Travel Photos with GoPro
Photography, Reviews, Travel Tips

Amazing Travel Photos With a GoPro: Tips, Tricks, & Tools

Learning to take great travel photos with a GoPro changed my life.

Alright, alright, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit.  BUT!  When I ordered my first GoPro last year, I knew my travel photos were about to be taken to the next level.  I was about to head to Central America and I knew the trip would be rife with opportunities for adventurous action shots, underwater footage, and awesome selfies that included more than just my big head.

Since then, I’ve taken GoPro travel photos everywhere from Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua to Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain to kayaking adventures in Maui, Hawaii.  Through trial and error, I’ve gotten pretty good at consistently getting great shots.

Today I want to share my best tips with you so that those of you who already have a GoPro can learn from my mistakes, and those of you who aren’t yet convinced that a GoPro is ideal for travel might finally see the light.  If a GoPro isn’t on your wishlist, it might just be the perfect gift for the travel enthusiast or adventure lover in your life so they can save their epic memories, too.

Why You Need to Travel With a GoPro

Travel photos with a GoPro have a little something extra, a little bit more excitement than your average travel photo.  One of the features I love most is its ultra-wide angle lens.  It lends a unique perspective to ordinary shots and allows you to get way more of your surroundings in the frame than you would otherwise.  It’s the closest thing I have to a fisheye, so it comes out whenever I want to capture a lot or want that added distortion.

Travel Photos with a GoPro

4-wheeling in Santorini, shot with my Hero 3+ Silver Edition

Most GoPro cameras come standard with a waterproof case (or the body is waterproof on its own, like the new Hero4 Session) meaning you can take your GoPro out in wet weather conditions or if you’re out on the water where you wouldn’t risk bringing other cameras.  The minuscule size also allows you to carry your GoPro everywhere without feeling weighed down.  When not in use, you won’t draw unwanted attention because you can simply stow it away in a small bag or even a pocket.  Its convenience is unparalleled.GoPro travel photo from Paris, France

GoPros are ideal travel cameras for all styles of travelers.  When solo, getting shots of yourself is a breeze, either with a simple yet awesome selfie (see below) or by setting the camera on continuous shooting mode and finding a stable place to set it.  And it’s wide enough that group selfies are no problem, either, especially if you’ve got a small extension handle or a selfie stick.

My Top Tips for Amazing Travel Photos With a GoPro

1. Take tons of photos

Unfortunately, most GoPro models do not have a viewing screen to help you frame your shot perfectly the first time, so you’ll find it’s best to shoot prolifically to ensure that at least one of them comes out the way you want it (models that currently include an LCD screen are the Hero+ LCD and the Hero4 Silver, or you can buy a viewing screen separately).  You’ll have to experiment a bit to get the angle just right–what might feel like slight variations in your hand can produce drastically different results in your photos.  It’s also important to keep unwanted things (and people) out of your periphery.

Travel photos with a GoPro

Unwanted bits and bobs at the edges can be eliminated…

Travel photos with a GoPro

…with a slight change in angle

I have two GoPro cameras, the Hero 3+ Silver Edition and GoPro’s newest and smallest camera, the Hero4 Session.  My favorite way to shoot with my Hero3+ is by setting it to shoot continuously, taking one photo every five seconds.  The greatest part of this feature is that a countdown appears on the front screen so I know exactly when it’ll take and can get my next shot ready.  My Hero4 Session has a continuous shooting mode as well, but by default it takes one photo every half second which is far too rapid, in my opinion, and can lead to blurred images.  However, this setting can be changed by connecting the camera to your phone using its WiFi capabilities and controlling it through the GoPro app.  Either way, taking a ton of photos is one of the best ways to make sure at least a few come out perfect–free from blur, poor framing, obstructions, or just plain old bad timing.

Travel photos with a GoPro

Not quite right…

Travel photos with a GoPro

Nailed it

2. Embrace the Selfie

I wasn’t big on selfies before I got my GoPro, but I think the problem was that I wanted travel photos, not photos of my big fat face and nothing else.  But the wide angle of GoPro lenses allows you to capture so much more than just you, and the results can be pretty incredible.  You don’t even need a selfie stick–in fact, I could hold the camera no more than a foot from my face and still get tons of stuff in the background.  That’s the beauty of the GoPro selfie!  Check out some of my favorite selfies from my travels over the past year.

GoPro Travel Selfie Panama

Snorkeling in Bocas del Toro, Panama

GoPro Travel Selfie Barcelona

Exploring Park Güell, Barcelona

GoPro Travel Selfie SUP in Costa Brava, Spain

Stand-up paddling in Costa Brava, Spain

GoPro Travel Selfie, Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Canoeing on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

GoPro Travel Selfie Ulcinj, Montenegro

Looking down on Ulcinj, Montenegro

GoPro Travel Selfie Hiking in Koh Tao, Thailand

Hiking in Koh Tao, Thailand

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Diving in Koh Tao

Scuba selfie in Koh Tao

3. Accessorize

Your GoPro will come with adhesive mounts, allowing you to attach your camera to a number of surfaces, curved or flat.  But it’s fun to switch up the perspective with other accessories, too.  My head strap allows me to get hands-free shots that show things from my point of view, which is awesome for photos but particularly cool when shooting videos.

