When we decided to take a scuba vacation in Bali we knew we needed a camera to capture that. Having been involved with scuba diving and skydiving for several years there was no question that we would invest in a GoPro. It was the best decision we could have made which is why in this post I’m going to look the the most useful GoPro accessories and some beginner GoPro tips that will have you recording your best memories in HD!
We went all out and bought the latest GoPro Hero 6, but it is a very good brand and you can’t go wrong with any of their cameras. As soon as you purchase a GoPro the biggest thing you realise is that there are almost an unlimited number of GoPro accessories to choose from. Part of what makes this camera so great is the versatility to explore different angles that no one has used before. GoPro actively encourages those who use their cameras to do this.
Users are constantly developing new mounts to fit certain niche purposes. They are great fun to have and to try but most of them will sit around gathering dust unless you are an extreme sportsman using them every day for your promotional work.
I hate carrying more than I need to so recently I have been working on the most useful GoPro accessories to have as a traveler. Here is a list of 5 of the best GoPro accessories for any traveler.
(Note: I receive no payment from GoPro and there are no affiliate links on this page. This is done purely out of my passion for the product. The products prices are from the GoPro website but you can find them elsewhere at a cheaper price)
Must have Gopro accessories for any traveler
1. Lanyard & Sleeve – £19.99
The lanyard is a relatively new addition to the Gopro accessories, I saw it advertised just before we left on our last vacation and it looked like something really handy. It turned out to be fantastic.
The silicon sleeve holds the camera really well so you don’t have to worry about it falling out. It also allows full access to the back touch screen. The lanyard allows you to just hang it around your neck when you’re not using or hook it around your wrist to make sure you don’t drop it.
It is an exceptionally convenient accessory. You are not fussing around with any kind of clip or handle and you can use it like you would any point and shoot camera.
2. Clip – £24.99 (with head strap)
For quick and convenient hands free use, the clip is the best GoPro accessory you could hope for. If you’re carrying around a backpack you can clip it onto the shoulder strap to get a great POV of wherever you are. You can also clip it to your cap and then you have a head strap!
You can really use your imagination with this clip. In the video below I was trying several different angles while playing my smallpipes. It shows how with very little effort you can turn a simple video into something a little more edgy.
The downside of using the clip is that if you aren’t careful you can end up taking your entire video at a slight angle. Always check you’re filming straight before you start! I will cover this in the section of digital GoPro accessories.
3. GoPro 3-way mount – £59.99
This 3-way mount really helps you cut back on the clutter of unnecessary accessories while offering 3 great functions. The handle function is useful for a short extension of your reach and does offer a degree of stability that just holding the camera in your hand lacks.
The extendable selfie arm offers a quick change between the regular handle and taking a great selfie. The GoPro Hero 6 is voice activated so you don’t need a remote to get your selfie photo. The problem is that the camera takes the photo almost as soon as you give the command, so if you do not smile super quickly you are left with a very awkward expression in your photo.
The final feature is the compact tripod that screws into the base of the stick. You can set up a stable shot without carrying around an extra tripod and it slots right into the handle you are already carrying around. This makes it compact and convenient.
4. Super Suit – £49.99
GoPro’s supersuit is mainly for scuba diving, it is waterproof to 60m and is a solid piece of equipment. There are several reasons why I’d recommend the Super Suit over a simple waterproof case or just relying on the GoPro’s standard waterproofing.
I do get paranoid over the safety of my equipment and I will tend towards getting the safest option when buying things like cases. Even though I trust GoPro’s built in waterproof capabilities I also know that seawater is amazingly corrosive, so the more I can keep my camera completely out of that the happier I am.
The standard waterproof case is also a good product but what if one day you want to go deeper than its recommended depth; might as well just have bought a single product instead of 2. And I nearly lost my GoPro because the back of the standard case popped open when I jumped into the ocean from a bridge. The Super Suit comes with extra locks!
But what if you’re won’t ever take it into water? The supersuit was also great when we were volunteering at the Elephant Valley Sanctuary. We didn’t so much get wet as get sticky. We were cutting down banana trees and I wanted to get some filming done. My hands were sticky from the juice and I felt much better just cleaning that off a waterproof case than my camera.
If you do want to use your GoPro for diving I’d also recommend getting a floating handle. If something happens and you drop your camera it isn’t going to disappear forever, you will most likely be able to retrieve it again at the surface!
