Learn the best camera settings for capturing the Northern Lights.
Wondering how to take stunning photos of the Northern Lights? Learn what settings will work best for your camera.
Seeing the Aurora Borealis blaze in the night sky makes for a perfect photo opportunity. Pick the best camera settings for the Northern Lights.
Use manual camera settings.
Start by setting your camera to manual mode. Modern cameras have great automatic modes, but manual camera settings are a better fit for photographing the Northern Lights.
Set focus to infinity.
Set your focus on the farthest possible point, or “focus to infinity.” It’s best to set the focus during daylight and mark the correct lens position, instead of fumbling with your lens in the dark.
Use a wide aperture.
Open your camera’s aperture as wide as it will go (the lowest possible f-stop). This will ensure that the Northern Lights and the sky behind them are in focus instead of the surrounding environment.
Select a low shutter speed.
Use the lowest possible shutter speed. If the Aurora moves very slowly, you could use exposure times of up to 20 seconds. Adjust the setting downward if the lights move faster.
Set a high ISO value.
You will be photographing at night, so set your camera’s ISO value all the way to 2,000 or higher. You can go lower (around 800) if you’re lucky enough to catch an incredibly bright Aurora.
Set the white balance to automatic — or don’t.
Take a test shot with automatic white balance and see how the photo looks. If it’s not that great, a good manual setting is a Kelvin value of around 3,500.
Enhance your Northern Lights pictures with a photo editor.
A photo editing program can make the colors of your Auroras brighter and the night sky a deeper dark blue. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom lets you adjust the light and color with ease.
You can also organize and share photos directly from your mobile device. Upload your shots of the Northern Lights as soon as you snap them.
Capture the beauty of the Northern Lights — explore everything you can do with Lightroom to set them ablaze.