Ever since I got a GoPro I have wanted to take split half underwater photos. After numerous failed attempts trying to balance my GoPro exactly on the water line I decided to properly look into it and I discovered I was missing an essential piece of equipment for over / under photography; a GoPro dome. If you already own a GoPro purchasing a GoPro dome is the cheapest and best way to get those epic half underwater shots. If you’re looking for advice on which is the best GoPro dome you should purchase, plus helpful tips for over / under photography, you’ve come to the right place.
- 1 Best GoPro domes compared
- 2 My GoPro dome reviewed
- 3 Using your GoPro Dome: Over / Under photography tips
Best GoPro domes compared
GoPro dome ports are the cheaper alternative to waterproof cases for DSLRs, which can often be more expensive than the camera itself. Most GoPro domes are around the same price (check Amazon for the latest prices) so when you’re deciding which model to go for, there are other factors you need to take into account.
Compatibility isn’t a big determining factor for me as I only have one GoPro and don’t plan on changing it any time soon, however it’s something you might want to take into account if you have more than one GoPro or are planning an upgrade soon. More important factors for me are how easy is it to carry around, reviews by other users on how watertight it really is, if you can see the screen when you shoot and how easy it is to use for a beginner.
My GoPro dome reviewed
I personally use the Telesin 6 ” T03 GoPro Dome and I think it’s the best investment I’ve made in terms of GoPro accessories and camera gear. The photos that you can take with a GoPro are fun, unique and give you a different perspective to an otherwise average shot. All you need is a cliff, a friend with good diving skills, another friend that can swim underwater for at least 3 seconds, moderately clear water and you’ve got an epic photo right there.
I’m happy with the Telesin bundle I purchased since for roughly the same price as the domes from other brands it already included some of the extras I would have wanted to purchase anyway (e.g. a soft protective case and anti-fog inserts). I also like that it’s got the option of shooting with the trigger pistol but also of using the simple floating stick. I chose the GoPro Hero 4 Silver because it has a screen and I want to be able to see what I’m shooting, I don’t want to cover it up with a pistol. I also like that it already comes with a waterproof case, unlike some other domes where you attach them around the case that is usually around your GoPro. It’s a small thing but I’d rather only have one thing to carry around instead of multiple small pieces to put together. You can check out the latest prices on Amazon and purchase my same Telesin GoPro dome here.
Using your GoPro Dome: Over / Under photography tips
Now that you’ve read my Telesin GoPro dome review and seen the comparison table of the best GoPro domes out there, it’s time to move on to the juicy stuff; my personal tips on how to actually use a GoPro dome to take epic over / under photos.
Set your GoPro on burst
With the Telesin dome you will have to get all your GoPro settings ready before placing the camera in the dome, as the main button on the front is no longer accessible after. I always set my camera on burst and select the option to take 30 photos in 3 seconds. Yes you will end up with a lot of bad photos you don’t need but setting your GoPro on burst is possibly the single most effective thing you can do to take good over / under photos.
If you’re trying to coordinate a photo, for example with people diving over the surface and other people swimming below the water line, you’re more likely to get one good photo out of 30 instead of hoping in that one shot turning out good. This is especially the case if you’re using it as sea, where moving waves can change the water line constantly and you can’t see what you’re capturing. You can always delete the extras later. Your friends will never forgive you if you miss their epic back flip because it’s covered by a wave and you only took one shot.
Use Rain X to remove water bubbles from the top half
I can’t think of anything that yells self-absorbed photo fanatic more than carrying around a water repellent spray to make sure your photos are spotless but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do (especially when it’s for the ‘gram)! Water drops on the dry part of your dome are simply going to ruin your picture. You can either try and hold the dome perfectly still so as to not get any water drops on the top half, or get yourself a Rain X (or similar) water repellent spray to remove the majority of the water drops. A few drops will remain but nothing too big that can’t be removed in post-edit. After all, you wouldn’t want to the person to ruin a perfectly choreographed shot like the one below just because you wanted to save money on a water repellent spray.
Shoot vertical instead of landscape
From a personal photographic point of view I prefer shooting over / under photos vertical instead of landscape. This is purely my own preference but I find you can capture more of what is both above and below. Landscape photos will show you more of the view and what’s around, but to see more of what’s under the water and above the water line you need to shoot vertical. I have included below examples of the same shot in vertical and landscape so that you can see what I mean.
Put anti-fog strips inside your GoPro dome
I haven’t actually done this one myself as I am not using the GoPro dome in a particularly hot or humid country. However if you’re planning on using it in a tropical destination, make sure to add moisture strips to prevent your dome from fogging up. Nobody likes foggy photos or having to unscrew the whole dome to clean it. The Telesin GoPro Dome package I bought on Amazon included anti-fog strips, or you can purchase them separately here if you’re choosing a different GoPro dome.
Post edit to remove water drops + brighten below the water
Despite the Rain X you’re bound to get some water drops on the top half of your dome, but worry not, it’s nothing that Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can’t fix! Besides removing water drops I always edit my over / under GoPro photos as I find the GoPro doesn’t always capture the clarity and definition you see in real life. I have included a before and after shot below. I edit all my photos on Adobe Lightroom with my own presets that you can check out here.
Always store your GoPro dome in a soft cover
You know what sucks more than water drops on a GoPro dome? Scratches on a GoPro dome. When you’re done taking epic split photos make sure to rinse your dome and put it away wrapped up in a soft and protective cover. Don’t just chuck it in your backpack. That’s how you end up with permanent scratches that will show up on all your photos from then on. Similarly to the anti-fog strips the Telesin GoPro Dome package I purchased came with a cover but you can also get cheap ones on Amazon separately.
Do you also use a GoPro dome to take photos over / under water? Let me know in the comments below! If you have additional tips for split photography please comment below, I’d love to hear them and expand this guide. I hope you have found this post useful in helping you identify the best GoPro domes and decide which one to purchase, and that it will get you started with over / under photography.
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