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With Iceland’s national day being tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I love about Iceland as a photography destination. It’s safe to say that Iceland is, by far, my favourite country in the world. After all, I chose it to be my new home! One of the reasons why I made that choice is the near-limitless potential it has for nature photography. These days, Iceland has arguably become one of the most popular locations on the planet for landscape photography – for a reason. In this article, I will share with you my top 5 reasons why I believe Iceland has to be on your photography bucket list of locations to visit. Let’s dive in!

Iceland is a magical place with many otherworldly landscapes that almost feel surreal. This particular spot, Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll, is a geothermal area deep in the Icelandic Highlands. It’s one of my favourite areas in the whole country. If you want to discover it, and learn about a few other locations in the process, make sure to check my Photography Locations e-book.

1. Iceland Has A Lot Of Varied Landscapes

Quite literally, in one day, you can see gorgeous waterfalls, majestic glaciers, boiling hot springs, crater-filled landscapes and even erupting volcanoes if you’re lucky. Whatever you plan to do on your photographic adventure in Iceland, there is never a boring day to be had. There is even that much to see and do that even after 13 years of travelling around Iceland (8 of which I lived here) I still haven’t seen it all. There are some areas I have barely scratched the surface of.

There’s just one caveat… Even though you can see all of that in one day, it doesn’t mean you should. The biggest pitfall when travelling to Iceland, and especially for photography, is to plan your days too full.

Whether you like snow-covered mountains, with the aurora dancing above, or sunset at impressive sea stacks…

…or photographing glacial ice on a black sand beach and finding beautiful reflections in a remote swamp, Iceland has it all. There is so much variety that you will never be bored.

2. Shooting Locations Are Never Too Far Away

On top of that, all these magical locations don’t require endless amounts of driving to reach. The distances between interesting locations for photography are, in most cases, quite short which means you spend a lot more time photographing than in most countries. During most of my photo workshops, we drive on average 130 kilometres per day, and at most 300 kilometres in one day if we really need to cover ground to advance the trip. Especially in the Icelandic Highlands, you drive to a specific area and spend a whole day shooting various different interesting locations.

These two epic locations, where you can spend several hours shooting, are within 30 minutes driving from each other. In some areas, you literally spend 5 minutes of driving between locations, which means you get a lot more time photographing.

3. Icelandic Landscapes Feel Otherworldly

It is often said that Iceland is like another planet and there is a good reason for that. In recent years, Iceland has become the set of many TV shows and movies that look to depict a fantasy or sci-fi setting. And you can’t really blame them for picking Iceland as it has some of the strangest, most unique landscapes on this planet that make it feel otherworldly too.

This is especially true when you look at Iceland from an aerial perspective which highlights all the strange features, such as the multi-coloured craters and braided rivers. To me, photography in Iceland really shines when you use a drone. Even though the drone regulations in Iceland may have become complicated, it is worth getting your head around it to enjoy drone photography. On my photo workshops, I frequently get participants who have never flown a drone before, and sometimes even unbox their new drone on the workshop. It’s the perfect place to learn!

This unique mountain, which I wrote about in one of my ‘Behind the Shot’ stories, almost looks as if it was designed by an artist. The shape, the colours, the swirling river around it, … It feels too perfect.

Under the right circumstances, Breiðarmerkursandur (or the Diamond Beach as people call it) is a place that feels surreal.

4. The Icelandic Highlands Are One Of A Kind

There is one region of Iceland that I find unrivalled: the Central Icelandic Highlands. It is one of the last true, untouched wilderness areas in the whole of Europe and houses the most unique and surreal landscapes in Iceland. Whether you like endless black sand desert, colourful craters, picturesque glacial rivers or steaming colourful mountain ranges, there is something waiting to be photographed everywhere.

As I have mentioned before, aerial views of Iceland can be exceptional and in the Icelandic Highlands that’s even more true. Each time I visit the Highlands, whether it’s for my own enjoyment or with a photography workshop, I find that the vast majority of the images I return with were captured using my drone.

The Icelandic Highlands are covered in beautiful, and sometimes colourful, craters from past eruptions.

With an aerial perspective, you get a much better view of the many unique patterns and landscapes that can be found in the Highlands.

5. Winter & Summer: Two Completely Different Countries

To me, the best part about Iceland is the fact that it’s a two-for-one. You get two completely different destinations in the body of one country. Winter and summer in Iceland are so wildly different from each other that it is possible to repeat your adventures in different seasons and get a completely different experience.

In winter, you can enjoy frozen waterfalls, the colourful & vibrant northern lights, endless snow-covered landscapes, golden light and beautiful ice formations. At least, if you can handle the harsh weather conditions you can encounter during winter! On the other hand, during summer, you get to enjoy eternal daylight, photograph the iconic puffin and, of course, explore the wild Icelandic Highlands.

