How to Use a GoPro for better Travel Photos

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How to Use a GoPro for Better Travel Photos

GoPro cameras have without a doubt revolutionised the way we take photos of our travels. Whether you’re standing in front of the Colosseum amidst a sea of selfie sticks or riding your bike through a French vineyard with a GoPro mounted on the handlebars, there’s just no denying that GoPros are the future of travel photography. 

But lets backtrack for a minute here so I can make a quick but honest confession. I’ve had a GoPro camera for months now and it has taken me quite a while to ‘get it right’. When I first opened the box of my new GoPro, I was eager to get outdoors and start taking some of the best photos of my life. But I didn’t take the time to learn how to use the camera (it is noticeably different to anything else on the market and takes some getting used to), so after a disappointing few first tries I near enough gave up on this being the answer to my prayers for better travel photos.

Luckily the universe had other plans.

This week I went on a quick trip to Hawaii to meet the GoPro team (all of whom were incredibly talented, amazing people) and learn to use the camera properly. I listened to every piece of information made available to me, read every booklet like I was studying for an exam, and gazed at some of the incredible footage created by the GoPro production team.

Here’s a few key pieces of advice to get you started, with more GoPro tips coming throughout 2015 as I take the pledge to capture more and more moments on my GoPro Hero 4.

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1. Invest in Mounts Suitable for your needs

 The Grab bag of mounts is a great place to start to ensure you’ve got something to get you going – however there are some really exceptional mounts you should consider investing in, depending on your needs…

I wouldn’t go anywhere without my GoPro pole – ideal for selfies and perfect for solo travellers wanting to have some fun and jump in their own frame.

The GoPro head strap is also great if you want to capture your own perspective and show people what you see through your eyes as the lens can be tilted to show just that.

I’d also recommend the GoPro wrist strap if you’re into adventure sports and want to capture those moments without the worry of holding onto the stick.

2. Save Battery Life

Battery life is improving with each release – but the camera batteries for GoPro are still likely to run out if you’re out on an adventure for the entire day. The easiest way to save battery life is to turn off wifi – and keep it off! Its also a good idea to carry multiple charged batteries with you.

3. Know How to Prevent Fogging

Fogging occurs in the camera housing when there are drastic changes in weather or the air is humid. But fear not! GoPro have created no-fog inserts to prevent this common problem. Hoorah!

4. Know How to Prevent Waterdrops

Perhaps the easiest trick I learned on my trip – lick your camera lens! This prevents waterdrops.

Brooke Saward GoPro

5. Tighten all Screws for Stability

Another tip for both stability and to ensure your camera doesn’t go flying through the air while you take that corner too quick (trust me, we’ve all done it) is tighten all your screws as tight as possible. Because the camera is purposefully built for action sports and adventures, it can handle quite a lot of anything, really. Don’t worry if it does do flying through the air, but do make sure this happens in an area where you can pick it back up!

6. Find your Frame

Because of the wide angle of the lens, its important to know where to aim when trying to take that perfect selfie shot. If you want to capture a selfie, you should instead point the lens toward your chest to avoid capturing a large amount of sky above your head. If you have the new GoPro Hero 4, you are even able to review footage and photos immediately after you take them in the LCD screen.

7. Hold the Camera Steady

Due to the small nature of the camera, it tends to act like a car with sharp breaks if you don’t make a conscious effort to keep it steady to create a smooth, crisp shot. Particularly videos benefit from a steady hand, but two are even better!

Brooke Saward GoPro Hero 4

8. Practice Makes Perfect!

As with any new piece of technology, practice makes perfect. However a great feature on the GoPro that is often overlooked by beginners is the timelapse mode. With this function, you can set the camera to take a photo every half a second or second, and continue to adjust your position/pose/facial expressions while your camera clicks away and takes a number of options for you. This is a great tool for beginners, as well as some of the action shots that don’t require the photo burst (better if the shot you are trying to take is a quick action).

9. Reduce File Size

GoPro video footage is inherently big in size, so its a great idea to compress your files to save space on your laptop or hard drive. There are a range of programs you can use for free just a quick google search away.

10. The Final Edit

Last but not least, take time in the editing process! You know those great videos you see posted by sports athletes and professionals? They’re projects that have taken time to create. While you see a picture perfect edit at the end of the project, it is important to remember they too had oodles of unwanted footage that didn’t make the cut and have used a variety of tools to edit their final product. For videos, slow motion can be incredibly effective. For photos, be sure to play around with edits on the colours, exposure, crop and other basics. This can make the world of difference


Over to you! What are your top tricks for using your GoPro that you’d like to share with other readers?

