Who needs a travel diary when you can document your trip through photography in Iceland?

Whether you’re a beginner or pro, Iceland’s landscapes and iconic landmarks make it any photographer’s dream! 

What you might not know is that the dramatic weather changes and the lighting differences throughout the year can make snapping that perfect picture a tad challenging. 

Today, I’m talking about the best camera gear you’ll need to capture stunning Iceland photos making sure your memories last a lifetime.

I’ll also give you valuable tips for photography in Iceland, must-see photo locations, information on drones, and share my recommendations on equipment. 

So don’t worry, I’ve covered everything you’ll need to know to capture the most epic photographs in Iceland.

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents:

Best Time to Visit Iceland for Photography

Picture of Jeannie Sitting on the Edge of Dettifoss While Setting Up Her Camera to Take Photos in Iceland

The ideal time of year for photography in Iceland largely depends on what you want to photograph and the accessibility of the sites and landmarks during that season.

I’m sure you’ve seen breathtaking photos and footage taken in both the summer and winter. 

Ultimately, the best time for photography in Iceland comes down to personal preference. 

Photography in Iceland: Winter vs Summer

Here are a few things to consider when deciding on what the best time of year would be for you.

Daylight hours: Spring and summer offer extended hours for photography in Iceland, sometimes lasting nearly 24 hours! However, in the winter, daylight hours are limited, giving you only a brief window of good lighting. 

Northern Lights: Do you have your heart set on photographing the Northern Lights? Then I’m afraid summer is out of the question. All those daylight hours are not ideal for spotting the aurora.

Accessibility: Some areas like the Highlands and Westfjörds are off-limits in winter. The roads aren’t well-kept, so if you’re thinking of snapping a few pics there, it’s a no-go.

Crowds: Spring and summer are the peak seasons in Iceland, bringing in more crowds. Winter, on the other hand, is not as crowded, and you know what that means? Fewer photobombers in your pictures!

Best Camera for Iceland: Do You Really Need One?

If you’re not sure what kind of camera to bring, take a moment to consider what you plan to do with your photos after your trip.

If your goal is to simply keep a personal record of your holiday or share photos on social media, then a fancy digital camera isn’t necessary. When traveling to Iceland, cameras on smartphones are so darn good these days and that should be enough for you.

However, if you want more professional-looking photos – maybe to create a photo book or to enlarge and hang up in your home – then it’ll be worth investing in a camera with more features.

Higher quality and clarity mean less pixelation in your photographs.

I did an interesting post on bringing a phone vs a camera to Iceland if you want to check it out below👇

Want to know the EXACT camera gear I use for my Iceland photos + videos? Click here to skip to my gear recommendations.

Photography in Iceland: Drones 

Some of the best footage you can capture in Iceland are aerial photographs and video of the dramatic landscapes.

Using a drone is key to getting those shots and I absolutely love mine!

There are, however, a few things you need to know before you go out and start your shoot.

Permits & Regulations

Please, for the love of all that is good, familiarize yourself with the regulations around flying drones in Iceland as well as the no-fly zones. 

These are updated often and you can find out everything you need to know on this website 👉Icelandic Transport Authority.

Drones weighing over 250g require a permit from ITA and the maximum allowed altitude for drones in Iceland is 120m or 394 feet.

No-Fly Zones

Picture of Jeannie Using Her Drone in the Westfjords to Take Photography in Iceland | Iceland with a View

So, why are there no-fly zones? 

Well, if you’ve ever been near a drone, you’ll know that the sound can be pretty annoying! 

Also, Icelanders are strong advocates for conservation and they don’t want anything disrupting the birds and wildlife in certain areas. 

Some no-fly zones include popular locations like Skógafoss and Gullfoss waterfalls, Vatnajökull and Þingvellir National Parks, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and Reynisfjara Beach, to name a few.


Another thing to consider for photography in Iceland with a drone is the weather.

This is a windy country and lightweight drones don’t fare well. Consistent exposure to rain can damage it and the cold temperatures really zap the battery!

Daylight hours

Again, consider what time of year you’ll be visiting and how many daylight hours you actually have to use your drone. Will it really be worth bringing it along?


Rugged landscapes and windy conditions can make for dangerous flying situations. 

Strong winds plus mountain cliffs can lead to your drone crashing into the rocks. 


I don’t even want to think what I’d do if my drone met such a fate! 🤦🏼‍♀️

Iceland landscape photography captures dramatic scenery, some of which are only accessible with a drone.

