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.
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!
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?