7 Best Places for Photography in Finland

Finland nature photography northern lights

Finland is a nature photographer’s dream, and one of the best places for photography.

Hundreds of thousands of photos are taken of Finland’s nature and our national parks every year, and it can be difficult for a visitor to decide where to go because there are so many beautiful places.

There are forty-one wonderful national parks in Finland, which provide photographic opportunities in both summer and winter.

Finland photography

It is worth noting that we also have lovely natural destinations outside of the national parks, and as a local photographer, I want to tell you about my favorite places and moments in Finnish nature, covering all seasons.

With the help of the following tips you will walk away with wonderful images.

Read more: 8 Ways to Take Your Nature Photography to the Next Level

Seasons in Finland

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that here in the north, we have eight seasons instead of four, and the seasons change quickly, each bringing something unique to your photography ventures.

These abrupt changes in weather can pose a danger to the unknowing photographer, so you should always check the routes and signs well before heading to any of these locations and, if necessary, call the local nature centers and ask for advice.

northern lights Finland camera settings

It is essential to consider the rules and restrictions of movement and choose your equipment according to the weather. In the summer, mosquitoes can be a torment, while in the winter, the cold and challenging travel can be an obstacle.

Bear this in mind as you research and pack up for your nature photography trips here; ensure you have researched the time of year well according to your planned visit!

Read more: How to Photograph the Seasons

1. Oulanka National Park in Autumn

Oulanka National Park is beautiful all year round, but it reaches its glory in autumn when the leaves color the landscape with shades of yellow and orange.

I have many favorite places in the park closest to my house, but the river valleys are one of my absolute favorites. Among the landscape spots, one of the most photographed is the landscape from Päähkänäkallio down to Kitkajoki.

Finland photography spots

Morning fog often rises in river valleys in autumn. The haze effortlessly floats in the valley and plays with the tops of the fir trees. The sun colors the landscape orange. Sometimes the fog grows so thick that you can’t see in front of you all morning.

In the river valley, it is essential to note the movement restrictions between April and August due to nesting birds.

The best splendor in autumn is after the second week of September. Fall starts at a slightly different time every year, but by the middle of the month, the colors should already be visible.

You should head to the cliffs of the river before sunrise and spend the whole morning there in peace. The light changes constantly, and you can often photograph the landscape long after sunrise because the haze softens the light.

Read more: Golden Hour Photography – A Landscape Photographer’s Guide

2. Kilpisjärvi in Autumn

Another popular and incredible autumn excursion destination in Finland is Kilpisjärvi. Finland’s highest fell, Saana, is in Kilpisjärvi. The height of Saanatunturi is 1029 meters above sea level. Fall in Kilpisjärvi is famous throughout the country.

The area has always been my mother’s favorite place, and this small area is filled with tourists during autumn. Among the tourists, many photographers are attracted by the yellow and orange coloring of the fells and the picturesque landscape of the Saana Fell.

best places for photography Finland

At Kilpisjärvi, I recommend staying several days during autumn. The view from Lake Tsahkal towards Saana Fell is an iconic landscape picture you don’t want to miss. It’s gorgeous in the morning at sunrise.

On the second or the same day, if you can manage, you can climb to the top of Saana Fell in the evening and photograph the landscape towards the lake and Malla Fell.

Walking in the Malla nature park is very restricted, so if you decide to visit there, check the rules regarding movement and staying overnight.

In the evenings, it’s worth peeking outside now and then because, on a clear night, you have a good chance of seeing the northern lights.

Read more: 4 Steps to Shoot Beautiful Lakes at Sunrise

3. Inari Otsamo – Midnight Sun in Summer

The summer night in Finland is bright. The sun doesn’t set all night; you will need blackout curtains to sleep, especially in the north! However, this endless night offers photographers excellent opportunities to photograph the golden light throughout.

The period just after the nightless night is one of my favorite seasons. The night remains bright enough to climb over the fell, for example, this Inari Otsamo, but the sun goes down just enough that the sky turns a beautiful pink for a few hours.

best places for photography Finland

There is a clear path to the top of Otsamo, and you should reserve a reasonable hour to make the journey.

It’s best to watch both the sunset and the sunrise on top and carry a longer telephoto lens to photograph the fells. The landscape is so vast that you can see the whole of Lapland from the top of the fell!

Read more: How to Take Landscapes with a Telephoto Lens

4. Summer Salla Reindeer Park

Perhaps the most photographed animal in Finland is the reindeer. Reindeer are semi-wild domestic animals that live in northern Fennoscandia and graze in the fells and the Forest-Lapland area. The stock form of the reindeer is a deer.

