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Your Ultimate Iceland Photography Guide


Photography in Iceland

The unique island of Iceland is truly a photographer’s paradise. From striking volcanic craters to expansive glaciers and cascading waterfalls, the untouched natural beauty of Iceland makes for prime photography material.

No matter if you’re an experienced photographer or just love taking pictures for fun, there are amazing photography opportunities for you in this beautiful country. Let’s explore all things Iceland photography, so you can find the best spots to go, discover workshops to join and learn our top photography tips for this unique environment.

Best Iceland Photography Spots

The three most popular themes among photographers in Iceland are landscapes, wildlife and, of course, the famous Northern Lights. While almost all of Iceland could make an incredible photography subject with spectacular natural wonders everywhere you turn, there are certain places in Iceland that photographers can’t miss!

Here are some of the top photography locations to see in Iceland, from amazing landscapes to the best wildlife habitats across the country. Take a look through our top destination picks to create your own ideal Iceland photography trip itinerary.

Iceland photography

Golden Circle – Thingvellir, Gullfoss, Haukadalur

From the spectacular Thingvellir National Park, to the dramatic Gullfoss Waterfall and steaming Haukadalur Geothermal Valley, every stop along the Golden Circle route in Iceland is incredibly picturesque.

With many of the top locations for landscape photography in Iceland along the route, the Golden Circle can be easily driven in a day and conveniently starts and ends in Reykjavik. Just make sure to plan enough time to stop at each interesting sight!

Golden Circle

Vik and Reynisfjara Beach

When it comes to Iceland landscape photography, the lovely coastal village of Vik and the adjacent black sand beach of Reynisfjara are among the top places to be. One of the most popular areas in Iceland for photographers, the colorful houses of this tiny village in a beautiful mountain valley make for amazing shots.

Heading to the seafront, you’ll find the striking basalt rock columns of Reynisfjara standing tall against the volcanic sand and crashing Atlantic waves. What a picture!

Reynisfjara beach, Iceland


Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Diamond Beach

You can’t go to Iceland without taking pictures of at least one glacier! Where better to experience the majesty of Iceland’s vast glaciers than Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon? At this expansive ice lagoon, you’ll see chunks of ice floating across the water’s surface and seals swimming or relaxing on the icebergs.

Next to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, just across the main road, you’ll find Diamond Beach. One of the top locations for landscape photography in Iceland, Diamond Beach features huge iceberg fragments glistening like diamonds atop the black sand – beautiful! 

While in this area, you can also enjoy exploring the spectacular Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which will give you plenty of opportunity to practice your Iceland landscape photography skills. Be sure to capture the amazing Svartifoss Waterfall, which is surrounded by hexagonal lava columns.

iceland winter photography

Landmannalaugar – Icelandic Highlands

Heading towards Iceland’s interior, you’ll come across the unique area of Landmannalaugar, which is well-known for its active volcanoes, geothermal hot springs and gorgeous views. The colorful rhyolite mountains and epic lava fields make for amazing photos.

Located in the Icelandic Highlands, Landmannalaugar is a brilliant place for hiking and bathing. You’re sure to capture some otherworldly and ethereal pictures of this remote, geothermal wilderness.

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Known as ‘Iceland in miniature’, the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula combines all of Iceland’s best bits and unique features into one spectacular area of outstanding natural beauty. From dramatic cliffs to incredible volcanoes and caves, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a must-visit on your Iceland photography itinerary.

Here, you’ll find the most photographed mountain in the country: Kirkjufell. The distinctive shape of this iconic peak and its nearby waterfall makes a photo of these impressive natural features one of Iceland’s best pictures, for sure!

iceland photography itinerary

Myvatn Lake

If you’re more interested in wildlife photography, we recommend heading to Myvatn Lake. Here, you’ll find a collection of rare birds that can be seen only in Iceland. In fact, the Myvatn area is home to the largest number of nesting ducks of any location in the world.

Visiting the beautiful lake and its stunning surrounding wetlands makes for an unforgettable day out and gives you a brilliant opportunity to take some incredible Iceland photographs.

Lake Myvatn, Iceland

Husavik – Whale Watching

Keen wildlife photographers will also love Husavik, which is known as one of the best places for whale watching in the world. You can take a Husavik whale watching tour for the best chance to spot these majestic marine mammals.

Situated on the north coast of Iceland, this quaint fishing town is a brilliant photography subject in itself. The lovely harbor side, old church, colorful buildings and surrounding green mountains create a beautiful panorama of Icelandic seafront town life.

Husavik, Iceland

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

If you fancy heading up to the wild and remote Westfjords, you definitely have to check out Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. It’s the only place in Iceland where Arctic foxes are protected from hunting. You’re also likely to spot seals and whales here on Iceland’s northernmost peninsula.

At Hornstrandir, you’ll be able to photograph almost pristine nature, untouched by humans due to its vast area and remote location. With fjords, tundra, glaciers, mountain vegetation, bays and bird cliffs, Hornstrandir is an amazing Iceland landscape photography destination.

Hornstrandir, Iceland

Puffin Island

To shoot some incredible close-ups of the ‘clowns of the skies’, we recommend heading to the Westman Islands on a puffin boat tour. The largest colony of puffins in Iceland and, in fact, 20% of the world’s total puffin population lives on the Westman Islands!

Situated off Iceland's southwest coast, the Westman Islands can be reached by a short ferry ride that takes just over half an hour. Note that the ferry for Westman Island tours only operates during the summer months.

Puffin bird


Where better to photograph Iceland's famous landmarks than the vibrant capital of Reykjavik itself? You can practice your urban photography in this enchanting city, capturing sights such as the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church, the distinctive glass Harpa concert hall, the famous Sun Voyager statue and the picturesque harborside.

