As much as I love my DSLR, I’ve been finding myself using my GoPro Hero 4 Black more and more frequently for my travel photos. I find that for spontaneous travel photography, particularly when you are solo or when you don’t want to hold up the group, the GoPro has several advantages:
That said, it took some practice and a bit of research to figure out the best GoPro tips and tricks for getting the most out of this powerful little camera. In this post I break it down and tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your GoPro travel photography so you can get some awesome shots to document your adventures.
Best GoPro Tips and Tricks for Awesome Travel Photos
— Bring the right GoPro Mounts —
There’s so many different accessories to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones you are going to need. What it all comes down to is the type of activities you plan on doing.
My GoPro was mounted on a head strap for this shot above Milford Sound in New Zealand.
There are tons of other accessories out there, but these do the trick for 95% of my travels. It’s also important to pick and chose based on your activities, so you don’t end up with a suitcase full of mounts that you don’t end up using.
— Use Time-Lapse or Burst Mode —
Getting the right composition (the position of the subjects in the frame) can be challenging with a GoPro, especially when it’s on the end of a stick, and you can’t tell exactly what’s going to end up in the photo. So whether I’m taking a selfie or a landscape shot, I tend to keep my GoPro on time-lapse mode.
I composed this shot, handed the GoPro to a friend with timelapse on, and then walked in front of the camera.
Taken in burst mode to get the perfect jumping position in Abel Tasman National Park (Credit: Bare Kiwi)
— Don’t worry about what other people think of your Selfie Stick —
Ok, there are going to be selfie & selfie-stick naysayers anywhere. But when you are traveling alone or with a small group and you want a picture, taking a selfie is often the quickest and easiest way to get the job done. So, while you may feel a little self-conscious throwing that stick up in the air, remember that you are never going to see those strangers again and you shouldn’t worry about what they think. With a selfie stick, you don’t have to bother anyone to take your picture, and if someone in the picture isn’t ready you don’t have to say “sorry, can you take one more.”
Also on my solo road trip to New Zealand, I found that when I’d ask someone to take my picture and hand over my DSLR, the photos often didn’t turn out….like I have photos where my forehead is cut off or the big peak in the background isn’t even in the frame. So instead I started using my GoPro, which allows me to take as many frames as I want until I get it right.
Also, when using a selfie stick, I try to angle the GoPro so that a minimal amount of the stick is showing in the photo.
I used Burst mode and a selfie stick to get this shot while swimming in Wanaka, New Zealand
— Shoot with Protune ON —
Protune gives you a little more control over the photos – it’s like shooting in manual vs automatic on a DSLR but way more simple since there are only a few settings that you’ll need to mess with. The two settings that I think make a big difference are exposure compensation and sharpening.
Paddle Boarding on the Causey Reservoir with a GoPro
— Experiment with Perspective —
GoPro’s aren’t just for selfies. Move the camera around and get creative with perspectives. The wide-angle allows you to capture so much of the scene and a little experimentation (like making the camera vertical or getting low to the ground) may give you surprising results.
Holding the GoPro low to the water in New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound
— Prevent Fog and Water Spots from Ruining your Travel Photos —
Taking your GoPro (in its housing) it wet conditions is what this camera was made for. Take it out in the rain, take it swimming, jump in waterfalls. But one thing you have to pay attention to is whether there is fog or water droplets covering the lens, which will ruin your photos.
A wet and rainy day in Milford Sound, New Zealand
— Take the GoPro out of its Housing —
This was a tip I learned from my friend – the Bare Kiwi. He told me that if there’s no chance of the GoPro getting wet, take it out of its housing for a cleaner photo. You can still mount it using the GoPro Frame Mount, and protect the lens when the camera isn’t in use with protective cover that comes with the frame (taking it out of the housing also allows you to get better audio if using the GoPro in video mode).
Solo hike to White Pine Lake above Salt Lake City, Utah
— Get a GoPro LCD Screen —
The Hero4 Silver comes with a LCD screen, so if you have that version, you are good to go. However, if you want to attach a LCD screen to the GoPro Hero 4 Black (which is a slightly higher resolution camera), you have to purchase it separately. Attaching the LCD touchscreen makes the camera slightly bulkier, but I’ve found the screen saves me a ton of time, since I no longer have to turn on the wireless feature, pair it with my phone, and review the photos on the app.
The LCD Screen allowed me to make sure my legs were centered in this photo and not distorted from the angle.
— Carry Extra Batteries —
Don’t let your GoPro batteries die on that epic adventure. Carry extras. Always. And just in case you are upgrading to the Hero 4, be aware that the batteries are different from older GoPro versions. GoPro and Wasabi both sell batteries and docks that can charge multiple batteries at once.
— Use Editing Software or a Phone App to Spruce up your GoPro Travel Photos —
Almost all of the super cool GoPro travel shots (also true of DSLR photos) that you see on the web have been processed in some form to make the photos pop. With post-processing, you can improve color contrast, saturation, and temperature of the photo (make it cooler or warmer tones) with just a few quick adjustments.
— My Recommended GoPro Gear —
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Any purchases you make help to support this blog at no added cost to you. I only recommend products that I stand behind, and if you ever have any questions about any of the products featured on my site, please email me. Thanks! Kristen