5. Multi-charger – £49.99
Having multiple batteries can be a lifesaver. Even while using battery saving techniques (read below under tips) a Gopro still uses batteries fast. I’ve found with the Gopro Hero 6 that you get maybe 30-40 minutes continual filming at 4K. That’s fine if you’re going out for one quick shot but if you need to be filming for the whole day, you will want more batteries.
Obviously you don’t want to then be stuck charging one battery at a time. A multi-charger allows you to be charging up to 3 batteries in one go and you can also have one charging in your Gopro if you have enough cables.
The pictures I have used are from the GoPro website so you can see all the original products but there are very many generic stores that you can also purchase quality GoPro usable products. As I said earlier, GoPro encourages users to adapt the camera to their specific needs which means there are lots of innovative products not sold by GoPro themselves.
An example is PolarPro where you can buy the ‘dome’, I will talk about that later. PolarPro makes many great GoPro accessories and it is worth checking their site!
3 Essential GoPro digital extras
1. Gopro Cloud account – £5.99/month
For piece of mind, having a Gopro cloud account is invaluable. While traveling it is not always possible to have access to a computer to download your photos and videos. I always get paranoid about something happening and wiping a memory card, or just losing the thing.
With the Gopro account it automatically uploads your new footage to the cloud while your Gopro is charging. You obviously need a fairly decent wifi connection but you don’t need a computer!
2. Quik video editor – Free
Quik is a video editor app created by GoPro. It is not a perfect app and it can get a little buggy but it offers quick and easy video editing. I have managed to put together some really great shots in very short time. Here is a video I quickly edited of our swim with Manta Rays.
I needed to send a video to one of our tour companies at short notice and Quik allowed me to do a fast edit with only my phone.
3. Your smartphone
Connecting to your GoPro with your smartphone is a game-changer in setting up exactly the shot you need. You can place your camera quite far off and start/stop recording from your phone. It is also useful when you are using a mount like the clip to make sure that your shot is straight.
The next video is one that would have been much harder to film without using my phone. I made a music completely by myself and it was essential that I kept my eye on what the shot looked like. Your phone also doubles as a remote so you can save some money on buying the official remote.
Not all phones can handle the connection to the GoPro, it was only when I upgraded to a LG G6 that I could get a proper connection.
Fun Gopro accessories for better photos and videos
1. FiftyFifty Dome – $49.99 (PolarPro)
I personally love the split photos that have been appearing across social media and I really wanted to find out how to do them. I tried several times to imitate them with just our GoPro but I ended up with either a blurry photo of water or the unfocused horizon. I eventually gave up and googled how to do it.
Turns out you need a dome so that the camera can focus both out of and underwater. These aren’t cheap as GoPro accessories go and it is a gimmick but it does allow you to get some really funky and different photos of wherever you’re travelling. GoPro doesn’t sell this product and you can get it from PolarPro
It is one of those GoPro accessories that starts taking up all of your luggage space. The dome is very bulky and I’m terrified of shattering it. This one comes down solely to taste in photography.
2. Filters – $29.99 (for Super Suit)
When I was first looking up GoPro accessories I read that filters were a must have for use in the water. Turns out that it isn’t really true. Until I had dived down to about 3m while snorkelling the photos and video tended to have an overpowering red hue.
This is a photo I took at about 12m while diving in Bali without the red filter. I think the colour balance is fine. Some people will disagree with me but I wouldn’t say that a filter is essential.
On a practical note, if you’re swimming in blue water you need to use a red filter. Green water requires a magenta filter.
3. Chesty mount – £39.99
Like the clip this mount is great for hands free filming. It also gives a good POV perspective to any activity you are doing. This mount is useful if you are doing something like rafting or running but I took it with us on our last vacation and I didn’t need it once.
It’s one of those GoPro accessories that sounds great at the time but if you think about it hard you may realise you really don’t need it. I’d suggest only buying it for a specific purpose in mind.
4. Smart remote – £79.99
There are a lot of advantages to having a remote and once or twice I’ve considered that my life could have been made easier with a remote but at the end of the day I’ve never actually needed one. If you have a camera that can connect to your GoPro it can double as a remote.
The only time I might have wanted one was when I’ve been taking selfies and I don’t want to say, “GoPro, take a photo.” Otherwise it would just join several of my other accessories gaining dust.
It is also just one other thing to gain dust. Like the other GoPro accessories in this section, I’d only recommend buying a remote for a very specific reason, otherwise you are wasting quite a lot of money on something you will hardly use.