During summer, you get to see these colourful sea birds: the Atlantic Puffins. They are so much fun to photograph and the perfect subject to really dive deep into wildlife photography.

In winter, you have the chance to see the northern lights (aurora borealis) which truly is a magical experience.

The Icelandic Highlands are only accessible during the summer months, which make them the perfect candidate for summer photography workshops in Iceland.

If the weather cooperates, you can experience a whole day’s worth of golden hour during the winter months.

Join A Photo Workshop!

Join me and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey by signing up to a photo workshop in Iceland, Greenland, or another exciting destination. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes of these stunning destinations while honing your photography skills. Capture the awe-inspiring beauty of glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, and more, under the guidance of experienced photographers.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, these workshops offer a unique opportunity to learn and practice various techniques, including drone photography. Don’t miss out on this incredible adventure that combines exploration, education, and the art of photography.

Previous Participants Shared This About Their Experience…

... Jeroen has great ability as a teacher as well as a photographer. His priority is the participant, not taking his own pictures. Jeroen is good at checking in with the introvert photographer to make sure they are getting the most from the scene, but without looking over your shoulder. Knowing that group dynamics impacts everyone’s experience, he also builds a camaraderie with his humour and manner.

Stewart L.Iceland in Winter Photo Workshop (March 2024)

I took a 3 day photography workshop with Jeroen to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and had a wonderful experience. Jeroen has an infectious enthusiasm for photography and it really shows in his love of these Icelandic locations and the way he provides instruction on the best perspectives and techniques to get the shots. I appreciate that Jeroen is fully licensed to guide these workshop. This gives me peace of mind knowing that he’s prepared to handle most scenarios that may occur out in the field. Time to save up for my next workshop with Jeroen! Thanks so much, Jeroen!

Jarrick L.Private Workshop in October 2023

Well organised workshop with multiple stunning locations providing plenty of opportunities to capture great photos. When the opportunity arose to capture the Northern Lights, Jeroen’s knowledge made sure we were in the right locations to capture the lights at their best. Jeroen was always willing to help and pass on his knowledge to be able to have the best possible composition to capture stunning photos. I can’t thank Jeroen and Mads enough for a great workshop and creating memories that will last a lifetime. I look forward to doing more workshops in the future with Jeroen and highly recommended anyone interested in a photography workshop to do it and learn from the best.

Jordan G.Iceland in Winter Workshop in November 2023

I had the privilege of going on the Puffins in the midnight sun workshop which was an amazing experience. Anja and Jeroen were both absolutely amazing hosts and the workshop exceeded my expectations. Both were very approachable with any questions and provided the appropriate level of advice, allowing me to improve my photography.

Jeff M.Puffins in the Midnight Sun Workshop in June 2023

In July 2023 I decided to book a 5 days private tour with Jeroen to the highlands. This was a complete different experience. We visited remote and amazing locations, I could not find this locations without Jeroens guidance. Jeroen has a incredible local knowledge, a great enthusiasm, a perfect planning and also very important, a lot of patience. I enjoyed the 5 days with Jeroen very much, he is a very accommodating person with agreat sense of humor. During our tour we had a lot of fun and with his assistance I made my best Iceland shots ever, most of them with my Mavic 3 Pro drone. Thank you very much Jeroen for this unique experience, I hope we will plan the next tour in 2024 together.

Wolfgang S.Private Highlands Workshop in July 2023

I really enjoyed guided hike with Jeroen. He knows a lot about the volcanos so you won't have only amazing experience but you can also learn a lot from him. Perfect and easy communication. Thank you again for this "stillcantbelievethatitwasreal" experience!

Veronika S.Private Eruption Hike in August 2023

… The itinerary was well thought out, but allowed for flexibility of weather conditions and the eruption of Meradalir! Jeroen is knowledgeable, helpful, thoughtful & has a great sense of humour. He regularly checked-in with us to all make sure we were happy and offered assistance in our photography, especially for drones. I felt safe, entertained & learned so much during the workshop. The accommodation & food during the trip were also amazing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend or attend another workshop.

Rhiannon L.Highlands Photo Workshop in August 2022

Greenland 2023 was an incredible experience, in a truly epic location with an amazing group of people. Andy and Jeroen are true professionals in every sense, with a passion for photography that is infectious to the group. I felt challenged to explore styles of photography that pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone, and having their guidance as well as the group to share ideas with helped me grow as a photographer. Andy seems to have a knack for creating an inclusive environment around him that brings the group together, inspires, builds friendships, and elevates the experience to an enjoyable and unforgettable one. Jeroen is very knowledgeable, easy going, and talented photographer and it was a pleasure spending the week with him. I truly cannot recommend highly enough.