If you need some extra gear or just want to treat yourself to some photography goodies for your Iceland adventure, you can find a few camera stores in Reykjavik city center, including Beco Professional Camera Store and Reykajvik Foto.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland for Photography

The best time to visit Iceland for photography will really depend on what it is you’d like to photograph. For example, if you’re a keen wildlife photographer, you might want to make sure you’re in Iceland during whale season, which is from April to September, or puffin season between May and August.

If you’re keen to capture the Northern Lights, you’ll be best visiting Iceland in winter and if you want to photograph the Midnight Sun, you’ll need to be in Iceland during summer.

Aside from this, it’s important to note that the daylight hours are significantly shorter in the winter season, so you’ll have less time to travel out and about on your Iceland winter photography tour during the day. As long as you plan ahead and schedule in your day trips, you should be able to manage this well and still have enough time to visit all your favorite destinations.

Iceland is a winter wonderland during the colder months, with blankets of snow and glistening ice covering much of the landscape. During summer, you’ll find green mountain valleys and spectacular sunsets over cascading waterfalls. Whenever you choose to visit Iceland, we can guarantee there will be incredible things to photograph!

iceland best pictures

Iceland Northern Lights Photography Tips

Capturing the vibrant colors of these spectacular aurorae is at the top of many photographer’s bucket lists, and with good reason! The Northern Lights are truly magical and unforgettable.

You’ll need to visit Iceland during the Northern Lights season from September to April to be in with a chance of photographing this amazing light show. The peak time for viewing the Northern Lights in Iceland is from November to February when the nights are longest and darkest.

Our top Iceland Northern Lights photography tips are to use a tripod to reduce any shakiness as you may have to be outside for extended periods of time, make sure your DSLR camera is optimized for nighttime shooting and use a long exposure time to ensure you can capture the spectacular lights as they dance across the sky.

Northern Lights, Iceland

Photographing the Midnight Sun in Iceland

Due to Iceland’s northerly latitude, the country experiences almost 24 hours of daylight during summer, leading to the amazing spectacle of the Midnight Sun where the sun is still shining at 12am! Witnessing the Midnight Sun at the top of a mountain makes for some amazing photos.

If you want to photograph the Midnight Sun in Iceland, you’ll need to visit the country around the summer solstice in mid-June. You’ll also need a tripod to get the best quality pictures possible.

Midnight sun, Iceland

Top Iceland Photography Tips

The unique and often fairly remote environments of Iceland are most likely different to anything you’ve ever photographed before. Check out our top Iceland photography tips to make the most of your time in this incredible country:

  • Check out regulations about drones – If you’re planning to do some Iceland drone photography, it’s important to inform yourself of the regulations about drones in Iceland beforehand. For example, you can’t fly a drone over crowds or people, over 120 meters above the ground or sea, or within 150 meters of a public building.
  • Plan your trips in advance – As Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, particularly for photographers, it’s always advisable to buy your tickets for any attractions or tours ahead of time. You might like to draw out your own Iceland photography map with all the places you’d like to go, then book any necessary tickets for the specific days you’ve decided in advance.
  • Keep quiet near wildlife – When photographing wildlife in Iceland, it’s incredibly important to be respectful of the animals and their habitat. Keep as quiet as possible when getting close enough to wildlife to take photos and try not to disturb the environment, as Iceland’s flora and fauna can be very delicate. By remaining quiet, you’ll also be more likely to be able to capture candid photographs of Iceland’s wildlife going about their day undisturbed by humans.
  • Always wear a camera strap – Iceland’s uneven terrain can be hazardous for photographers, especially when carrying heavy and expensive camera equipment. Whenever you’re on location, it’s best to wear a camera strap to make sure your camera is always safe and won’t fall into a lagoon or volcano!
  • Waterproof your gear – Especially when photographing Iceland’s impressive lagoons and cascading waterfalls, you’ll want to make sure your camera equipment is waterproof. Whether you keep your camera in a waterproof case or buy a special waterproof camera for the trip, taking this step will make sure your camera survives your epic adventure in Iceland.
  • Bring plenty of memory cards – When in Iceland, you’ll most likely want to take photos of everywhere you look! There’s something beautiful around every corner, so you’ll definitely need as much storage as possible to hold all of your Iceland landscape and wildlife photos. 

iceland photography workshops

The Best Iceland Photography Tours and Iceland Photography Workshops

If you’re looking for an Iceland photography guide, you might like to join a tour where you can meet fellow photographers and learn from qualified instructors. Whether you choose an Iceland summer photography tour or an Iceland winter and Northern Lights photography tour, you’ll have an amazing time exploring the country’s natural wonders and learning how to take incredible photographs at the same time.

Most Iceland photography tours are done in small groups, where you can get hands-on instructions and advice from award-winning photographers. You’ll usually get the chance to practice many different kinds of photography, focusing mainly on landscape and wildlife.

You can find Iceland photography tours that last from anywhere between 3 days to 10 days, with most tours lasting around a week. If you don’t have that much time, you might prefer an Iceland photography workshop that lasts just a day or several hours.

Some Iceland photography workshops may include overnight stays, but you can also find some 1-day photography workshops in particular locations, such as the area around Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon on the south coast or the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

We recommend exploring the available Iceland photography trips, tours and workshop options before deciding which one is best for you.

Iceland landscape photography

Plan Your Perfect Photography Trip to Iceland

Excited for your very own Iceland photography trip? Let’s get planning the perfect Iceland photography adventure by finding accommodation and travel tickets, as well as an affordable rental car in Reykjavik, so you can explore Iceland’s top photography destinations to your heart’s content.

Taking a self-drive tour around the unique island of Iceland is an amazing way to see all the sights and get practicing your Iceland landscape photography. You can travel on your own time and make sure to see everything you want to see – what’s not to like?!