17 Tips to Take Better Photos With Your GoPro (or Action Camera)

Action cameras have become the faithful companions of many adventurous, traveling and restless photographer souls. If you are one of them, or are thinking of joining, you will surely like this very complete guide on GoPros, which we have prepared for you. Today what I bring you are specific tips to improve your photos with the GoPro.

1. Keep the lens clean

This advice is as simple as it is essential. A dirty lens from carrying it in your pocket, taking it out, messing with it, etc., is as normal as it is disastrous. And it’s as easy to solve as wiping it down with a cloth before taking pictures, if it’s a soft chamois, like those used to clean glasses, or a cotton t-shirt, the better.

With this small gesture you have already gained a plus in sharpness 😜 . Let’s keep going.

2. Read the instruction manual

Ok, it may seem as obvious to you as the previous advice, but… if I asked those who have done it to raise their hands, I am afraid that I would see very few raised.

Reading the instruction manual whether you have a GoPro Hero 9 or a normal action camera is what will make it easier for you to know what you can do with your camera, what functions it has and how far you can go with it.

So grab your camera and manual and start to know your camera like the back of your hand.

3. Choose the right settings

Reading the manual also allows you to know the different configuration possibilities and there is no magic configuration for all cameras and all photos. Each camera offers some options and each moment requires some adjustments.

It is important that at all times you establish the most appropriate configuration. For example, if you want to edit your photo, as I will tell you later, it would be better to do it in RAW, however, this is not possible if you take the frame of a video or shoot with certain functions.

For example, some models like the GoPro Hero9 allow you to choose (digitally) the lens. That is, you can select from a super wide angle so that most of the scene is seen (with line distortions included) or zoom in and capture a smaller portion of the scene. You have several options depending on the type of photo you want to take.

Knowing your camera will give you greater possibilities.

In the following video, Willy Foxx tells you how to configure the GoPro Hero 9 Black for photography:

4. Self-portraits with Time-lapse

The next thing I want to tell you is a Trick to take self-portraits with the GoProsince you will not always have someone to record your jumps with the skate, the pirouettes with your bike or your skill with the break danceto give some examples.

It’s as simple as using the Time-Lapse function. You place the camera somewhere that captures the full scene of what you’re doing, activate the “Time-Lapse” mode and forget about the camera (or try 😉 ) to focus on your activity. The camera will take pictures of you in the time interval you set.

5. Look for the light

One of the main weaknesses of action cameras or GoPros is the small sensor they have. This makes them capable of capturing less light, which means that in low light conditions, they can falter quite a bit. Solution, squeeze all its potential when there is more light, such as in the middle of the day or a good time before sunset or after sunrise.

If you are indoors, try to get closer to a window or any other source of light. If you are in a shaded area, try to get as close to the sun area as possible. Although at first glance it seems that there is the same light, it is not.

If you want to take photos at night, I’ll tell you a little more below.

6. Light as a creative element

Not only the amount of light is important to achieve good photos, but the quality. That is, depending on what you want to convey with your message, a hard light or a diffuse light will be better. In this complete guide that we have prepared for you, you will find tips and tricks on lighting in photography. Here’s the main thing you need to know:

  • hard light: creates more contrasting shadows and transmits strength, energy.
  • Diffused light: it is more homogeneous, works better in automatic and causes less shadows. It is more suitable to convey calm, tranquility, rest, etc.

The light of sunset transmits very different sensations from that of midday

The color of the light is also important, the warm light of the sunset does not transmit the same as the bluish light of certain types of artificial lights or at dusk. Depending on the emotions you want to awaken, you will use one or the other.

We also talked about all this in the guide that I mentioned before about lighting, if I were you I would take a good look at it to put your photos at a top, top level.

7. Take care of the composition

A good composition, together with the lighting, is the basis for a good photograph. It doesn’t matter if you’re pulling off an impressive stunt if there are so many distractions that you don’t see it, if it was taken from an angle where it looks like you’re low to the ground or your colleague’s arm slipped in applauding you. Nor does it matter that you have a heart-stopping landscape in front of you if you don’t pay a minimum of attention when capturing it.

