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Camera Essentials for the Best Photos in Iceland

You’ve already done your research, so you have seen lots of photos. Mountains, glaciers, black sand beaches, waterfalls…Iceland is literally a photographers dream! Having an awesome camera with all of the gear to go with it has never been so important as it is for your trip to Iceland.

Funny story. We actually bought our camera for our honeymoon to Iceland. For all of our other travels up to that time, we were using a cheap point-and-shoot. I didn’t know anything about all of the fancy accessories you can add to your camera, and we didn’t even own a tripod yet! My husband took all of our photos of the Northern Lights while balancing the camera on the top of our rental car. This is really impressive considering it was freezing cold and he had to hold the camera completely still for 20-30 seconds while the camera gathered the light. (Meanwhile, I jumped around celebrating like a crazy person-standard.) Funny to think back on that, with how much I use my tripod now!

So I’m here to help you learn from me! While our photos still turned out great, it would have been awesome to have some of these gadgets to use. It’s made such a difference in my photos and ability to shoot in any situation.

In Iceland, the weather is unpredictable and lighting changes drastically depending on what time of year you are visiting. It’s important to be as prepared as possible.

Basics

  • Camera – I know everyone has a preference between Canon and Nikon. We have absolutely loved our Sony mirrorless camera. Has all the functions of a DSLR, but it’s lightweight and portable like a point and shoot. To each his own, just find something that works for you and captures beautiful images.
  • Lenses – Obviously you want a landscape or wide angle lens to capture the beautiful scenery. It’s also nice to have multiple lenses to switch between depending on the image you are trying to get. I love our 55-210 zoom lens for getting shots of things that are further away, and photos with people in it.
  • Tripod – For shots of the amazing Northern Lights, that silky waterfall look, and group shots, a tripod is essential! I love the Dolica tripod, it has telescoping legs with a pivot head for quick transition from horizontal to vertical images. Plus, it’s super lightweight – good for those hiking trips!
  • Memory card – don´t skimp on quality here, better really makes a difference in how the camera writes the images to the card. Amazon always has the cheapest prices! I recommend a class 10 and no less than 32GB – you don’t want to run out of storage!
  • Waterproof phone case – Let’s face it, our cell phones are sometimes the most used device on the trip! Especially for updating Insta-stories…amiright?! Make sure your phone is protected from the Iceland elements by using a waterproof case. The one I use is from Catalyst and it’s awesome! Definitely a lifesaver for waterfall shots, hot springs, and everyday Iceland weather. I even brought it with me in the Blue Lagoon with no worries – just complete protection!

A tripod is so necessary for taking still and self timer photos! Camera essentials for the best photos of Iceland | Life With a View

Storage

  • Carrying bag – If you’re going to be transporting your camera around, you need somewhere to put it. I love my cross body bag because it’s water-resistant, durable, and has tons of pockets for storing all of my accessories.
  • Dry bag – I personally love having this extra small dry bag as added protection for when we are by waterfalls. Sometimes if we are just getting out of the car quick and I don’t feel like bring the whole camera bag, I bring this instead. You know how Iceland weather can be, I need to know everything will stay completely dry.
  • Rain sleeve – A rain sleeve is bulky and looks ridiculous, but it is KEY for keeping your camera dry. This little thing has come in handy SO many times, and it’s so cheap you can’t go wrong! Remember, you are in Iceland. Water is always around, whether it is falling from the sky or the wind is blowing it up or across – there is a HIGH chance that you will run into wet weather. The elements are nothing to take lightly! Protect your expensive investment.

