Grab your free Lightroom presets to quickly and easily edit your GoPro photos.
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Over the past few years GoPro has changed the game when it comes to travel photography. They continue to push the limit with higher-quality images, videos with better resolution, and cameras that are more portable than ever before.
Since I picked up my first Hero 3 in 2013 I’ve become hooked. The GoPro has become my favorite travel camera and these days I never leave home without it.
Today I travel with the Hero 5 Black and I’ve taken it with me everywhere – from Chichen Itza in Mexico to Lviv in Ukraine. It’s always with me whether I’m on public transportation, hiking through the woods or just hanging out in my apartment.
As the GoPro grows in popularity more people are picking up the latest model to use for traveling. There’s no doubting that it makes a great travel camera. These days, there’s lots of advice and tips on how to use the GoPro to get the best shots and videos.
In this post I want to share some of the best GoPro photography tips that I’ve learned over the years. These will help you to take the best photos and make the most out of your newest GoPro camera.
10 Helpful GoPro Photography Tips
Don’t Just Take One Shot
One of the best GoPro photography tips I can give is to never just take a single shot. If you check out the settings on your camera you will see that you have the option for both time lapse or burst shots.
Using the time-lapse mode is great for taking selfies. Set it to 1 second intervals and hold it out front of you for a few seconds. This is going to give you a variety of different images to choose from. Using the time-lapse mode you also don’t have to worry about blurry images as much.
Of course you’re going to want to use a selfie-stick if you want to take some great photos of yourself. Consider picking one up before your trip so that you always have it with you.
By taking more than one shot you increase your chances of getting a better photo. This way you don’t have to worry about images that are out of frame. Blurry images become less of a problem as well.
The newer GoPro models come with built-in image stabilization for videos. However, you can still end up with a blurry photo if you’re not careful.
Consider using the burst mode if you’re going to be moving around a lot. This is going to increase your chances of getting a still photo that’s completely in focus. There are different Burst Mode features so I recommend trying out a few to see which setting is the best for you.
Keep an Eye on the Battery Life
Nothing is worse than going to take a photo only to find that your GoPro has run out of batteries. There are two ways that you can easily manage the battery life on your camera.
Depending on the model that you’re using you can keep an eye on the battery by checking the screen on the back. There should be a percentage letting you know how much battery you have left. Older models will show you an icon with a battery estimate.
Alternatively, you can purchase a few spare batteries and bring them with you. This way you don’t ever have to leave your GoPro behind to charge. Running out of battery life will become one less thing you to worry about.
There are a few settings you can change to increase your GoPro battery life. Try not to use the Bluetooth Wi-Fi unless you really have to. It’s better to take a few extra shots than connect to the app and try to frame it perfectly using your phone.
With the newer models that come with the screen you sure to set the screen to turn off when you’re not using it. I recommend choosing the shortest time interval. You don’t want the screen to be on when it’s in your pocket or in your backpack draining battery life.
Expect about 90 minutes to 2 hours of being able to take photos and capture video on a single battery. I personally carry one extra battery with me at all times and I recommend you do the same.
Get Up Close
The wide angle of the GoPro means that the further away you are from the subject the smaller the subject will look. Whether you are trying to photograph a building or your friends it’s a good idea to get up close.
Alternatively, if you’re using a newer model I recommend using the linear mode for both photos and videos. This greatly reduces the awkward fisheye effect. With this mode your images are going to look better if you’re photographing in most outdoor scenarios where a wide-angle isn’t necessary.
You should experiment before you leave on your trip to see how close you really need to get. You will actually be surprised with how close you can stand to what you are photographing and still be able to capture an incredible shot.
Even when you are taking selfies you’ll notice right away that the camera held out at arms length is still able to capture quite a bit of your surroundings.
The same goes with regular photos that you take. It’s always a good idea to get close to your subject and even closer than what would seem reasonable with a normal point-and-shoot or DSLR camera.
Hold The GoPro Steady
One of the most common issues that people have with their GoPro is that the photographs and footage comes out blurry and shaky.
Blurry footage used to happen a lot more with the older models. The newer models come with built-in image stabilization. This results in a steady shot where you don’t have to use a stabilizer or any editing tricks.
When you’re taking photos using the GoPro it’s a good idea to keep your hand steady. Avoid any sudden movements and never take a photo while you’re walking. I would still recommend using a handheld stabilizer for photographs and videos.
Like I mentioned above, you’re going to want to take more than just one or two photos. This is especially important in low light or any unsteady conditions.
Keep it steady and you will get some high quality, detailed images as a result.
If you’re noticing that your video is really wobbly then I suggest taking a look at some handheld stabilizers for a smoother and steadier shot.