Thinking about your photography is adding points. Think about what you want to show, what you want to tell and how. From there, choose the right place, the ideal angle and the perfect frame. For example, if you want more dynamism or you photograph vertical elements, frame it vertically; if you want to convey calm and stability, the horizontal frame is more appropriate.

Use the lines to lead the gaze and convey sensations, play with the rules of composition, look for natural frames, include elements in different planes to emphasize depth, experiment with perspectives and be careful with distracting elements, it is very easy for them to sneak in in a wide angle. Keep them at bay.

All our composition tips and tricks are compiled in this comprehensive guide.

8. Choose a good background

Speaking of composition, the lenses of GoPro cameras and action cameras in general are angular, which means that they generate a lot of depth of field, that is, all planes in focus. The background too.

With other cameras, a bad background can be hidden with blur, with these you can’t. So it is super important that you take good care of it. Make sure the background:

  • Don’t distract.
  • Do not make ugly with elements that contribute nothing to the scene.
  • Accompany the story. That is, tell something about the place, what is happening, etc.

Now, I know, it is not always possible to modify the background or move, what you can do in these cases is to vary the shooting angle to change it.

Take care of the composition, achieve a better background by changing the shooting angle

9. Be creative

Action cameras offer many possibilities, make the most of their versatility by giving free rein to your imagination, impossible angles, impact perspectives, surprising points of view. Do not cut yourself!

The following is an example of what you can do underwater. Playing with reflections, with the interior and exterior, with flares, beams of light, etc., are just a few ideas.

10. Walk away

The lens of GoPro cameras is very wide, something that causes the well-known barrel distortion, the closer you get to the camera, the more distorted your face will look. The best way to take selfies is by placing the camera on a mini tripod (like these) or using the selfie stick.

11. Use the burst with the action

When you shoot an action, use the burst mode, this way you make sure you can choose the best of the whole sequence.

12. Use the accessories

Action cameras have a myriad of accessories at their disposal. They are not essential but they are very practical. From different types of support to stabilize or place in the most unexpected places, to filters, through remote trigger, fog sheets or LED lights. Using them will expand your creative possibilities.

13. Turn to mobile apps

The screens of action cameras are usually so small that it is difficult to see what is going to be captured and sometimes it is difficult to get a good result.

The good news is that you have the application to connect your GoPro to your mobile and control it remotely (GoPro Quick (Android/iOS). There are also apps for other non-GoPro action cameras.

14. Video or photo? get out of doubt

If you doubt between recording video or taking photos, opt for the first. There are programs, such as GoPro Quick that I just mentioned, that allow you to extract frames from videos, in this way you can choose which image or images to keep from the entire video.

15. Night photos with the GoPro

The GoPro is not a camera designed to photograph at night, even if it has a night mode, if you have another option, the better. If this is not the case, try to get close to points of light, if you are in the middle of nature, use a flashlight or any other light to illuminate yourself, if you are in the city, streetlights, shop windows, car lights, etc., can be of help. Also continuous lights that you can attach to your camera or even a flash for GoPro, like this one.

The other option is to stabilize with a tripod and increase the shutter speed, as long as the main subjects remain static.

Be that as it may, keep in mind the white balance.

16. Dive in

Do not be afraid of water and take photos under it. The most important thing to keep in mind is light. If you need light outside the water, much more inside, especially if you want to photograph a subject that is not attached to the camera. The closer you are to the surface, the better. And if it is in the central hours of the day, even better. The sunrise and sunset can leave very cool photos, but rather out of the water, if you are going to dive with the GoPro, do it when the sun hits hard.

Keep in mind that the dirtiness of the water will also affect the photograph, choose days when the water is more crystal clear, rocky areas where the sand is not stirred or if you do not care about the background or the context, opt for the water of a swimming pool.

17. RAW Photography

If you don’t plan to edit, use the JPG format better, but if what you want is to take a photo and achieve a spectacular image, shoot in RAW (as long as your action camera allows it) and finish the job with the edition. By photographing in RAW you will have much more information and you will be able to decide what the final result will be and not the camera. If you need it, here are some basic editing tips.

So far the tips to get better photos with your GoPro. Now what I hope is that you put them into practice, but if you have already found them useful, please do not forget to share this article on your favorite social network.

And remember, below ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ you have space to leave any comments, questions or contributions. Until next time!