So, if you are planning on taking yours, please check out the video below to make sure you’re prepared.👇

Iceland Photography Locations

Where are the best photo spots in Iceland? 

Can’t I just say all of them?! 

Seriously, if you’re after iconic photos, you can’t go wrong here. But, to keep it brief, I’ve jotted down a few places for capturing awesome pics.

Reykjavík Photo Spots

You’ll get a lot of good photo opportunities in the capital itself.

Hallgrimskirkja: This church is one of Reykjavík’s most popular photo spots, and the design was inspired by Iceland’s landscapes. It’s also worth riding to the top of this distinctive church to get beautiful pictures of the houses below!

Harpa Concert Hall: This is another building that reflects Iceland’s landscapes as well as the Northern Lights. The building is made up of geometric-shaped glass that reflects its surroundings. 

Old Harbor: This area stands out with its colorful restaurants, fishing boats, and views of Mount Esja. Great for photo ops!                                                                                 


If you’re hoping to get photos of the picturesque little towns Iceland is known for, then Stykkishólmur should be on your itinerary! Here you’ll find colorful houses, a lighthouse, and boats – your classic little fishing village! So cute!

The Blue Lagoon

Those spectacular milky blue geothermal waters are a popular attraction for good reason. 

While you are allowed to take pictures at the Blue Lagoon during your visit, please respect the other visitors.

You’re probably wondering how to take pictures in the Blue Lagoon. 

I find that one of the easiest ways to take photographs is on my phone. Pop on a waterproof phone case and you’re good to go!

Jökulsárlón & Diamond Beach

Picture of Diamond Beach, One of the Best Spots for Photography in Iceland | Iceland with a View

If you want to capture impressive glacier footage, then you need to visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon! 

Diamond Beach is also nearby. It’s a black sand beach where ice that has broken off from Jökulsárlón Glacier can be found along the shore.

It may not sound like much, but these chunks of ice can be quite large and the way they shine in the sunlight…well, you’ll understand how this beach it got its name.

For more ideas on the best locations for photography in Iceland, I’ve created this blog that I know you’ll find helpful👇

➡️ READ: The Most Instagrammable Places in Iceland 

Northern Lights Photography in Iceland

Picture of the Northern Lights in Iceland | Iceland with a View

Story time. 

We decided to invest in a camera for our honeymoon trip to Iceland, but before that, we relied on a cheap point-and-shoot.

Back then, I had no clue about all the fancy camera accessories, and believe it or not, we didn’t even own a tripod at the time.

My husband ended up taking all of our Northern Lights photos balancing the camera on the roof of our rental car! 

It’s quite impressive, considering it was freezing cold and the camera needed to be completely still for 20-30 seconds while the camera gathered light!

Pro tip: If you want to capture photographs of the Northern Lights, make sure that your camera is completely still – you’re really going to need a tripod here! The ISO should be mid-range and you must have a long exposure time. You’ll also want to use a wide lens.

One of my favorite places for Northern Light photography in Iceland is along the Reykjanes Peninsula. Gardur Lighthouse and Kleifarvatn Lake are a couple of the best places to get pictures of the aurora.

If you want the specifics on how to photograph the Northern Lights and the best places to see them, check out this blog post.👇

➡️ READ: How To See The Northern Lights In Iceland: Best Viewing Spots, When To Go And MORE

Iceland Wedding Photos

Can you think of a dreamier place than Iceland to take photographs of your special day? Oh, it just makes me want to plan a wedding all over again – almost! 😉

Here are a few places to consider if you plan on getting hitched in Iceland.

Reynisfjara: The black sand beach and basalt columns at Reynisfjara are incredibly unique and create a beautiful backdrop for a wedding shoot!

Katla Ice Cave: How many people can say they took wedding photos in an ice cave? Wow, for truly spectacular photos, Katla ice cave can be found in the Kötlujökull Glacier only about a 45-minute drive from Vík.

Búðakirkja, Búðir: The black church in West Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a great place for wedding photographs. Not only is the church stunning, but there’s a mountain in the background and the church sits right by the water. Imagine the black church against the white snow, so beautiful! 

Skógafoss Waterfall: As one of the most popular waterfalls on Iceland’s south coast, it towers in at 6m (197 feet). Waterfalls in general seem to be pretty popular for wedding shoots, so if you want to see what my top 10 waterfall picks for Iceland are, take a look at this post. Which one will you pick for your big day?

➡️ READChasing Waterfalls in Iceland: Discover The Top 10 Breathtaking Waterfalls In Iceland

Looking for a photographer to capture your romance in Iceland? 

I have the PERFECT person. 