Try Out Unique Angles
Unlike a point-and-shoot or DSLR you can get the GoPro into some really neat and interesting angles to capture an incredible shot.
If you are using mounts this is even easier since you can reach or lower the camera into areas where you couldn’t get anything else but a GoPro.
Related: The best GoPro for travel
Whether you are mounting it to the top of your car, the window of the plane or anywhere else you can think of it’s much easier to take multiple shots from different places and angles with your GoPro than any other camera. By taking a wide variety of photos shot from different areas you are able to tell a better story and capture more of your adventure.
It’s also a lot more interactive and fun to use different mounts to capture photographs from different angles and adds a new dimension to your traveling experience.
Practice Makes Perfect
The lack of a viewfinder on the older GoPro models means it’s harder to see what you’re capturing. You can use the smartphone app but this can get annoying if you’re taking a lot of photos.
The best way to avoid this problem is to get a lot of practice using the camera. This way you don’t constantly have to check back and review your shot to see if you got everything in frame. Taking multiple photos also helps because it will give you a few options to choose from later on when you’re editing.
The newer models come with viewfinders and this makes it easier than ever to make sure everything is in frame. With the viewfinder you can capture some incredible shots and know exactly what’s going to end up in the image when you are looking at the photos later on.
Even if you’re not traveling just try taking the GoPro out around your neighborhood and test out different angles and vantage points to see how the images turn out. That way once you leave on your trip you will be able to take incredible shots.
It’s also really fun to get some time lapses or fiddle around with the different features on the camera. Try to have some fun with it and always bring it wherever you go to get extra practice.
Use A Tether
Try to avoid holding the GoPro in just your hands without any sort of mount or attachment.
The camera is so small, light and pretty expensive. Dropping it or forgetting it somewhere can really put a damper on your trip.
I recommend taking a look at my article on the best GoPro alternatives if you’re looking for something that’s a little more reasonably priced.
A wrist strap is a must for when you’re walking around a new city and its a good idea to use a tether to attach the camera to your mounts so that if it falls off you don’t have to worry about losing it forever.
I always travel with my GoPro attached to a travel tripod because it helps me get a steadier photo. Leaving the tripod attached also makes the camera easier for me to carry. I’m less likely to leave it behind as well.
If you are doing some adventure sports like snorkeling, swimming or anything that doesn’t involve walking around the city it’s definitely a good idea to keep it attached to yourself so you never have to worry about losing it.
Another one of the best GoPro photography tips I can give is to always try to use a mount with your camera. There are so many different mounts available that you will definitely be able to find one that you prefer using and each of them, when used correctly, can definitely enhance the quality of photographs you take.
For example the three arm mount can be used as a travel tripod, selfie stick and even as a manual stabilizer or handheld grip mount for the camera.
The suction cup mount is great for sticking to flat surfaces and grabbing unique photographs or interesting time lapses.
Regardless of the mount you use they all have a certain purpose that will definitely enhance your photos. I recommend traveling with at least two or three different mounts that are versatile and useful for the situations and scenarios you will be traveling in.
Watch Out For Fog
A great way to ruin an otherwise perfect picture is to let your GoPro get all foggy and not do anything about it. There are these inserts that you can buy the claim to make sure that no fog builds up but there is an easier way to keep the inside of your GoPro case fog free.
The reason that fog builds up in the first place is because the camera itself gets quite hot and if the temperature outside of the case is different than moisture will start to accumulate.
When you’re walking around on foot it is a good idea to use the case attachment that has the open, ventilated back piece. This provides enough airflow around the camera itself so that it doesn’t get too warm and cause any moisture to build up.
If it’s raining or you are using your camera in wet situations, like snorkelling or swimming, then of course you will want to use the closed back piece. To prevent fog in this situation simply add a little piece of tissue paper, paper towel or even a rice grain to the camera case. This will prevent any fogging and allow you to keep taking great shots.
Edit Your Photos
Sometimes the GoPro will capture a good shot. Other times it will be too dark, too overexposed or not as brightly colored as you had hoped. A way you can remedy this is to edit the photos after you have taken them.
I personally use Lightroom for all my photo editing. Feel free to take a look at my post on the best GoPro editing apps if you’re wondering what to use to edit your own photos.
This is another area where you’ll have to practice to improve your skills. Over time it will become easier and the edited photos will look a lot better than if you just uploaded or shared them straight from the camera.
Try to keep some of these GoPro photography tips in mind before heading out on your next adventure. That way you’ll be able to capture incredible photos of your trip and impress your friends and family with your photographic skill.
It’s always a good idea to get as much practice as you can so any time you have the chance to take the GoPro and go out, have fun and grab some shots!