Keep your camera protected and accessories organized with a good carrying case. Camera essentials for the best photos of Iceland + FREE printable camera packing checklist! | Life With a View

Accessories

  • Lens filters – You know when people take a photo of the water and you can see the rocks underneath? Or when a waterfall looks like falling silk, rather than falling water? That is what a CPL filter does. I recommend getting a few different shades – the one you will need depends on the harshness of the light. And make sure to check the diameter of your lens to see what size to order.
  • Memory card holder – I used to throw my memory cards in one of the pockets of our camera bag until one day I realized how bad of an idea that was. The little fingers can break off, or the card can easily get lost or misplaced if you’re (I’m) not careful (which I’m not). I bought this super durable and waterproof card holder that keeps my cards secure in one place. Holds up to 12 SD cards. I love it.
  • Microfiber cloth + brush – For proper lens maintenance, you need to have a couple items. A microfiber cloth is standard for cleaning smudges off the lens. I don’t know about you but I always have like 20 of these laying around somewhere. They are super cheap, and come free with most electronics or accessories. A soft bristle brush comes in handy if you get dust on your sensor. They even have these items bundled together in a kit. Really cheap investment, and really comes in handy.
  • Shutter release –  The remote shutter release is my favorite toy. If I’m out exploring by myself, I can set up the tripod and still be in the frame with the remote. Group shots? Tripod + remote! Also really comes in handy for shooting Northern Light photos so there is no movement in the shot. Again, these things are cheap, and awesome when you need it.
READ MORE:   Safety in Iceland: 13 Important Travel Tips

With an array of breathtaking landscapes, you want to be prepared with the best tools to capture it all! Camera essentials for taking the best photos in Iceland + FREE printable checklist! | Life With a View

 

 

 

 

 

Etc.

  • Extra battery – Usually extra batteries can be a spendy add-on, so it can often be put on the back burner. Living in Iceland means the cold weather drains the battery quickly. Also, I spend way more time outside on each adventure, and I don’t want to have to worry about getting to an outlet as I see the battery going down. I really like the security of having a fully charged back up.
  • Car charger – Again, another way to make sure your battery lasts through the day is to have a car charger to power up between all of those waterfall stops.
  • Converter – You want to make sure you can charge your battery pack and/or computer at the end of the day. I’ve blown up many converters in my life but this is the best one I’ve found. It’s sturdy, has 2 USB ports, and universal for all of your worldly travels.
  • Selfie stick – Yeah yeah, I know what you are thinking. BUT we actually use our selfie stick in case of emergencies! And I like to throw some selfie footage in my videos – it’s FUN!
  • Window mount – I use road clips a lot in my videos, and this is a great way to do it. Also good for videoing you and your partner/friends dancing and singing in the car. They’re cheap!
  • Warranty – When I was blonde/careless a few weekends ago, the Icelandic winds blew over my tripod and smashed my lens. Thankfully the camera is still fully functioning, but I was kicking myself when I realized I didn’t have a warranty on it. Learn from my mistakes, protect your expensive investment!

Iceland camera essentials checklist - FREE download! | Life With a View


I always think it’s better to be over prepared when it comes to camera gear, I like to have a selection of tools to choose from. In Iceland, there are so many opportunities to take beautiful photos, make sure you’re prepared for all situations! Have a great trip!

Question: Anything else you would add to this list?

 

 

 

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The weather and lighting in Iceland is constantly changing - use my list to make sure you are prepared with the right gear for capturing the best photos!

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  • Van @ Snow in Tromso
    May 26, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I can’t wait to finally have enough spare money to buy a new and professional camera! Constantly reading reviews and trying to find out what other bloggers use, haha! I haven’t actually heard of rain sleeves before but they seem so handy – definitely on my shopping list!

    • Jeannie
      June 7, 2016 at 9:20 am

      I finally had to take the plunge and just buy one and I am so happy I did! But I know what you mean, they can definitely be a big investment. Love the photos from your latest blog post, Norway in summer looks gorgeous!

  • Julia
    May 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Other than the tripod, do you have any tips for shooting the Northern Lights? Last time I was in Iceland I was super inexperienced at photography so I didn’t get great pictures like I was hoping!

    Julia
    http://www.thephillyphotoblog.com/