GoPro can be a less expensive option, if you want to get some good photos or videos underwater, but most people I talk to are almost always disappointed with the results when they get home. I always have to tell them that GoPro is just a regular camera, and shooting underwater means a whole lot of other problems you just wont get on land, mainly the white balance and lack of colors.
But the good news is, these bad quality shots can be easily fixed with simple add-on accessories.
Unlike the Canon G7x that I mention in our guide to the top dive cameras, GoPro wasn’t made with a white balance setting that is perfect for underwater. It’s just a simple, yet high quality, action camera, so you will need to add a few accessories in order to achieve amazing shots.
The biggest problems I have seen with underwater GoPro users, is the greenish, bad coloring (when over 3 meters of water), and shakiness in videos. In this guide I will list some quick fixes for these most common problems, and then some you might just like to have!
GoPro accessories you need underwater
| A simple red filter |
No red filter VS red filter
I am just going to jump right into it with what I think is the number one most important thing you will need underwater: A RED FILTER! Just look at the two photos above, or you might recognize the green style from your own photos. With just this cheap little red filter, you can see the HUGE difference.
Why a red filter works, and is essential, is because light doesn’t penetrate so deep, and colors, mainly reds, do not show up. You can either fix this by adding big lights, or by just adding the red filter to your lens.
Just this little piece of equipment will solve most of your problems. I like to have it on a little string so that I can take it off near the surface where there is light, otherwise shots will be too red. Click the link below to get one (or a few) on Amazon, that clip right on to your GoPro housing.
| A handle or pole |
Sometimes a pole is only way to get close, but never harass them
A telescoping pole with a GoPro on the end, is always a good way to get much closer shots to shy critters. There are also obvious applications for you selfie-lovers, but for me it is great for getting much closer shots to critters that don’t normally let me get closer with a big camera.
There is a fine line however, between getting closer, and full on harassment, and I am strongly against any sort of harassment or manipulation of marine critters, so keep that in mind.
Another thing I like to use the pole/handle for, is stable still shots. If I find a den or hole with a octopus or something interesting, that wont let me get close, I like to just lay the pole in the sand, and aim the camera at the hole and swim off. The extended pole keeps the small camera still while filming, and I get great shots that way.
I’ve even tied a weight to the pole, and left it in timelapse mode in the sand, and got a great video that way. What ever you do with it, a extending pole is very versatile!
| A split-shot dome |
Always time to play around with the dome during surface intervals
This isn’t really for scuba diving, but might be the ultimate GoPro toy for snorkeling or swimming on the surface. You can put your GoPro into the casing that has a dome attached, and get those awesome split shots, above and below the water.
The only down-side to these that I have experienced, is that they are a little bulky for travel, and need to be taken care of. The big 6″ dome is easy to scratch or break, and needs to be packed carefully.
And here is a little tip I learned recently: Before jumping into the water with this set-up, be sure to keep the dome in some water on the boat. If I have had the GoPro and dome laying out in the sun, and then jumped straight into the water, the lens has been known to fog, which you can’t fix in the water. Maybe you can even find a anti-fog spray for the inside, not sure.
What ever you do, split shots are definitely going to make your friends jealous, so make sure to get one for your next trip. It even makes cool shots in the pool!
That’s about it folks! I could get into more GoPro toys for underwater, but I think with the three listed aboe, you can’t go wrong. Once you have fixed the colors with a red filter, and learn to perfect your stable shots for video, you will be getting great content.
If you want to explore even more cool accessories, here are some that you might want to check out:
To be honest, GoPros are so small, that any shake at all shows up huge on videos, and the bad part is you don’t know it until you go home and look at the footage. You think all is good and you are steady, but in reality its unusable.
This two handed tray, which I use for all underwater cameras, is a huge help for that steady shot. If you want the most pro quality videos from your GoPro, this is what you need. Use THIS adapter for a connecter. Find the tray HERE.
In many situations, a red filter is just not enough for those great colors. If there is really low light, then a red filter will just make your shots too dark, and you will need a light. Same goes if you are doing cenotes diving or any night dives.
The good thing about the light above, is that you can use it on the tray, or even on the GoPro pole.You will need THIS adapter for the tray. You just attach the light, then the camera on top. Works great. Find them HERE.
If you are wanting even more vivid colors for your photos and videos, here is your best option. Heck, I suppose you could use all three lights, now that I think about it! If you are going deep with less natural light, bring your own!
For this option, you will also need THIS 1″ ball join clamp, and THIS 1″ ball to mount, to connect lights to tray handles. If you want to get really fancy, you can also get arms to extend the lights out. Find the dive lights HERE.
The ultimate check list
Just so you don’t forget anything, here is the best list of everything you will need for the ultimate underwater GoPro setup.