GoPro Photography Tips
Whether you are a professional extreme sportsman who is venturing outdoors for adrenaline-pumping action or a family man who simply wants to enjoy a fun afternoon with loved ones – recording your antics and capturing those perfect moments is always worthwhile! You can share what you have captured with others who were not there to join in on the day’s events, you can relive the suspense from your adventures or you can also use the footage to perfect your performance. No matter your reason for having your GoPro on hand, we are here to help you ultimately improve its use so that you can capture your moments perfectly while avoiding silly mistakes that could leave you disappointed with your recent recordings.
Here are our 15 GoPro hacks that you can use to capture the moment perfectly:
1. Get Yourself The Right Mount
First things first, if you do not have a GoPro mount, you’re going to want to get yourself one! A mount is the single easiest way to improve any video while conveniently leaving your hands free to carry on with your adventures. You’ll probably be happy to know that GoPro mounts come in all different shapes and sizes and each one has been uniquely designed to meet your niche requirements. For instance, you get helmet and chest mounts for filming snowboarding or ski excursions and the likes, you get mounts that fit onto the handlebars and frames of bikes and you can even opt for a standard tripod mount for stable stationary shots. Heck, why not get them all!
2. Find Your Perfect Angle
Once you have your mount, we recommend that you fiddle around with the adjustments or try to place it at different angles until you find the spot that produces the smoothest shots at your preferred view. Different mounts have the ability to provide a unique point of views. A GoPro mounted on a helmet, for example, can provide a view from the rider’s eyes, but a rear-facing camera mounted to the frame of a bicycle can capture a more general outward facing view where you are included in the shot. By perfecting your angle, you will be able to accurately tell the story you had envisioned.
3. Stabilize Your Shots
Recent GoPro models and releases, like the Hero6 Black, for instance, have digital image stabilization featured into the device. This is an impressive upgrade to the GoPro series but it still has its flaws and does not always work as reliably as we would like it to. And then when it comes to the older models, well, this is where you will have to completely improvise. Fortunately, GoPro has a good selection of stabilization or a gopro alternative to choose from to help you get that crisp and motion-free shot. Nothing beats a tripod when it comes to stability, but if you are trying to stabilize shots in motion, then a gimbal is what you are after. Gimbals use motors to counteract movement, this way they are able to capture incredibly smooth footage in virtually any setting, from hand-held selfie shots to a thrilling downhill snowboard ride.
4. Use Filters
We’re not talking about digital filters found on editing apps and social media platforms here, nope, we can do you one better. We are referring to physical filters that you can position in front of your lens to manipulate the light that your GoPro sees. There’s a wide selection of these filters to choose from and this way you can get perfect footage no matter the lighting you find yourself in. For instance, you can use a neutral density (ND) filter in bright environments which will allow for a slower shutter speed and will thus prevent the picture or video from being too striking. And if underwater photography or filming is your thing, a good idea is to use a red filter to help remove the blue-green color cast which tends to compromise the real view.
5. Learn How to Manually Adjust Your Settings
Most GoPros, especially the more recent models, have excellent automatic settings that leave you to do very little when it comes to getting the camera rolling. Tinkering around with the settings and familiarising yourself with setting options, however, can allow you to really fine-tune your adjustments so that you can get that ultimate shot or you can even manipulate a shot so that you get the desired image and not necessarily the “real view”. Playing around with exposure, resolution and frame settings, for example, can really give you a feel of what works best in different situations. It also all depends on what type of look you are going for – perhaps you want the footage to tell a different story to the actual scenery and lighting in front of you? The purpose of your recordings will also affect your settings, that is, are you looking for high-quality videos that are worthy for film use, or do you need smaller files that you can quickly share with friends online?
6. Go Protune
Apart from the above-mentioned settings, many GoPro models come with a feature called Protune. Many users are unaware of this feature, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. Now, what exactly is Protune, you may ask? Protune consists of a group of features that allow you to fine-tune your footage by having control of things such as white balance, saturation, exposure, ISO, and so on. Adjusting your Protune settings won’t affect non-Protune video modes and you can reset to default mode at any time. Essentially, this feature allows you to manipulate settings even further so that things can be captured completely differently from the “real-life” scenario. This is a handy tool to use when you are putting a film or documentary together and you want to add some special effects.