Travel Photos with a GoPro

Shot with headstrap

Travel Photos with a GoPro

Shot with headstrap

I now also have a small hand grip that doubles as a tripod, a versatile hand/wrist/arm/leg strap, and some multi-purpose straps so I can experiment to my heart’s content.  And because you’ll be capturing a large volume of photos and videos, I recommend purchasing a 32 or 64 GB micro SD card.

Other accessories that can keep your GoPro photography fresh and exciting include:

1) 3-in-1 mount 2) helmet mount 3) flex clamp 4) chest strap 5) smart remote to control your camera from afar 6) dog harnessGoPro Accessories

4. Edit, edit, edit

GoPro photos can look pretty lackluster straight out of the camera, so it’s important to have a good editing solution at your disposal.  If you upload the photos straight to your iPhone, an app like Snapseed could do the trick.  I’ve found that Instagram’s new editing features are more than sufficient as well if your photos are going directly there.

I use Adobe Lightroom for all of my editing.  If you’re not ready to throw down on professional editing software, PicMonkey is a great alternative.  Here is an example of a GoPro photo before and after processing in Lightroom:

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Park Guell, Barcelona


Travel Photos with a GoPro, Park Guell, Barcelona


5. Recharge often

If you ask me, the biggest downside to GoPro cameras is that the battery life is quite short, especially when shooting video.  If I ever use my GoPro two days in a row, I always have to charge it in between.  If you plan to use it for long stretches of time, it might be worthwhile to invest in a portable power pack, extra batteries, or a GoPro dual battery charger.

6. Keep Your Lens & Case Smudge Free

There’s nothing worse than realizing after a day of shooting that your lens or case has been smudged the whole time.  I don’t even know how it happens sometimes, but now I always give both the camera and the inside and outside of my case a good swipe with a microfiber cloth.

Travel Photos with a GoPro

Not as crisp as it could be due to a smudged case

7. Get Wet

All I ever wanted out of a camera was the ability to take it everywhere with me–including under the sea!  Sadly, GoPro’s performance suffers a little bit in low light conditions, but you can still get great images underwater.  The original GoPro cameras come with a waterproof housing which lets you safely take the camera as deep as 40 meters (131 feet), perfect for dive enthusiasts.  The Hero4 Session has a waterproof body, but only down to 10 meters (33 feet).

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Diving in Koh Tao

Addy in her element in Koh Tao

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Diving in Koh Tao

That’s me! Diving in Koh Tao

The low light beneath the surface means you’re more susceptible to blurred images, so try to hold the camera as still as possible while shooting.  The deeper you go and the farther you are from your light source, colors become severely muted, so don’t expect underwater shots to be as vivid as those on dry land.  Furthermore, you’ll need to be extremely close to your subjects for any sort of clarity.

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Snorkeling with sea turtles in Maui

Too far from my subject, can you spot the turtle?

Travel Photos with a GoPro, Snorkeling with sea turtles in Maui

Closer and better lighting near the surface, but still too far away

Travel Photos with GoPro, Snorkeling with sea turtles in Maui

Amazing shot taken by our Maui Kayak Adventures guide

8. Think Outside the Box

The compact size, wide angle, and ability to go just about anywhere make GoPro the perfect camera to experiment with. I’m always impressed with people’s creativity, and now that I’ve got fun new mounts I can’t wait to see what awesome images I can produce.  For some GoPro inspiration, head to Instagram and search #BeAHero.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite shots so far.

Travel Photos with GoPro

Barcelona, Spain

Travel Photos with GoPro

Costa Brava, Spain

Sea kayaking on the island of Milos, Greece

Milos, Greece

Aquarius Beach Club, Ulcinj, Montenegro

Ulcinj, Montenegro

Travel Photos with GoPro

Maui, Hawaii

Pin It!Travel Photos with a GoPro: Tips, Tricks and Tools

Do you take travel photos with a GoPro?  What’s your camera of choice?

