Too Busy, Too Expensive? Some Truths About Landscape Photography in Iceland

Iceland is still one of the most popular locations for landscape photographers on Earth. Here, a local photographer shares some truths about landscape photography in the land of ice and fire.

I have spent more time in Iceland than most landscape photographers, and over time, you learn quite a lot from the locals. Much of the information you hear on the internet is often complete nonsense or at least unique experiences from people who have only spent a short amount of time in a location. To get an understanding of the conditions of a country, you have to spend more time there than a few days.

In the above video, the local Icelandic photographer Óli Haukur shares some truths about landscape photography in Iceland. Among other, he shares his thoughts on the “overshot country” myth, why Iceland is called Iceland (no, you do not know why), if Iceland is super expensive, or if the government pays foreigners to settle down with a local.

Óli has been in the field of photography for many years and leads workshops around the world. He is a well-travelled person and can certainly compare Iceland to other popular photography locations and debunk some of the myths on the internet.

Check out the video above and let me hear your thoughts down in the comments.

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19 Comments

Elan Govan's picture

No plans to go to Iceland at present, too busy photographing and documenting other locations.

Einar Gudmann's picture

Finally a Icelandic photographer taking on the myth of the busy locations. Great video Óli Haukur.

michaeljin's picture

So guy who runs photo workshops gives us reasons to visit popular photo workshop destination? YAY~!

Sorry, but someone was going to say it at some point, right?

Einar Gudmann's picture

I guess you don´t care :-)

michaeljin's picture

Not really. :P

It only makes sense that a native photographer and someone who regularly runs workshops at that would have the most knowledgeable view on the realities on the ground as well as how to deal with some of the perceived challenges that people might expect to encounter.

There will always be those who question the motives of such a video, but there's a difference between healthy skepticism and cynicism.

Einar Gudmann's picture

Well... I am also a local pro- photographer. I don´t run workshops - yet, - but still I completely agree with all the points in the video. If you have been to Iceland you know that getting away from crowds can most of the time be solved with a 5 minute walk in any direction.

I agree, "Disney, you suck!" :)

Kai Hornung's picture

I just saw that video a few days ago and I love it. I just returned from my first trip to Iceland. And the call of the Island being over shot rang in my ears loudly before I ever touched the soil. Oli says it all: it’s bullshit. Iceland is amazing. And it’s vast. And i bet this Country has billions of images and possibilities to photograph what hasn’t been photographed often. Just leave out the tourist magnet spots.

Thanks for sharing, Mads! I know you see it exactly the same way!

michaeljin's picture

Yeah.. this whole "money" thing does suck, doesn't it? :(

Raymond Casey's picture

I have been to Iceland two times on business in the 90's and both times I have done the golden circle. It is really great if you don't have much time. We did it by car thanks to our business partners.
I would love to return and spend more time photographing but the cost of hiring a car seems very expensive.

Do you have any suggestion how I could rent a car cheaper or is it possible without a car?
Maybe one possibility would be joining up with others to split the cost.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Splitting the cost of a rental is always a good idea. Also go for guesthouses and hostels instead of hotels to keep the cost down. Restaurants are also fairly expensive, but there are loads of grocery stores to get cheaper food also. Travelling Iceland on a budget is definitely possible :)

Raymond Casey's picture

I will give it a go :-)

yanpekar's picture

Great video, and totally true. Iceland is amazing. Not crowded at all; it is just you and the nature. Unspoiled by crowds of tourists, incredible for photography. Yes, it is quite expensive but as the author of the video suggested, there are alternatives to staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. Plan your trip well and you will enjoy every day of being there.

Oskar Ragnarsson's picture

It's true that the south coast can be busy sometimes, because that seems to be most popular destination for one day trips, and I understand why its so popular. The road from Keflavik to Höfn, where Vestrahorn mountain is, (probably most photographed mountain in Iceland) has amazing landscapes. But the rest of Iceland, the Westfjords, Northen Iceland and Eastfjords have endless spots to make a great photographs, and lot of them you can have all by your self if you are at the right time and do a little research before the trip.

Mads, great to see you writing for Fstoppers, and thanks for sharing this video. Looking forward to see more from you here. :-)

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Thank you, Julian. I've been writing for half a year. Loads of articles to dig through :)

Sorry I've missed your articles...I'll be checking out your previous articles. :-)