Can I take pictures of the Northern Lights with my Smartphone?
Yes! Great Northern Lights photos can be also snapped with your smartphone! To get those aurora shots perfect, follow these few easy steps:
- Turn off the apps and take the load off your phone. I’m sure you have plenty of apps running in the background, turn them off for better performance.
- Full battery power - on! Make sure your phone isn’t on battery saving mode.
- Use tripod and landscape mode. Yes, there are tripods for smartphones too, so buy one, it’s worth it. Then, mount your phone on it and rotate it to landscape mode.
- Set to manual. Your smartphone camera has a manual mode, set it to that and adjust all the settings as mentioned above.
Don’t listen to those naysayers who swear by using only digital cameras. Your smartphone can work too and, on top of that, you can edit and share your magical Northern Lights photos in a blink of an eye.
Top 3 Best Northern Lights photo apps
1. Cortex Camera (Apple iOS / Android). This camera app is fantastic for low light. It combines 100 frames of video to create one high-quality still photo. All photos are aligned perfectly in mere seconds, so you don't really even need a tripod!
2. NightCap Pro (Apple iOS). This app specializes in time lapse photos, a gold mine for low light and night pictures. Its virtual slow shutter function is ideal for capturing wind, moving people, and yes - those Northern Lights.
3. Northern Lights Photo Taker App (Apple iOS). Though just for iOS, this app does one thing and one thing only -- help you take better photos of the aurora!
If you still feel like the smartphone won't cut it, investing in some top-notch gear can go a long way.
High-quality equipment is key to your Aurora photography trip. A better camera means better photographs.
Here’s the essential gear:
- Any camera with ‘manual’ mode works. DSLR or SLR are fine as long as you can manually change the settings.
- Use a tripod. You don’t want blurry pictures, which is likely to happen if you hold the camera in your hands.
- Wide-angle lenses are best. They allow you to take in as much of the activity as possible.
- Remotely controlled shutter. Your finger on the shutter will cause blurry pictures. Set the self-timer function and step back.
- Flashlight. Turn off the flash - it's useless. Shine a flashlight only if you're taking pictures of people in front of the Northern Lights.