Ivar Eythorsson is a wedding and elopement photographer who we hired to do a couple/family shoot. 

He was incredibly organized and made us feel comfortable right away – even my husband who is known for being camera-shy!

Picture of Jeannie and Her Husband   Looking at Each Other at the Edge of the Lake Posing for their Photography in Iceland Couples Photoshoot | Iceland with a View

Definitely reach out to Ivar if you’re looking for a trusted photographer to commemorate your love. You won’t regret choosing him to document your romance amongst Iceland’s stunning landscapes! ✨

➡️ Get Iceland Wedding Photos HERE

Silky Waterfall Photos

You’ve probably seen those waterfall pictures where the water cascades down the rocks, creating an ethereal and dreamy effect. 

That’s what I mean by silky waterfalls.

Here’s how to do it with your smartphone. 👇🏼

Make sure “live” mode is turned on, take the photo, and then from the dropdown arrow select “long exposure”. Magic!

Or, if you’d rather bring your camera, here’s a complete photography tutorial! 

➡️ READ: How to Get Silky Waterfall Photos

Photography in Iceland: Gear for the Best Photos

If you’re serious about photography in Iceland. You’re going to need the right equipment. 

The gear I’m suggesting is based on what I use, so if you’re just starting out in your photography career, you don’t necessarily need all these things but use it as a starting point.

The Basics

If you’re serious about taking good-quality photographs, these are the bare basics you’re going to need:

Camera: I know everyone has a preference between between brands. We’ve loved our Sony Mirrorless Camera. It has all the functions of a DSLR, but it’s lightweight and portable like a point-and-shoot. Just find something that works and takes beautiful images. Play around with it before you go, don’t waste precious exploring time trying to figure out your camera!

Picture of Jeannie Taking a Photography in Iceland Westfjords | Iceland with a View

Lenses: Obviously, the best lens for Iceland would be a landscape or wide-angle lens to capture the beautiful scenery. It’s also nice to have multiple lenses to switch between depending on the image you are trying to get. I love our zoom lens for getting shots of things that are further away, and photos with people in it. 

Tripod: For shots of the amazing Northern Lights, that silky waterfall look, and group shots, a tripod is essential! The best tripod for Iceland should have a pivot head for a quick transition from horizontal to vertical images. Plus, it must be super lightweight – perfect for hiking trips. That’s why I love this tripod.

Memory card: Don’t skimp on quality, it makes such a difference in how the camera writes the images to the card. Amazon always has the cheapest prices! I recommend a class 10 and no less than 64GB memory card so that you don’t run out of storage!

Which brings me to my next point…


Camera equipment ain’t cheap! 

You want to ensure you keep all those electronics safe. Here’s what you’ll need:

Carrying bag: If you’re transporting your camera around, you need somewhere to put it. I love my Lowerpro backpack because it’s water-resistant, durable, and has tons of pockets for storing all of my accessories.

Dry bag: I love having an extra small dry bag as added protection for when we are at the waterfalls. Sometimes if we’re just getting out of the car quickly and I don’t feel like bringing the whole camera bag, I bring this instead. You know how Iceland’s weather can be! This way I know everything will stay completely dry.

Rain sleeve: A rain sleeve is bulky and looks ridiculous, but it is KEY for keeping your camera dry. This little thing has come in handy SO many times, and it’s very cheap! Remember, you’re in Iceland. Water is always around, whether it is falling from the sky or the wind is blowing it up – there’s a good chance you’ll run into wet weather. The elements are nothing to take lightly. Protect your expensive equipment!


Picture of Jeannie's Essentials for Taking Photography in Iceland Which Includes Camera, Lenses, Tripod, Battery Charger, Backpack, etc. | Iceland with a View

Want to take your photography game to the next level or simply make life a little bit easier? 😄 Let’s check out the accessories.

Lens filters: You know when people take a photo of the water and you can see the rocks underneath? Or when a waterfall looks like falling silk, rather than falling water? That is what a Neutral Density filter does. Just make sure to check the diameter of your lens to see what size to order. Circular polarizers/ND filters are A MUST in Iceland.

Memory card holder: I used to throw my memory cards in one of the pockets of our camera bag until one day I realized that that was a bad idea. The little fingers can break off, or the card can easily get lost or misplaced if you’re not careful. I bought this super durable and waterproof card holder that keeps my cards secure in one place. It holds up to 12 SD cards. I love it!