Chris D.Greenland Photo Workshop in March 2023

… It was one of the most wonderful trips of adventure, exhilaration mixed with wonder and awe of the surrounding beauty. None of that would have been possible without the expert guidance, local knowledge, sense of enthusiasm and detailed planning by Jeroen. We were lucky to him as an expert driver while we wondered over terrain that is unfamiliar to most people, but Jeroen made us feel confidant that we were in safe hands. Moreover his love for photography, landscape and culture of Iceland is contagious and made the trip all the more special. Whether you call him the “Volcano man” or the “drone man” his photography is extraordinary. I would go back in a heartbeat to spend time exploring more of Iceland with him.

Sarfraz D.Highlands Photo Workshop in August 2022

… Everything about it was excellent – it is clear that Jeroen puts huge effort into ensuring he provides a first class experience for his participants – the itinerary was thorough, but flexible to get the best out of the weather and volcanic eruption conditions. Jeroen ensures that everybody is safe (important in such an environment) as well as maintaining a pace that works for all. On top of this, his knowledge about Iceland is broad and deep making him an excellent tour guide as well as an accomplished photographer. I can highly recommend a workshop or tour with Jeroen and I do hope that I get to enjoy another workshop with him in the future.

Jon A.Highlands Photo Workshop in August 2022

I was fortunate to accompany both Andy Mumford and Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove to Ilulissat, Greenland. I've done guided photography tours before, but this was without a doubt the most enjoyable experience. The comradery of the group combined with the positive attitude and humor of both Andy and Jeroen was fabulous. Lodging + food were a step above what I was expecting and were memorable experiences in and of themselves. Zero regrets and while in Greenland, I discussed what other tours I could add my name onto the waitlist for. Recommended without hesitation.

Michael M.Greenland Photo Workshop in March 2023

It became clear that Jeroen is very familiar with the beauty of Iceland, but also with the possible dangers of its natural elements. He took us to the highlights, but also guided us to a number of hidden marvels. And always he knew something interesting to tell about the location. On the creativity side, Jeroen did not intervene at all on location – unless requested for. So we all could explore our own creativity. This definitely tastes for more. And I will definitely call Jeroen again.

Koen D.Private Photography Tour in March 2016

It was a pleasure to have a look behind the scences on how Jeroen works. His photos look so natural as he knows where to be in the right place at the right time. I’ve received a lot of professional advice and feedback on how to create stunning landscape images. You did an amazing job and I can’t thank you enough!

Adında M.Private Photography Tour in November 2017

… Imagine being taken to locations so amazing that the erupting volcano wasn’t even one of the top 5. This was an EPIC adventure through a place traversed by few people. We had the guidance and support needed to capture amazing photos and learn to use our drones effectively, incredible food and accommodations, and access to Jeroen’s incredible wealth of knowledge to keep us safe in face of unstable cliffs, weird weather, and other craziness. I can’t wait to join another tour with Jeroen.

Richard S.Highlands Photo Workshop in August 2022

If you want to explore Iceland with your camera you’re blessed with a guide like Jeroen. He knows and understands the country so well. He really makes an effort to visit every location at the best possible moment of the day. He knows so many beautiful locations so that he’s also able to improvise when the weather conditions are not that great. He will bring you to lots of beautiful places that are less touristic and where you can take the time to fully explore your camera trying to capture this unique landscape.

Stefaan M.Private Photography Tour in March 2016

… And my expectations of his guided tour were indeed the highlight of my short vacation. Not only the sights where breathtaking but also Jeroen’s personal anecdotes and explanation in an easy way over this ever changing landscape building itself was a great surplus to my hiking experience. He is not only passionate about telling you the story behind the views that unfolds before your eyes during the hike, but he lets you also walk at your own pace without looking to his watch as on many other organised larger tours. So folks if you look for an unique guided personal tour, I would really recommend this great guide. From me personally he earns withouth doubt 5* !

John V.Private Guided Eruption Hike in October 2021

Photography Locations In Iceland

If you enjoy exploring on your own more, make sure to check out my e-book on photography locations in Iceland. This comprehensive map & guide to my favourite aerial, landscape and wildlife photography locations in available as a handy PDF.

It contains a lot of useful information such as:

  • GPS coordinates for each location
  • Access to a custom Google Map which contains all locations and other useful POI
  • Comprehensive descriptions on how to get there
  • When it’s the best time to visit each location
  • Where to stay if you plan to stick around
  • Photography advice for each place
  • Helpful links and apps which are useful when travelling around Iceland as a photographer
  • An overview of local regulations relevant to photographers
Get The Photo Locations E-Book

Support Jeroen’s Work

As an independent photographer, Jeroen partially relies on your support to keep producing worthwhile content such as blogs, photographs, books and much more. If you want to support his work, it is possible to do so by buying his e-books & books, prints or calendars.

You can also sign up to the newsletter to stay up to date on new blog posts, projects, workshops and other interesting information.

Thank you for considering!

Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove

Jeroen is an award-winning Belgian photographer based in Iceland. The past years, he dedicated his photography to the Central Highlands & volcanic eruptions. Most recently, he received international attention for his work at the Fagradalsfjall volcano.

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