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Best GoPro Dome: How To Take Half Underwater Photos With GoPro

Last updated on Jan 30, 2019 It's pretty likely that this article contains affiliate links. If you click on them I might receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

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.

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

 Telesin 6 "T03 DomeShoot 6" DomePolarPro DomeAmazonBasics
GoPro Dome brand
CompatibilityGoPro Hero 3, 3+ and 4GoPro Hero 3+ and 4GoPro Hero 5 and 6 GoPro Hero 5
Size & weight21,6 x 19,4 x 14,2 cm & 762g9.8” x 8.2” x 4.2” & 600g16 x 16 x 10 cm & 570g18 x 10 x 18 cm & 360g
Price

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 I wanted to include it in the table for those of you who 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.

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

A perfectly timed over / under diving photo ruined by water drops

A perfectly timed over / under diving photo ruined by water drops

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.

A landscape over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A landscape over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A vertical half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A vertical half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome. Don’t you agree with me that it’s much better??

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.

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

A half underwater photo taken with a Telesin 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.

Over / under photo taken with a GoPro dome before and after editing

Over / under photo taken with a GoPro dome before and after editing 

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.

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

An over / under water photo taken with a Telesin GoPro dome

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.

Enjoyed readying my guide to the best GoPro domes for taking over / under photos? Pin it!

Want to take epic half underwater photos? Find out how with these over / under photography tips & review of the best GoPro dome. #gopro #goprodome #photographytips

Want to take epic half underwater photos? Find out how with these over / under photography tips & review of the best GoPro dome. #gopro #goprodome #photographytips

Want to take epic half underwater photos? Find out how with these over / under photography tips & review of the best GoPro dome. #gopro #goprodome #photographytips

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim Flannigan
    August 4, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Hello Greta,

    This post was extremely helpful. I just bought my first GoPro for my 3month trip to Aisa. My sister and I have been wondering how these underwater pics were done, so I decided to read up on it. So, again thank you. I check out a few other of your post, and I will most certainly be following you. There are some really great tips on your site. Inspiring to a new travel blogger like myself. Safe Travels Friend!

    • Reply
      Greta
      August 18, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Kim, thanks for the comment, glad you found my posts useful! Hope you capture all the cool over / under shots you’ve got in mind and all the best for your new travel blog! Safe travels

  • Reply
    Mary lee
    August 28, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Hi there,

    Thanks for posting this! I have a gopro session 5 and have been looking on amazon for some packages but there doesn’t seem to be many packages to choose from/some have really mixed or no reviews so am not sure which to trust. Is the pistol trigger necessary or could i just purchase the simple package that includes the dome, cap, cloth, wrist strap and anti fog inserts?

    Sorry for the million questions!

    • Reply
      Greta
      August 29, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Hi, no problem, happy to help if I can! I purchased a package with the pistol trigger but personally haven’t used it yet. I actually prefer the normal handle as it allows me to see the screen and what I’m shooting. The pistol trigger would cover most of the screen. I have a different GoPro model so obviously can’t review other packages but sounds like the one you’re thinking of getting has all the essentials 🙂

  • Reply
    Olivia
    September 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    So good thank you! Told you I’d pin this for later ? can’t wait to get one and experiment! Btw love the editing you’ve done with the underwater photos it seems to make the water look so much clearer!

    • Reply
      Greta
      September 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Haha glad you could find it useful! 🙂 Yes I find a bit of editing after is necessary to make the underwater part of the photo clearer, the GoPro quality isn’t as well defined underwater unfortunately!

  • Reply
    Yna
    September 25, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Great tips! Thanks, Greta! I’ve recently purchased a Telesin dome port and I can’t wait to use it on my next beach trip!

    Will any water repellent spray work for this? I think it’s easier to just apply the spray all over the dome, instead of just on half of the dome, yes?

    • Reply
      Greta
      September 25, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Hi Yna, no problem, glad you could find this useful! I use the Rain X water repellent spray and find it’s moderately effective. Some drops will remain on the dome but compared to the times I didn’t use it at all it did make a difference. Yes I spray it over the whole dome because I’m not always sure before jumping in the water which part I’ll be keeping over water and which one under. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Reply
    Soheb
    November 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Excellent Thank you

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