7. Make Use of The Burst and Time Lapse Features
If you want your videos to stand out and have a unique take, then learning to navigate your way around the burst and time-lapse features will only help you to capture those perfect moments. While GoPros are popular for their video-capturing capabilities, they take pretty good snapshots too – especially with the Burst Shot settings! With burst images, you can also stitch the photos (30 frames per second) into a unique action sequence and mix it in with video footage for an ultimate viewing experience. The same can pretty much be said about Time Lapse mode. With this setting, you can create fast-moving animations of a live scene, or switch to Night Mode to capture longer exposures.
8. Get a GoPro LCD Screen
Some GoPro models, like the Hero4Silver, come readily equipped with an attachable LCD screen. Other models, however, well you would need to purchase the LCD screen separately – which is what we recommend. While this attachment does tend to make the camera bulkier and also drains battery life faster, it’s a super cool accessory that makes viewing your footage before storing it pleasant and easy. It’s an excellent tool to have if you are filmmaking for instance because you can watch your recording and decide whether you need to retake the shot or not.
9. Use It in Or Out of The Water, Not In Between
GoPros work extremely well under water and have the ability to capture crystal-clear images despite the interference. And then, of course, they are built to take superb images and videos on dry land too. It’s the “in between” that causes problems. If you try to use your GoPro device on the surface of the water or around water that could possibly splash onto the gadget, then you are going to be left with a situation where drips run down the lens and blur your shots. So, unless you are really just snapping away for fun – our advice is, just don’t do it. It really does have to be either or.
10. Plan Your Story Ahead of Time
While some of the most amazing photos and recordings in history where not planned ones, putting a little thought into your GoPro adventures won’t hurt, especially if your intention is to grip and impress a specific audience. So, before you set off with your camera, try to visualize what it is you want to capture and plan ahead. You can even go as far as writing an outline or sketching a few scenes and scenarios that you have in mind. You see, while a GoPro is a cool accessory to have for some, for other’s it has become a hobby, a hobby that can include both creativity and adventure where the sky is the limit! To perfect your hobby, put your plans into action by being more prepared.
11. Shoot Vertically for Portrait Images
With horizontal shots being the preferred display for social media pages, we tend to forget that we can still take vertical shoots too – yup, even with GoPros! More recently, social platforms like Instagram have become friendlier towards accommodating portrait images, making this type of footage a little more popular than it used to be. Taking vertical shots is also a great way to experiment with angles and is used more often when taking photos than recording videos. If you are interested in giving this a go, adjust your settings to the following specifications: 4k, 4:3, 30 fps OR 2.7k, 4:3, 30fps (60 fps for slow motion).
12. Watch Youtube Tutorials
Like with most things, Youtube is just another awesome way to learn how to use your GoPro to its utmost potential and you will very likely discover new ways of using your device that you would otherwise never have imagined. Youtube tutorials range from videos explaining how and when to adjust your settings, what the latest accessories on the market are to giving you the inspiration to draw from when planning your next GoPro journey. Look for videos that are both helpful and insightful and then bookmark them so that you can refer back to them when need be.
13. Get Inspiration from Instagram
While we would all like to be the creative type, not all of us are born with a flair for conjuring up bright ideas. The good news is that it is OK to look to others for inspiration and encouragement. Use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to give you ideas on what journeys you and your GoPro can embark upon and take note of the different ways that the gadget can be used. And if you are using your GoPro “just for fun” and not for commercial use, then why not go ahead and just copy what the other folks are doing? We won’t tell!
14. Use the GoPro App
The GoPro mobile app adds tons of features to the GoPro series and it not only allows you to edit and share your photos and videos, but it also gives the option to control your camera remotely – making that perfect family photo where everyone is in the shot possible! From having the ability to pull a still image from video footage and shortening recordings to seeing what your camera sees with a live preview for easy shot-framing, the GoPro app is an awesome sidekick to have on your GoPro-ing adventures!
15. Embrace Imperfection
While we strive for perfection, we might want to remember that often the most creative and adventurous pieces of work come from those unplanned moments where we are in fact the least prepared. These are the raw images that reflect true life happenings and while we might not like what we see, it does not mean that the footage itself is not perfect. Who determines perfection anyway? Have fun with your GoPro and don’t be too hard on yourself when the outcome is not what you hoped for. Simply try again or look for the beauty in the moments you have captured.