GoPro Tips – How to make your Gopro battery last longer
1. Turn it off
This may sound like a no brainer, but the single best way to increase your battery life is to turn it off between shots. Plan when you want to use your camera. If you’re going for a hike or touring somewhere you don’t need to be taking photos every step, turn it on when you reach a specific point or need a specific shot.
The setback is that you may miss a sudden shot that would be amazing but if you need to choose between maybe having a great shot show up and having battery all day, I’d choose the latter.
2. Lower video quality
Being able to film in 4K is fantastic, it makes you feel like a real pro. BUT in almost every case 4K is wasted. If you are just making your videos for YouTube most people are going to be watching your videos on a phone or computer. 1080p is more than enough for this. If you are a professional that absolutely needs 4K you probably aren’t reading this post anyway.
Changing to 1080p nearly doubles the battery life and you can still get good videos. Here is a video I took at 1080p and then still dropped resolution in editing:
As you can see, apart from the water drops on the case, video quality is still great. Experiment to see what works for you though.
3. Lower frame rate
Like video quality, a lower frame rate is going to increase your battery life because the camera doesn’t have to work quite as hard.
If you want to use super slow motion in your videos you will need a higher frame rate to keep up picture quality, but if you are just going to keep it at a normal pace then a lower frame rate is fine.
4. Turn off Wi-Fi
The Gopro has a lot of connection features. Most of them you don’t need on all the time and they can add extra strain on the battery. I like to keep my location setting on to keep the location in the meta-data of the photo but it isn’t essential and turning things like that off can save lots of battery life!
5. Ensure your firmware is up to date
There is a good chance that your firmware is up to date but every now and again the company will send out updates to fix bugs and it may increase battery life.
You can update your Gopro by connecting the camera to your phone over wifi and using the Gopro app to update it.
GoPro Tips – Beginner guide
This is not a definitive list but it includes things I’ve found useful to think about when using our GoPro.
1. Get the Professional Guide to Filmmaking – £29.99
This book has been incredibly useful in how to get the most out of our GoPro, from the different settings to the suggested mounts. A GoPro is such a powerful camera and there is so much you can do with it that it can get quite daunting. The auto features offer fantastic quality photos and videos but learning how to use all the functions will improve your footage a great deal!
You can find this book on bookdepository.com at a much cheaper price and with free delivery.
2. Aspect ratio
When you’re filming you’ll have the choice between using 4:3 or 16:9; think old square TV’s to modern widescreen.
16:9 will give you the best landscape view while 4:3 has a taller view. With POV on your head 4:3 will give you a more accurate view of what you are actually looking at but you will mostly want to use 16:9. Change the settings to suit your needs but stick to one aspect ratio in one video or else you will have an awkward mix. If you know how to stretch a 4:3 video then use either but again I don’t think you’d be reading this if you knew that sort of thing!
3. Low light
If you are filming in a low light setting you will want to use a lower frame rate, around 24fps. This allows more light to enter the lense between each frame getting a better quality shot.
Using the higher frame rates will give you a smoother video but you need very good lighting and your video will look more like something from a reality TV show and not cinematic.
Movies are filmed at 24fps, so if you’re worried about the lower frame rate, don’t be.
Panning and landscape shots always look great but you need to be careful how fast you move the camera. What is a comfortable for you while you are looking around will be too fast to someone watching your video.
Purposefully slow yourself down so that the shot is comfortable for your viewers.
I will use the example of filming underwater. You see a fish that looks really cool and you spend 5 minutes just focusing on that particular fish. For you it may be fascinating and a great memory but it will be quite boring for anybody watching.
Think of only focusing on each thing for about 4 seconds before moving on to the next thing. Unless something amazing is happening there is no reason to stay longer. You can obviously play with this in editing but don’t waste battery life!
Keep in mind that if you are focusing on something specific it may be difficult to see on a video if the background is too busy. To again use the example of filming underwater, if you get under your subject and film up towards surface you get a plain background and your subject will stand out.
Final thoughts on the GoPro
You will not regret investing in a GoPro. It is an incredibly powerful tool and it will help you keep great memories. You can use it in almost any environment and there is such a huge range of GoPro accessories that you can really make the most of your camera.
If you have any thoughts on GoPro accessories or tips you’d like to add I’d be happy to hear them and if you have any questions, send them through!
Happy travels and blue skies!
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