How to photograph northern lights with a phone

How to photograph Northern Lights with a phone?

Every season more mobile phones have the ability to capture northern lights. To capture the Northern Lights in all of its glory, you need to have a few things first. You might already own most of the items. This is my guide on how to photograph northern lights with a phone.

What you will need:

Phones are not exactly known for being battery efficient. So, take a power-bank. Remember batteries go flat faster in the cold

While it’s not always necessary, you can take better photos with a reliable tripod. There are many types of tripod. Flexible leg types seem to be the most popular. You could try a bean bag.

Clip-on wide angle lenses (not essential but…)
If you want to capture more sky, invest in a good wide angle clip-on lens.

A Backpack
While your Phone is not a huge, your other gear will probably be heavy. features to look for include a compartment for a tripod, phone, DSLR camera, lenses, and a laptop if you want to edit your photos.

Before going out


Aurora activity and forecast sites – or
Weather Forecast – Supersaa is useful in Finland


The key to taking good photos and great photos of the Northern Lights on your phone is good composition. Without it, your photo will feel unbalanced.

Enable grid-lines on your phone camera, you can use the grid for the rule of thirds and checking your horizon.

You don’t have to focus on the Aurora. Include other elements in your photo’s foreground, such as water, rocks, houses, or trees.

Make sure everything is exposed. You should make sure the Aurora is well exposed. Part of the answer for this is using HDR to expose the pitch-black areas in your foreground without affecting the Aurora’s brightness.
(Don’t use Smart HDR. As this can cause more problems than needed.)

Night Mode, helps you capture well-exposed photos in a low-light area such as the Northern Lights. Each phone has different settings and sensor sizes. If you can experiment with ISO to get a balance and reduce noise. F-stop of the lens. Lower the number the more light it takes in. This is a key factor for taking a photograph Northern Lights with a phone

Night Mode might also indicate the time that the camera will take in capturing it. Make sure your subjects are better exposed by adding a few more seconds to the time of capturing.
Press the shutter button to capture your photo. Wait for the camera to finish capturing. Check your image and adjust your settings.

Best results, you must use a tripod and wait for a few seconds after you pressed the shutter button. If you have an option to delay 2 seconds before taking a photo it will reduce shake.

Post-processing your photos

You only need to change a few elements when you’re editing photos of the Northern Lights.
Feel free to experiment, but if you can adjust any of these parts, then your photo will turn from good to great.


Adjusting the contrast will help avoid your photo from looking flat. Dehaze your pictures if they appear to look flat.
Dehazing means adding saturation and deepening the shadows.

White Balance and Exposure

Adjust the white balance and exposure. Your Aurora photo will probably have a variety of colors because of the changing lights. White balance for the color temperature to look lifelike. This will avoid your picture appearing too warm or too cold.


Adjusting the clarity. This will help the details in your photo stand out without adding too much noise. If you used HDR, don’t use with this step, your camera has already did its part by exposing the parts of your photo.

This is a basic guide on how to photograph northern lights with a phone.
One last tip. Keep your phone and power-bank in your pocket as long as you can because the cold will eat your batteries.
Have you read our camera guide?