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    March 31, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Amazing post!! 🙂 Was fun reading too.
    I got one question tho, that I hope someone can help me with.
    I’ve been thinking of buying the Go Pro 4 Silver, specially for my upcoming holiday to Thailand.
    The only thing i’ve been wondering tho; Is the Go Pro 4 Silver also a decent camera to make ‘normal’ photos with (like non-selfie mode)? It would ofcourse be a quite a bummer if i’d have to take an extra camera along for this duty. I know alot of the previous Go Pro camera’s werent great for this cause of the semi fisheye lenses (from what I read). Just wondering how much this has improven with the 4 Silver 🙂 (I is noob)

    Thanks in advance!

    March 11, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Hey Brooke, I’m a GoPro noob. Should I get the entry level version or get a later version ?

    Jack Montgomery
    March 5, 2016 at 11:09 am

    This is awesome, thanks so much! I must say this will be extremely helpful as I have struggled to figure out how exactly to operate my GoPro camera in the past. Thanks for the tips, can’t wait to get out there.

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    adam lindemann
    March 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Great Post! GoPros are only as good as you know how to use them! Really good tips!

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    Dalila Sophia
    January 8, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    All of these tips were so simple yet so helpful!! Especially being a newbie to the go pro world, proud to say I was able to go through with it and edit and complete my first video 🙂 Thanks for the tips!
    Here’s a link to my finished product 🙂

    December 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing advantage travel photography just you are presenting best ideas and almost your thinking.

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    July 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I would love to know how you strapped it. Ordering one shortly to take on my 7 week motor trip from Florida to the tip of Quebec. Have to learn quickly.

    July 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I’ve been debated between buying a GoPro for my travel blogs and a regular point and shoot camera. I think you just convinced me!

    June 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    If you’re looking for a unique way to share your travel adventures with friends and family. It’s small, light, powerful, and can take the kind of abuse that other cameras can’t. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

    June 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    That’s a great question. Lately, my photos on the gopro were rather shaky. I thought a way to get it solved was to take a video instead, then snap a screenshot via gopro studio.

    April 30, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Hi! These are all great tips, thanks so much! I’ve been using my GoPro for videos but I want to start trying to take photos with it. I haven’t explored the actual camera too much yet though. So for instance, that first picture of you on the scooter… That’s a still shot? Using the self-timer?
    Thanks again!

    April 2, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Great post! There is some really awesome stuff here on your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Danny Phillips
    March 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I never heard about GoPro Camera but this article really changed my mind. I’ve decided to buy a new GoPro today only.

    Pro Travel Blog
    March 3, 2015 at 6:20 am

    A gopro is my go to filming apparatus when traveling. If anyone is tinkering about getting one, GET IT! It’s a life changer.

    Benjamin Halilovic
    February 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t think I ever leave my apartment without my GoPro. You just really never know what opportunity is gonna pop up for you to snap. And like you said, give it some time and you will definitely start seeing like the camera.
    p.s. Brooke if you’re ever in Graz, Austria or Bosnia and Herzegovina feel free to message me 😀

    Maribel Diehl
    December 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Hi can anyone tell me what button to press while using the GoPro Hero 4 ? I am new at this whole thing read the manuals but I was thinking how am I going to take a selfie if I can’t reach the button on the camera ? Oh and should be using the quick photo option so the camera can take numerous photos ??

    December 21, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Thank’s for the tips.

    This is my first Gopro Travel experience:

    Jaclyn (Cinnamon Street)
    December 19, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Love this – I drove up the Eastern coast of Australia with a go-pro strapped to my van. Amazing experience.

    Kelly @ Endlessly Exploring
    December 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for the tips Brooke! I’m hoping to get a GoPro soon – the pictures always look incredible! Fingers crossed for Christmas 😉 x

    December 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Great port, Brooke! I love using my GoPro and it’s always fun editing videos.

    Sabine @ thetravellingchilli
    December 14, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Great post, very interesting. I don’t have other tips and tricks. I just have to use our GoPro more often to discover all its functionalities.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Sophia Chiang
    December 14, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I’ve used my GoPro 3+ for almost a year now, and it’s my favorite camera. The wifi is fantastic so I can upload everything to my phone (a capacity which my DSLR is still incapable of!). Thanks for the licking the lens tip — water droplets are a common issue. Will have to get some fog inserts. Also highly recommend the GoPole, although would also recommend if you’re carrying it in a carry-on bag (like I do, because I often don’t check bags), make sure it’s sticking out of the bag so TSA doesn’t think you have something to hide (I guess it looks suspicious in the X-Ray?). Also, keep your GoPro attached to your GoPole so when TSA asks you to pull it out (and, most likely, they will), you can show them how it functions! Clears security 10000x faster! Thank you for your informative post!

    Pedro @viajecompedro
    December 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Brooke, thanks for these great tips! I’ve been considering buying one for a while, but now I think I’ll give myself a nice Christmas pressie, in the form of a GoPro. 🙂

    December 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks!! I got a GoPro right before I moved to Australia but I have yet to really figure out how to use it to its potential!

