5 Tips on Northern Light Photography by Hasselblad Master Tom D. Jones


Aren’t the Northern Lights magnificent?
We have asked Better Moments expert and Hasselblad Master Tom D. Jones to share five quick tips on how to capture the beauty of Aurora. We hope you can put them to use!

5 photography tips by Tom D. Jones

Take the right gear

A sturdy tripod, a wide-angle lens (preferably f/1.4-f/2.8 for a wide aperture opening), and a remote control are essential. Keep batteries in your warm pockets to make sure they won’t drain too fast. Moreover, remember it will be pitch black out there so bring a light – but don’t disturb other photographers.

Add context to the picture

The basic rules of composition, like the Rule of Thirds, also apply to capturing the Aurora so you should always consider the surroundings and how they can add a new dimension, scale and depth to your image.

Consider the movement

Depending on how fast the Aurora is moving, you need to adapt your shutter speed. As a rule of thumb, exposure between 5 – 25 seconds work well for capturing the Northern Lights.

Watch the histogram

It can be difficult to find the right exposure, keep an eye on your histogram to ensure that you neither loose dark details, nor “blow out” the green channel by overexposing the photo.

Check the Aurora activity

The KP-Index ranges from 0-9 (with 0 being the lowest and 9 the highest) and you don’t even need to bother if the index is 2 or below as there won’t be much to see. Everything over 5 is considered a storm and worth heading out into the cold.


If capturing Aurora Borealis is still on your bucket list, you should join Tom on our next journey to Northern Finland. This EXPLORER workshop is an excellent opportunity to try Phase One’s XF camera system for FREE.
The full frame medium format camera allows you to capture more data, providing more detail and impressive results. The high resolution, 101 Megapixel sensor delivers stunning image quality, allowing you to take amazing photos of the Northern Lights.

Head to the workshop page to learn more about our adventure to the Arctic Circle.