Action cams enable you to take brilliant photos underwater

GoPro Photo Tips - Impressive Photos with an Action Cam

Spectacular video recordings of rapid mountain descents while skiing, colourful underwater worlds while diving, and breathtaking panoramic photos of freestyle climbing: this is what the robust GoPro action cam has become known for. This small jack-of-all-trades camera impresses the user with its stunning quality and extraordinary wide-angle images.

The GoPro is the ideal companion for on the go and is used by many sportsmen to take extraordinary photos and brilliant selfies. Taking photos with this popular action camera is a bit different from photographing with a smartphone or compact camera in a few regards. With these tips, you’ll be able to take perfect photos with your own GoPro action cam:


Wide-Angle View

It takes a while to get used to the large 170-degree wide-angle view of the GoPro action cam, which is similar to a fisheye lens. This enables you to take brilliant and one-of-a-kind photos, but can also cause some problems. You should, for one, always hold the camera from the rear side if you’re holding the camera in your hands. Since the camera has a wide-angle lens, it will capture everything that is in front of it, including your finger(s) if you’re not careful.

Since action cams come with a fixed focal length, they do not come with a zoom. If you want to photograph an object or person close-up, you’ll have to get closer to them (up to a half metre). If the distance between you and the motif is too large, your motif will appear relatively small in the image due to the wide-angle lens.

Change of Perspective

The GoPro action camera is especially well known for being able to take spectacular photos from extraordinary perspectives. In order to find the optimal camera position for a certain motif or to just switch it up a bit when photographing, you should try out as many different perspectives as possible. The camera’s special housing protects it from water, dust, and provides shock protection, which expands your possibilities for positioning the camera when photographing. Whether you’re photographing while climbing, skiing, or white water rafting, various mounting positions and special mounts make it possible to find the right camera position for your GoPro in every given situation.

The oft-used ego perspective brings the viewer especially close to the action and gives them the feeling of being right in the mix of things. Special mounts for attaching the camera to your chest or helmet ensure sharp images all while keeping your camera safely mounted. You’ll barely notice the camera is there while you’re in the middle of the action.

The ego perspective is typical for action cam photos, such as in this photo of a white water kayaker. Source: Björn Jacob,

Perfect Selfies

Thanks to the current trend of taking selfies, photographers can capture both themselves and brilliant backdrops at the same time. The selfie has become one of the most popular ways to capture holidays and unforgettable moments while adding a bit of a personal touch to the photos. Thanks to its handy size and simple operation, the GoPro is especially well suited for taking selfies. You’ll also have to pay attention to the camera’s ultra wide-angle effect while taking such photos, however. In order to avoid distortions and peculiar proportions, you should hold the camera at least one arm’s length away from your face. Since the middle of the image has the least amount of distortions, you should place your face as close to the centre as possible. You can also capture as much background as possible by using special telescopic poles such as the popular “selfie stick” which has become a trend amongst smartphone photographers.

The GoPro is also capable of making your selfies a bit more interesting


The wide-angle lens of the GoPro really steals the show when taking landscape photographs. It’s especially well suited for capturing impressive vast sceneries. In order to take a photo that is as uniformly structured as possible, you should make sure to keep the horizon close to the middle of the image. It can be helpful to use the live view of your smartphone, which you can easily connect to the GoPro via WLAN. Another useful integrated function is the spot meter, which helps avoid overexposing an object when photographing something that is brighter from a darker environment. The spot meter is useful when photographing in difficult lighting conditions, but should be switched off when taking landscape photos in order to avoid excessive exposure of the sky.

The perspective of the action cam in landscape photography - a view of the Alps from a kayak. Source: Björn Jacob,

Photographing Underwater

The GoPro is not only great for photographing on land, but is also capable of capturing brilliant images underwater. The completely waterproof (up to 40 m) casing that comes with the GoPro does make the camera a bit bulky, but it’s completely worth it in order to be able to capture breathtaking images of coral reefs, exotic fish, or maybe even an undiscovered shipwreck. To ensure optimal exposure when photographing underwater you should be sure that the sun is at your back. The action cam is more susceptible to delivering blurry photos when shooting underwater, however, since the exposure time is a bit longer. This makes it necessary to photograph with a steady hand. It’s also recommended to photograph the motif from at least two metres away. This will result in a much sharper image than if you photograph the object from close up. It can also be useful to use a red filter attachment when going deeper than three metres to help compensate for overly blue tints.

GoPro Remote Control

The integrated WLAN capability of the GoPro action cam doesn’t only make it possible to easily transfer data to a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, but you can also remotely control the camera itself. When connected to the GoPro, your mobile device will display a live view of the camera which allows you to see the action even from far away. When controlling the GoPro with a mobile device, you can press the shutter release at the right moment from a safe distance. Controlling the GoPro remotely can be advantageous when photographing skittish animals, for instance, or sports with a lot of movement, such as skiing or skateboarding. If you purchase a GoPro that’s higher up in the product line, the remote will come along with the camera. When purchasing another model, you can buy the remote for about 50 - 80 CHF.

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