    December 13, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    great post Brooke, Santa is bringing my a go pro so looking forward to reading more tips on how to best use it.

    Miles of Happiness
    December 13, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    You make me want to go on my old folders and finally do smtg with all my GoPro shots!

    December 13, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Such pretty pictures : ) I wish I had a Go Pro as well and I wish I was as good at photography as you are. I love your pictures : )
    Céline blogging at

  • awanderlustblog@OUTLOOK.COM'
    December 13, 2014 at 3:46 am

    used go pro on my recent turkey holiday to capture sea life – glad they’ve released one with an LCD screen

    Christina -
    December 13, 2014 at 12:15 am

    GoPro is such a great travel item! However, as I don’t own myself, I always end up borrowing my younger brother’s… I think I might buy one for myself very soon, I love it! 🙂

    Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)
    December 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    This is great! My husband bought a kind of camera that is like a GoPro, but not the real thing. I’m thinking we might upgrade very soon. I really appreciate this post of how to get it right!

    December 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Amazing! I was thinking about buying one.. articles like this really convince me!

    December 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Wow! Great tips! Taking travel photos is so much more fun with these new advanced cameras.

    Best holiday destinations
    December 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Great post. thanks for sharing nice views.

    December 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Amazing post Brooke, I think I am going to buy my own GoPro soon. || AUS Fashion/Lifestyle
    p.s I am giving away a £30 ASOS voucher on my blog 🙂

    December 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I’m planning on grabbing a GoPro, but I’m already bringing my DSLR around. Unsure if I should make it an investment. I’d love to have one but purely for underwater shots and mounting it on things. Who knows, but its so uber tempting after this post now!

    December 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Great tips! I’ve been using GoPro Studio for editing/cutting videos and like it so far (CyberLink PowerDirector works good too btw). I still need to get a GoPro pole, will be so much easier and nicer to make selfies with! X

    December 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I love your go pro photos, I’m still yet to buy a selfie stick however. But I guess I could christmas gift one to myself :D.

    I love using mine for diving so i guess my tip would be to use the setting that allows you to take video & photos at the same time.

    December 12, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Going to Galapagos soon, so will definitely use these tips to improve my GoPro skills! Thanks for info, Brooke! 🙂

    Occasionally I may...
    December 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I’ve been considering buying a go pro camera, thanks for the tips.

    December 12, 2014 at 11:29 am

    GroPro has undoubtedly revolutionized photography, particularly travel photos! You know you’ve captured a great photo when your viewers feel like they’re in it alongside of you. I’ve been on the fence about purchasing this camera, but you may have just convinced me…

    Raza from

    December 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I’m really enjoying the travel photography trips from the last couple of posts! It’s great to get some info on specific photography situations.

    December 12, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I wanna Go Pro, it is in my wish list!)))

    December 12, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I’ve never used a GoPro before, but I think it should be my next tech purchase! Or I could just steal my boyfriends, mwhaha!

    Chalsie | The Workshop Co. x

    December 12, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I have been thinking about getting a GoPro but have been unsure on how to use it. It seems to be the trend in travel photography these days.

    December 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I am getting a gopro for Christmas. Can’t wait to try out all the tips.

    December 12, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Your post is great, it makes me want to buy a GoPro now.

    Bysiri - new in Stavanger, Norway
    December 12, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Hi brooke,
    Theres something seriously wrong between you and bloglovin, everytime theres a new post from you your tips are always replaced with the list starting with the derek rose silk pyjamas… you can read the article right down to when you start mentioning tips or have a umbered list :s when I go in to your post on your website its normal though.

    • Brooke Saward
      December 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

      I will email them now! Thanks so much for letting me know!! x

    Marie @ Marie Away
    December 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I’ve been thinking more and more about investing in a GoPro for a while now. I’ve thought about getting second hand, but watching your videos and seeing the photos here make me think that I really should take the leap and get the newest version.

    Thanks for the tips!

    December 12, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I’m debating whether to get a GoPro or another camcorder for an upcoming trip… So tempted by the GoPro but I think I’d want to get the newest one, which is pretty pricey!

    December 12, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Oh, as always thank you so much for your wonderful tips! I’ve been recently thinking about wether buying a GoPro or not. I think you just convinced me!
    With love,

    December 12, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Great post Brooke! I’ve been trying to get used to my GoPro for ages. I wrote a post a while back about my top GoPro tips specifically for SCUBA and pool use. You can check it out here.

    I did a few before and after photos to help give people an idea of how much a filter can change your GoPro images.

    I’m saving your all around tips for my next adventure!


    Any Galván
    December 12, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Hi Brooke!!!! I’m a huge fan of yours who loves traveling and photography as well, I was just planning on buying a GoPro to shoot my travels, and your article was beyond helpful!! Thank you so much for posting!! Greetings!