1. The Northern Lights forecast

There are a number of apps and feeds in social networks where you are notified when the northern lights are on.

The forecasts are always uncertain to the last, but usually give an indication of when it may flare up.

2. Extra batteries

Charge extra batteries for the camera and / or a so-called powerbank for the mobile.

Winter cooling quickly sucks the energy out of the batteries in the equipment.


Use a tripod (or place the camera on something still when taking your pictures).

Otherwise, the images may become blurred, as longer than normal exposure time is required when the image is taken.

Remote release (or time delay on exposure) is also recommended.

It is difficult to get the camera not to move when you press your finger.

4. Lens

It usually gets better Northern Lights images the more you can open your aperture, that is, if you set the aperture to as low numbers as possible.

If you want to include the entire northern lights, it can also be good to use a wide-angle lens.

5. Exposure

The exposure time can vary, usually from a few seconds up to 10-13 seconds.

If you have too long an exposure time, you risk that the stars have time to move and then they draw lines in the night sky in the picture.

6. Manual focus

Autofocus does not work very well in the dark.

Instead, use manual focus and set the lens on the eternity symbol.

Alternatively, you can focus on any light source far away.

7. ISO

A slightly higher ISO setting than normal on the camera can help (approximately 800-1600).

Then the camera's sensor absorbs more light.

How high an ISO number you can have without having problems with "noise" in the images is determined by how advanced a sensor you have in the camera.

8. White balance

In many modes, automatic white balance works.

But you can also use some form of night picture setting, if available on camera or mobile.

Many Northern Lights photographers, however, change the white balance in the image by setting an exact level in the so-called Kelvin scale.

Rule of thumb: In daylight, the white balance in the images is usually good at levels in the Kelvin scale around 5,200-6,000 K. If you take images where the light comes from a light bulb, it may be necessary to adjust the level down to around 3,000 K. To find the right K-numbers for your aurora borealis image may require you to test yourself on the spot.

9. Raw format

Camera images in so-called raw format (RAW) take in more data to the image file.

This provides greater opportunities to fine-tune the image contrast, exposure and white balance in an image processing program at home on the computer.

If you use this, you can spend more time on the composition of the image itself when you are out photographing.

10. Clothes and flashlight

Flashlight or headlamp can be good in the winter darkness.

Also, remember to dress properly when it's cold.

When you take photos, your fingers are particularly exposed, so feel free to invest in good gloves.

You can supplement with any type of "hand warmer" in your pocket.