3 Tips for GoPro Water Photography

There’s a reason why the Go Pro is my go-to camera. I love how versatile it is and its easy capability of getting great action shots that show how much fun I have in the water.

Here are 3 tips (based on my personal experience) for getting the most out of your GoPro.

Tip #1

Use the proper equipment: I’ve lost my fair share of GoPros to the ocean because I wasn’t using the right equipment. What you absolutely NEED when taking your camera into the water is some sort of floaty; whether it’s glued on to the back of your housing or mounted on a pole that floats. This is key. This is what my set-up looks like: a mouth mount if I’m short boarding or if the waves are bigger, and a floating pole for long boarding smaller sized waves. I’ve used the GoPro Hero 4 black, Hero 5 black, and now use the Hero 6 black. The cool thing about the GoPro 5 and 6 is that they’re waterproof in it of itself, so a housing isn’t required. That being said, I still put my camera in a  housing with some sort of floating mechanism. Trust me, there’s no worse feeling than losing your GoPro to the dark depth of the sea.

Also, be conscious of having water droplets on the screen. I usually lick the screen and dip it in water frequently to make sure my image won’t have any distortion from pesky drops.

Shot on GoPro hero 4

Tip #2

Shoot with the right settings: When shooting hand-held surf photos, I like to put my GoPro on Photo Time Lapse Mode at a 0.5 second interval. This setting makes sure you don’t miss a moment! However, when I’m taking a photo of something static (like a floating photo or how the sunset looks over the ocean), I shoot in “Single photo” mode, as I’ve found this method shoots the highest quality photo. If shooting with a GoPro 5 or 6, set the view to “Super Wide” to capture the action. If not shooting action, “Linear” mode is my go-to.

Shot on GoPro Hero 5

Burst mode is great for capturing jumping mid-air and for adding an over/under perspective to underwater photos.

Shot on GoPro Hero 6

Tip #3

Editing is your best friend: I use the VSCO and SnapSeed apps on my iPhone to really bring my GoPro photos to life. A little horizon straightening and color correction goes a long way.

And there you have it! Now get out there and have fun!


This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Thanks for the tips, Eryn! I forgot to close the housing on one of my GoPro’s and it was instantly fried by saltwater. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing one to the bottom of the ocean. Nice edit on your last before and after!!

    1. Ahh that’s the worst! I’ve lost like…. 3 go pros? I lost my 5 recently in Santa Barbara so I upgraded to the 6!

  2. Hi, these tips were super helpful and your photos look amazing! I was just wondering which GoPro do you like the best, or functions the best for you? I’m going on a trip to Costa Rica and I’m looking into buying a GoPro to take pictures and videos, but I’m not sure which one to get? Any help is appreciated! 🙂

    1. Hi Kate! Thank you so much! My personal favorite go pro and the one I used the most often was the Go Pro Hero 4. It was simple for me to use and I was able to get great photos from it. I also had the GoPro5 but found that it was harder to use and would sometimes freeze when saving my time-lapse photos. Super frustrating when you’re already out in the water. I recently got the 6 so I’m not sure if it will be different from the 5, but it looks the exact same. I would recommend either the GoPro 4 or 6! Skip the 5 because I kept having problems.

      Have fun in Costa Rica, make sure you bring bug spray! (;

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