Leaping from a cliff. Diving with whale sharks. Documenting a highway journey. The compact, rugged know-how of the GoPro has created unimaginable alternatives for capturing the motion of occasions like these. And whereas the GoPro is understood largely for its video capabilities, improved senor know-how means it’s additionally a digital camera able to high-quality imagery that may stand up to harsh situations reminiscent of water and mud.

And having the ability to shoot in hostile situations opens new alternatives for artistic pictures.

Previously few months I’ve been experimenting with a GoPro Hero5 to shoot underwater pictures. Though capturing underwater is a brand new realm for me, I’ve discovered that by making use of generic pictures data I’ve grown rapidly and made the GoPro work for me.

I hope you possibly can be taught and adapt what I’ve discovered to your personal functions with these 5 suggestions for underwater pictures with a GoPro.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,Salmon, Alaska

I used a GoPro beneath water to seize the habits of those breeding salmon in Alaska.

1. Know the Minimal Focus Distance

You could already know that the GoPro has a really extensive area of view (FOV), which helps you to body a topic with the contextual scene round it. When trying to find a picture, focus in your desired foreground aspect after which get as near it that foreground aspect as you ethically can. Place your digital camera shut and reap the benefits of the GoPro’s 12-inch (~30cm) minimal focus distance. Inserting the foreground aspect about 12 inches from the digital camera will emphasize it whereas nonetheless offering surrounding context.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Hawaii, CoralGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Hawaii, Coral

I stored the minimal focusing distance in thoughts for this coral. The picture was taken from very shut whereas snorkeling.

2. Pre-set your Digital camera Discipline of View

Following in step with the minimal focusing distance, make sure you pre-set the FOV to your GoPro earlier than getting into the water. Although GoPros are waterproof, I take advantage of a third-party housing to additional shield the digital camera. And when you use a housing you possibly can’t have interaction the contact display, so it’s essential to set the FOV first.

If you happen to can’t get shut sufficient to your topic, set the sphere of view to “Slim”. It will require you to intention your digital camera exactly, which may be tough if snorkeling or swimming. After all, you possibly can regulate the again display that will help you compose the shot.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Hawaii, TriggerfishGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Hawaii, Triggerfish

I used a slim area of view to seize this picture of this massive set off fish in Hawaii.

3. Set Your Digital camera Defaults to Preserve Picture High quality

Setting your default settings forward of time will show you how to seize high quality pictures. GoPros have fairly good picture high quality in well-lit situations, however the picture graininess (noise) will improve rapidly because the digital camera adapts its ISO to low-light situations. You’ll be able to management the picture high quality by setting a most ISO setting. Together with your telephone related to your GoPro, go into your settings and alter the utmost ISO to a worth of 800 or much less. When you’re there, you might wish to set the default mode to “photograph”. Doing this can guarantee you possibly can rapidly take a photograph in case your GoPro shuts off whereas underwater and it’s essential to flip it again on.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,

Underwater situations may be very murky and should trigger your digital camera to spice up the ISO, which is able to lead to higher picture noise.


GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Herring, AlaskaGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Herring, Alaska

A slower shutter velocity as a consequence of low mild induced a number of the darting herring on this picture to blur.

4. Stabilize Your Digital camera

If the water is cloudy or the day isn’t sunny the digital camera will shoot at slower shutter speeds, which can lead to blurry or non-sharp pictures. This can be significantly noticeable when you can’t hold the digital camera  secure. If you happen to’re hand-holding the digital camera, hold it as secure as doable. It’s also possible to mount the GoPro to a tripod and place it in an appropriate location. That is extra helpful when a phenomena or animal is predictable, reminiscent of salmon in a river. Simply because it does on land, utilizing a tripod will assist stabilize the picture.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,Salmon, AlaskaGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,Salmon, Alaska

I captured this picture from a tripod. This was essential as a result of this salmon was cautious of any motion within the river that reminded it of a bear.

If you happen to’re out of the water and photographing one thing close to you (consider tide swimming pools) you possibly can hold the digital camera secure by mounting it on a extension pole. You should purchase one, and even construct one comparatively simply. A protracted pole will show you how to {photograph} one thing far-off, and when you have an extended pole (say 12 ft) the highest of it is going to assist counterbalance the GoPro on the backside. If you happen to’re utilizing the pole in shallow water attempt bracing it towards the underside for additional stability.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Tide Pool, Photography, Sponge, Orange, AlaskaGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Tide Pool, Photography, Sponge, Orange, Alaska

I used an extended pole and a GoPro to seize a picture of this sponge throughout a low-tide cycle in Alaska. I braced the pole towards the underside to take this picture.


GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Tidepool, Tidal, OctopusGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Tidepool, Tidal, Octopus

This picture combines a few the ideas mentioned on this article. I stored the digital camera on a pole and maintained the minimal focusing distance to seize the picture of this octopus in a tide pool.


GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,

I used a pole and a GoPro to {photograph} these colourful tube worms and anemones beneath a dock.

One other digital camera setting helpful for stability is the time lapse mode. Set the digital camera to time lapse (say, one shot each second) and begin taking pictures. Compose your shot underwater, after which maintain the digital camera in place whereas it takes footage. Because you received’t should fumble for the set off button it will likely be simpler to maintain it nonetheless and guarantee your pictures are sharp.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography,

I used the time lapse mode to seize this college of fish within the clear waters of Hawaii.

In some conditions you could possibly set off the digital camera together with your telephone. The GoPro’s wifi community will minimize out beneath deep water, but when the digital camera is on a tripod with solely a small masking of water you possibly can set off the digital camera remotely from a distance. You’ll must experiment with how a lot water is an excessive amount of for the wifi community. Remotely triggering the digital camera might show you how to ethically and safely {photograph} wildlife.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Bear, Brown BearGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Bear, Brown Bear

I remotely triggered this picture of a giant coastal brown bear transferring up a river in Alaska.

Though I don’t use underwater lighting, you possibly can keep away from blurring by utilizing strobes or different variations of underwater lighting. These will assist hold your shutter velocity up and your ISO low. However use them with discretion relying in your topic. In some circumstances they could be detrimental to wildlife.

5. Use a Housing for Cut up-Stage Pictures

Cut up-level imagery is a manner to assist in giving a picture context and inform a narrative. To create the impact, use an underwater housing with a convex dome after which place the dome half-in and half-out of the water. By doing so that you get to look at each the underwater world and the terrestrial world. I take advantage of a housing by GoPole to create split-level pictures capturing the streams and native salmon runs of Alaska. You should use this method wherever to create compelling pictures. You’ll be able to create split-level pictures by hand-holding the digital camera or utilizing a tripod as I discussed earlier.

GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Brown Bear, Coastal Brown Bear, AlaskaGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Brown Bear, Coastal Brown Bear, Alaska

A GoPole dome housing was used to create this split-level picture of a giant coastal brown bear.


GoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Salmon, AlaskaGoPro, Hero5, Underwater, Photography, Salmon, Alaska

The split-level shot helps inform the story of those spawning pink salmon beneath a big log in Alaska.

The Takeaway

I wish to reiterate that I’m not an knowledgeable at underwater pictures. However I’ve loved extending my capabilities and expertise to that realm. The GoPro is a enjoyable technique to be taught underwater pictures strategies with out breaking the financial institution. And since GoPros are naturally waterproof, the probability of destroying gear is lowered considerably.

As I wish to say, “pixels are low-cost,” so I hope you make a variety of pixels whereas capturing pictures underwater together with your GoPro.


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