  • Use a tall but sturdy tripod.
  • Use your lens hood to protect against frost/condensation on your lens.
  • Put black tape over your red processing light under the wheel.
  • Include a nice foreground as a motive in addition to the sky. You can use a mountain, ocean, building, lakes etc.
  • Be creative.