Most reindeer fawns are born in May, but spawning continues into June. The baby reindeer are born when the snow has already partially melted, and the probability of severe frosts and snowfall decreases.

baby reindeer photo Finland

Seeing reindeer safely in Reindeer Park Salla is possible, but you should book the park’s guide to see them.

If you hope to photograph reindeer fawns, you should schedule your visit for June, and to guarantee beautiful light for your photos, you should ask to view them as late as possible, during the evening sun.

Read more: 12 Ways to Evoke Emotion in Your Wildlife Photos

5. Riisitunturi National Park in Winter

Finnish winter is challenging but extremely beautiful. As a photographer, you must consider many things that make photography more accessible, like suitable gloves to be able to photograph with them on!

Here, the most beautiful places to photograph are not necessarily the easiest, but I can tell you a few areas that are easy to get to.

You should make a packing list for photography in winter carefully and remember to take enough clothes and a warm drink.

But it’s worth a day out in the difficult weather; this winter pine tree landscape is like something from a postcard. On a clear day, especially, the scenery at Posio Riisitunturi is breathtakingly beautiful.

Finland photography locations

The photo above was taken in December, the darkest time of the year, but the picture is anything but dark to me. I love these pink marshmallow landscapes.

Riisitunturi National Park has a ring route that is mostly easy to walk. The trail is about 1.5 km one way. Along the trail, you can see a landscape of snow monsters and get to a wilderness hut to warm up and eat snacks.

snow covered trees Finland photograph

In winter, you should visit Riisitunturi National Park during the day and, if you wish, stay overnight to wait for the northern lights. In that case, you should also bring a tripod and a wide-angle lens (14-20mm), and lots of hot drinks and food, of course!

But be aware that during the most beautiful time of the year, in December and January, clear days are rare, so enjoy them if you get one.

Read more: Landscape Photography Settings for Cloudy Days

6. Pallas National Park in Winter

These pink marshmallow-style landscapes can also be seen in the Pallatunturi National Park in Muonio. This park is a bit more challenging than Riisitunturi, but there are a few notably more accessible routes.

The best scenery here can be found on the fells.

The easiest way to get between the fells is to leave either Hotel Pallas or Vuontispirtti Hotel with snowshoes or fell skis and hike up to Nammalakuru for about 6 km (from Vuontispirtti).

Pallas national park Finland photography

Nammalakuru has both a wilderness cabin and a reservation cabin where you can stay overnight. You must buy the reserve hut bed in advance and pick up the key from the nature center.

Near Nammalakuru, you can go on ski trips to the nearby fells. The most beautiful moments are usually mornings and nights. In the morning, haze shrouds the landscape; if it’s clear, the northern lights take over the sky at night.

You must prepare carefully for a trip to the fells and check the route’s condition to the hut. Usually, the trails are maintained more abundantly after the middle of February, and there is enough light to travel during the day.

You should carry a wide-angle and a telephoto lens for photographing the fells. At night, a tripod and a wide lens are a must.

Read more: 8 Best Lenses for Landscape Photography

7. Nuorgam in Winter

The northernmost place in Finland, Nuorgam, is one of my favorite places to see the northern lights in the winter.

The fells can be easily reached along the Pulmankijärvi road, from where you can see the sky. It is pretty rare in the north that the northern lights are not visible if all the necessary elements are in place!

Northern lights Finland

But check the weather, as the sky must be cloudless, it must be dark enough, and the northern lights must be active.

When photographing the northern lights, you should use as bright and wide a lens as possible. An excellent focal length is between 14-20mm.

Finland nature photography northern lights

Northern lights can be slow-moving or fast-moving. They can be dim or bright. All of this affects your camera settings. I usually always try these settings first and start modifying them if necessary:

  • ISO 1600
  • 8 seconds
  • f/1.8 or 2.8
  • 14-20mm lens

The northern lights may sometimes be visible all night or sometimes only briefly. On a clear night, you should forget about sleeping and focus on spotting the northern lights as soon as they appear in the sky.

Read more: The Best Lenses for Astrophotography

In conclusion

You can travel to Finland to take photos at any time of the year, but think about what you hope to see. You can’t see the northern lights in summer, but in winter, you will easily spend less time outside because of the cold.

My advice is to plan multiple journeys, so that you can experience all of what this magnificent location has to offer to nature photographers!

Finland is a beautiful country. Please remember to respect nature and keep it clean if and when you visit.

See you out there!

Visit Eeva's website

Eeva is a Nikon Creator, and has been a professional photographer and wilderness guide for almost 15 years. Her work includes writing, running trips for clients and other client photography, always with an emphasis on nature. Eeva has lived in Kuusamo since 2019 with her boyfriend and Australian shepherd Lily.

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