How to Photograph the Northern Lights

By: Jamie Carter | Pulished on 2023-12-27

How to Photograph the Northern Lights-Trip AdviseGETTY IMAGES

Pulsing green curtains and darting, twisting swirls of greens and reds...forests topped by a green mist and twitching displays over fells and mountains.


Seeing the Northern Lights—also known as the aurora borealis—can be a magical experience, and one you'll instantly want to capture on camera. It takes some preparation, but photographing the aurora borealis (or aurora australis if you're in the southern hemisphere) isn't hard to do.

Dump the smartphone

Forget your smartphone's camera, which doesn't have a sensitive enough sensor for night photography and, in any case, will shutdown in the likely freezing temperatures of winter.


The wisest option is a DSLR (or any manual) camera on a tripod used with as wide-angle a lens as possible (10-20mm or similar works well), and with an aperture of about f2.8 or less.


If it's cold, put a spare battery in your pocket to keep it warm. Whatever the weather, clean the lens and remove any filters.

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