Microfiber cloth + brush: For proper lens maintenance, you need to have a couple of items. A microfiber cloth is standard for cleaning smudges off the lens. I don’t know about you but I always have like 20 of these lying around somewhere. They are super cheap and come free with most electronics or accessories. A soft bristle brush comes in handy if you get dust on your sensor. They even have these items bundled together in a kit. It’s a cheap investment and oh so handy!

Shutter release: A remote shutter release is my favorite toy. If I’m out exploring by myself, I can set up the tripod and still be in the frame with the remote. Group shots? Tripod + remote! It’s also really handy for shooting Northern Lights photos so there is no movement in the shot. Again, these things are cheap, and awesome when you need them.

Extra Items to Bring

Of course, the easiest things to forget are usually the things you need in an emergency. Here are the extra items you’ll need for photography in Iceland.

Extra battery: Usually extra batteries can be a spendy add-on, so it can often be put on the back burner. Living in Iceland means the cold weather drains the battery quickly. I also spend way more time outside on each adventure, and I don’t want to have to worry about getting to an outlet when I see the battery going down. I like the security of having a fully charged backup.

Car charger: Again, another way to make sure your battery lasts throughout the day, is to have a car charger to power up between all of those waterfall stops.

Adapter: You want to make sure you can charge your battery pack and/or computer at the end of the day. When I first moved to Iceland, I blew up two adapters because I didn’t have the right information. Adapter = plug conversion. Converter = currency conversion. You can’t plug a US hairdryer into a basic adapter unless it’s strong enough to convert voltage. The adapter I recommend is for basic phone/camera charging, has 2 USB ports, and is universal for all of your worldly travels.

If you’re not sure about the difference between the plugs, adapters, and converters, I did a post on it here👇

 ➡️ READ: The Definitive Guide to Iceland Plugs, Outlets, Adapters & Converters!

GoPro:I use a GoPro for various things like road video time lapses, snorkeling in Silfra and walking behind waterfalls.

Selfie stick: Yeah yeah, I know what you are thinking. But we actually use our selfie stick in case of emergencies! And I like to throw some selfie footage in my videos – don’t judge me! 😄

Window mount: I use road clips a lot in my videos, and a window mount is a great way to get that footage. It’s also good for videoing you and your partner/friends dancing and singing in the car, plus they’re cheap!

Warranty: The Icelandic winds blew over my tripod and smashed my lens once. Thankfully the camera is still fully functioning, but I was kicking myself when I realized I didn’t have a warranty on it. Learn from my mistakes, people!

Having quality equipment has made a huge difference in my photography in Iceland and in my ability to shoot in any situation.

Iceland Photography Tours

Now whether you are up for a tour that teaches you how to take photos, or you are looking for a photographer to take them for you…there’s a tour for just about everyone.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: This is one of my favorite places for photography in Iceland, and the guides on this tour give you plenty of time to take photos.

Landscape View of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a Good Spot for Photography in Iceland | Iceland with a View

Tour: Easy Hike to a Natural Ice Cave from Jökulsárlón

Northern Lights: This Northern Lights tour is guided by an awesome group of specially trained guides. They’ll even share some tips on capturing the best aurora pictures!

Tour: Northern Lights and Stargazing (Guided in 10 languages)

Golden Circle: I couldn’t mention tours and leave out the most popular route in Iceland, now could I?! If you want great photos but can’t be bothered to learn how to use all that camera equipment, then this tour is a great option. You’ll get a private photo shoot at the stops along the way with a professional photographer. How’s that for convenience?!

Tour: The Ultimate Private Golden Circle Tour with a Photographer, Lunch at the Tomato Farm & Hot Spring Bathing in the Secret Lagoon

Mælifell: Located in South Iceland, Mælifell Mountain and its incredible surroundings are popular with hikers and photographers – no matter their level of experience.

Tour: Mælifell | Private Photo-Tour 

Vestmannæyjar: On this tour to the Westman Islands, you’ll be joined by a professional photographer who’ll give you Iceland photography tips to enhance your skills. And the best part? You get to practice those skills against the most beautiful backdrops!

Tour: Vestmannæyjar | Private Photo-Tour 

Packing Guide

Are you tired of overpacking every time you travel? 

All that camera equipment, not to mention everything else you think you need, can take up a lot of space in your luggage. Trust me I know!

That’s why I put together this handy 👉 FREE Iceland Packing Guide so you’re prepared for everything Iceland has to throw at you!

Find packing lists, weather-wise clothing suggestions, recommendations on cameras, electronics essential items for your little ones, and more!

If you’re ready to pack smart, download the FREE guide here👇

Happy planning!

Picture of Jeannie's Signature

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