If you want the perfect photo opp, you need picture-perfect surroundings. You’ll have to look far and wide to find more spectacular natural wonders and majestic scenery than in Iceland. So, if you are a bit trigger-happy with a camera or a phone, this article includes some of the must-visit Iceland photography spots for your next trip to the island.
So whether you intend to take an Iceland photography tour or DIYing an Iceland photography experience for yourself, ensure that you have these places on your itinerary.
Where to Take the Best Iceland Photos
This is the time to start planning your Iceland photography trip itinerary in detail and plotting out an Iceland photography map of the island. Decide which of these spots suits your Iceland photography needs and requirements:
Stampahraun Lava Field
If you are just itching to get that drone up in the Iceland air and take a remarkable Iceland landscape photo, then Stampahraun should be your first stop. This impressive steamy expanse of dark volcanic terrain can almost mimic Mars when taking the shot from certain angles.
Want pictures of Iceland that include a mountain, waterfalls, and snow? This might sound like a tall order to many photographers, but if you come at the right season, the island will deliver. But these are not the only types of photographs to take there! The area is known for its Iceland landscape photography opportunities because of the myriad of angles photos can be taken around the mountain.
You can’t visit an island with 10 000 waterfalls on it without taking a photo of one – especially not one you can actually walk behind. Standing at an angle behind the waterfall and taking an Iceland landscape photo of the view is something that’s not easily replicated elsewhere.
The Northern Lights
This one can be tricky, as the Northern Lights is not really a place, but a phenomenon that can occur across the island under the right conditions.
If you don’t feel equipped or knowledgeable enough to go Northern Lights hunting on your own, we highly recommend you book a spot on a Northern Lights tour. With those, you’re more or less guaranteed to see the spectacular light display.
Just keep in mind that no matter how many Northern Lights tours you book, you will not be seeing the phenomenon during summer with 23+ daylight hours each day.
Taking photos of the Northern Lights is also not as simple as aiming and snapping. These are moving lights in the darkness and will require certain settings and skills. You will need to adjust the white balance to 3500k, setting a shutter speed of 1-15 seconds, and using a wide lens.
Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is an Iceland photography paradise. The dramatic icebergs floating in the crystal blue water with seals often spotted playing among them makes for some interesting Iceland landscape photography.
What makes these photos even more unique is the fact that the glacier is ever-changing. That means that no photo will ever be exactly the same. The snap you take today truly is a once-in-a-lifetime photo.
The Ice Caves of Vatnajökull National Park
Icy walls that are bright blue or that resemble sparkling crystals in the light. Or they seem like they contain a black fluid (which is actually volcanic ash) like a lava lamp of the 60s.
That and more is what you can expect when you start exploring the caves underneath Europe’s largest ice cap in Vatnajökull National Park. The photo opps in this area are legion.
The Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
Is there a more haunting image than that of a plane wreck? And at this scene, you can take as many pictures as you like with the peace of mind that nobody actually got seriously injured or died. What makes the sight even more dramatic is the black volcanic sand the plane is situated on as its final resting spot.
The Black Church of Budir
Sticking to specific subjects when it comes to Iceland landscape photography, the Black Church is another favorite. But it’s not just the unique color of the church that draws in the crowds, it’s also the contrast of the glacier backdrop. If you ever needed an excuse to take some of your best Iceland photos ever and visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula - this is it.
Fjadrárgljufur aka Feather Canyon
Forget the Grand Canyon, this canyon with its flowing river and lush cliffs look like a magical kingdom straight out of Lord of the Rings. And if you’re wondering where the name comes from, just take out your drone for some aerial Iceland photography. The outcrops of the canyon walls look just like a single feather.
The sight is conveniently located between a very quaint fishing village called Vik and the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. You can then combine this photoshoot with a few other interesting stops.
The Sun Voyager Statue
The Sun Voyager Statue is a piece of modern architectural art rather than just an aesthetically pleasing statue. This steel structure situated in the capital of Reykjavík has been created to resemble an authentic Viking ship. But it truly offers any avid photographer the chance to take a very unique Iceland landscape photo.
Not only does the water in the background really emphasize this iconic structure. You also can see the way the light and shadows (especially during sunrise and sunset) play on and around the steel. It does make for some pretty impressive photography sessions.
Unlike the cutesy yet ominous black church, Hallgrimskirkja is Iceland’s tallest church and not quite as remote. For those who didn't know, it’s situated in the capital of Reykjavík.
It also has quite an intimidating air to it, with its incredibly triangular structure and cubist elements. But you’ll actually have to search pretty far and wide to find a more authentically Iceland building.
The style was actually inspired by one of the natural wonders of the island caused by all its volcanic activity; its black basalt columns. If you take a look at the basalt column backdrop of the Svartifoss waterfall, that somehow resembles a church organ.
You’ll never be able to look at Hallgrimskirkja in the same way ever again! Now, take that new-found knowledge, try a few angles and snap away!
As with the Northern Lights, this one can get fairly tricky. The island has geysers all over, and it’ll pretty much be up to you which you include in your Iceland photography itinerary. But to understand why these make some of the best Iceland photos, you’ll need to understand exactly what a geyser is.
Firstly, there truly is a geyser on the island called Geysir. In fact, this is where the name came from. So, don’t get these confused.
Depending on your photographic needs, you might be thoroughly disappointed if you show up at Geysir today. You will still get a couple of spots of bubbling water and a steamy landscape, but if you’re looking for that hot water eruption, you won’t find it there.
Geysir is now somewhat dormant in that area. If you want to take an action photo of the moment the ground seems to be spitting out water after someone has told a hilarious joke, you’ll need to go to Strokkur geyser.
This is yet another theme, more than it is a specific place. However, it is also something completely unique to Iceland (hence the name).
The island’s horses have been bred and trained to have certain characteristics; they appear short and stubby. They almost look like ponies compared to the full-grown horses of other countries.
They also appear more fluffy with their winter coats that protect them against the Icelandic cold. These horses can perform a special gait called the tölt and have an incredibly friendly nature.
You might get lucky and find Icelandic horses next to the road on your way to some of the many attractions the island has to offer. Or you can actually book an Icelandic Horse Riding tour! That way, you can get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures and take a few keepsake snapshots.
Whether you’re on and off these guys, they do make marvelous pictures of Iceland (especially when taking a few action shots).
Time to Book Your Transport
Have you got your Iceland photography itinerary all planned out? Then it’s time to book a reliable vehicle to get you around the island. You can rent a vehicle in Reykjavik, and please remember to share your itinerary with your rental agency.
As they are locals, they will be able to advise you on what the road conditions are usually like based on the season and time of year. They will also be able to tell you whether your route includes some of the roads/routes that are only accessible with a 4x4 vehicle.
They might also surprise you with some vouchers or discounts because of certain partnerships they have in place on the island. But booking at the right rental agent will definitely have an impact on how successful your Iceland photography trip will be.