GoPro generously provided me with my very own Hero4 Session and accessory case, but as always, opinions presented here are entirely my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

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  • Reply Brenna December 7, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Great post, Leah! I have been meaning to get a GoPro for years and I think you may have finally convinced me. 😉
    Brenna recently posted…Is it Difficult to Get a Visa for Bhutan?My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis December 8, 2015 at 12:07 am

      Awesome Brenna, do it! It’s been such a great camera to have 🙂

  • Reply Lavi December 7, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Awesome tips, Leah! I’ve had my GoPro for 3 months now and still haven’t gotten the hang of it, so I can’t wait to test out your techniques! Your pictures always come out so great! xo
    Lavi recently posted…Not Your Average Bicycle Ride Around Isla de OmetepeMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis December 8, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Aw, thanks girl! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  • Reply Lauren Lalicon December 7, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Wow, you’ve made a really convincing case! I think I might just put a GoPro on my Christmas wishlist.
    Lauren Lalicon recently posted…That Time A Celebrity Looked At Little Ol’ MeMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis December 8, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Woohoo! It’s a great travel camera, you’ll love it! 🙂

  • Reply Traveling Jackie December 8, 2015 at 1:54 am

    Brilliant. Love my GoPro, I keep mine on the continuous shooting as well, although I do every 2 seconds so I don’t have to wait as long (I still love the confused look people get when they ask if this is a video). Nope! Just keep smiling! 😉

    One thing I would add to this is that although there are lots of older versions of GoPros still on the market, you need to get at least a Hero 3+ to get the WiFi/Bluetooth network to be able to transfer photos to your phone right away. Absolutely worth it. Great post, Leah! Makes me want to go adventuring…
    Traveling Jackie recently posted…9 Online Gifts for Travelers On The GoMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis December 10, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Ha, maybe I should play around with the timing a bit, I’ve always thought 5 seconds was okay but maybe it is a little long between shots. Glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • Reply Tiffany December 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve been thinking if I should get a GoPro or not for a while. And now I think I should really give it a try! thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • Reply Leah Davis December 10, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      That’s great Tiffany! I think you’d have a lot of fun with it 🙂

  • Reply Ganesh Gowtham December 31, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Thanks for the simple yet informative post!! I am definitely getting one tomorrow!

    • Reply Leah Davis January 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Awesome! Glad to hear it, enjoy!

  • Reply Nam January 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks so much for your tips! I am considering to get one for a while and this really convinced me – not to mention I hike a lot and need something that can take photos of me when I travel solo as well.
    Nam recently posted…Panarea – Stromboli – Part 3 of the 3 Boat Trips you Must take in the Aeolian IslandsMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis January 7, 2016 at 6:28 am

      So glad to hear that! I think a GoPro would be perfect for hiking! Happy travels 🙂

  • Reply Jeka January 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I love your blog! Awesome tips! I wonder. What camera are you using on your travels except gopro. I got my Panasonic Lumix 3 for quiet years now. And not using them on my trips coz i’m not pretty good at camera settings, so i always leave it at home. I always use my gopro for my trips and my phone.? Travel Philippines soon. Check my instagram @jequez!? Safe travels!

    • Reply Leah Davis January 13, 2016 at 5:18 am

      Thanks a lot, Jeka! I travel with a Canon Rebel SL1, a very basic DSLR. That’s what I typically choose to shoot with unless I’m going near water or need something more compact like the GoPro. In a pinch, I’ll shoot with my iPhone. Will check your Insta for sure! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply Hannah January 18, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Leah! Great post! I love to dive with my GoPro and have found that you can use filters to get better underwater shots! As you dive deeper you lose certain colors as the light penetrates the water less and less. There are a number of filters for different depths but the most common is a red filter (there’s yellow and orange for closer to the surface and purple for very deep). These are great for diving and really reduce that all over green look you get! I’ve tried to edit after the fact and they just never turn out the same! GoPro sells their own version but there are some cheap filters out there too! One tip though is to make sure if you’re taking pictures back on the surface to take the filter off! I have some photos that would have been amazing if only they weren’t filtered red!

  • Reply Chad May 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Hi there, Leah! I’ve just found your blog via Pinterest and I must say that I’m loving it! This post, however (the one that I found on Pinterest actually), had me absolutely excited! As a solo traveler myself, I don’t wind up taking very many photos. The cameras that I do have just don’t cut it for me and though I’m willing to spend money on a good quality one, I don’t want something too bulky.
    That being said, I’ve been considering a GoPro for a bit now but haven’t been able to convince myself. I think you may just have! And with any luck it’ll inspire me to make more photos and spruce up my own blog.

    Thanks for the inspiring post!!

    • Reply Leah Davis May 30, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      So awesome to hear that Chad! I think a GoPro is a great choice for a travel camera, it’s so versatile and compact. Best of luck!

  • Reply Shya August 4, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Hello Leah!
    I googled on how to use GoPro for better travelling photo and got here! My GoPro 3+ black has been in slumbers for quite a while and now I am pumped on taking it out and giving it another try! Thanks for the tips and tricks, and I do hope this time I stick to it.. 🙂

    • Reply Leah Davis August 5, 2016 at 5:42 am

      Hey Shya! Wonderful news! I forget to take my GoPro out for stretches at a time, and am always so pleased when I start to again! I have some great new shots I should add to this post, in fact. Thanks for reading, and good luck! 😀

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