GoPro put a lot of emphasis into lens quality on the Hero 9 Black action sports camera, and you can tell by the sharpness. I shot this split-level shot of Erica Vuillemin in Cabo San Lucas for my silicone wedding ring company, Fixate . I used the Knekt dome and had the water line about a third a way up from the bottom of the lens. I also shot on burst mode to I have a lot of images to choose from so I can get the right high-quality image.
The Best GoPro Accessories
The Ultimate Guide for Real World Photographers
By Ken Faught
I have been a professional photographer for over 30 years, and I was one of the early adopters of GoPro since around 2005. I have owned almost every model and have used them in the land, air and sea. I have used them on drones (yes, I even still have a GoPro Karma), have used them for POV action photography, and have used them as backup cameras during international travel.
My GoPro Hero 9 pretty much goes everywhere I do, and it’s one of my favorite specialty cameras. I enjoy them so much that one of my businesses, Pole Position Raceway, became a dealer. Since we don’t sell online, the links provided take you to some of the best places to get discount cameras.
As a professional photographer and writer, my personal equipment are tools for my craft, and I use them every time I go on international travel. My equipment has to be incredibly dependable and state-of-the-art. I continually invest in my camera gear, so I know that I can capture quality images each time I fly to an exotic island or scenic resort. (Think Bahamas, Hawaii, Fiji – you get it).
In this travel story, I aim to share you my point of view equipment and some of the best GoPro accessories I have found for travel and sports photography.
This is about 1/4 of my GoPro collection, but this is what I carry when I am travel blogging. It’s all centered around my Hero 9 Black and my 360-degree camera. This photo shows my Fusion, but I have since upgraded to the higher-quality Max.
BEST ACTION CAMERA FOR TRAVEL
GoPro Hero 9 Black
HyperSmooth 3.0 Video Stabilization
Up to UHD 5k Video, Slow Motion
1080p Live Streaming
3.5mm mic adapter
20mp still photos
Waterproof to 33 feet
GoPro Memory Card
I have had a lot of good luck with SanDisk memory Micro SD cards, and have mostly stuck with them for the last few years. I prefer their Extreme 1TB card because of its incredible capacity and they have proven very reliable for me over time. Unlike my regular camera memory on my Canon and Sony, I don’t want to have to mess around with changing memory cards, especially if I have been in salt water like the Pacific Ocean, which could cause damage. I also use a microfiber cloth (I don’t have any real favorites) to keep the lens clean and always wash the camera off with fresh water if it’s been exposed to salt.
GoPro’s Hero 8 in action in Cabo San Lucas on the way to the famous arch. We got one of the first GoPro Hero 9 Black models and it's even better!
Knekt makes an incredible 180-degree dome for GoPro’s Hero line, and it features a high-tech machines grip. The AR-15 style grip can also be used without the dome and comes with a Velcro leash.
I practiced a lot with my GoPro shooting my wife Amy in the pool before setting out on our first adventure.
GoPro Mounts & Attachments
Some of the Best GoPro Accessories 2020
I have about 50 different mounts for my GoPro collection, but have a few favorites.
I use a lot flat and curved sticky mounts made by GoPro. I recommend carrying a bunch of these because they are light weight. Note that the ones for the 360-degree Max camera are much bigger because the camera itself is much larger than the typical GoPro.
I have a GoPro head strap and use it for hiking, kayaking, cave exploration, and other activities that don’t require a helmet. It’s not used often, but when I need it, the head strap works great.
When I need something real strong, I use a Monfrotto Ballhead 494, a Cardellini Clamp and a ¼-20 adapater. This works really well when I want to attach a camera to a bar on an off-road vehicle that bounces around a lot.
I also use extensions on helmets occasionally, like the GoPole Arm. This basically is an extension between the camera and a sticky mount, and they are great to shoot unique perspectives.
I also carry a GoPro suction cup mount.
Favorite GoPro Setup For Snorkel & SCUBA Diving
I love watersports but have always made it a point to stay away from big bulky water housings. My cousing Bruce Wight is an award-winning professional underwater photographer who has told me all sorts of stories about being on long dive trips (i.e. big money) where photographers have flooded thousands of dollars worth of equipment because their water housings have leaked. So, I try to keep it really simple.
While in Hawaii one year, I bought a Knekt system. It’s basically a pistol-grip holder that has a really cool trigger and Velcro-style lanyard. This is really cool because it’s so ergonomically correct. For split-view photos, I use the Knekt dome which makes it easier to get photos that blend a portion of the image in and out of the water.
Also, when shooting in water, it’s a lot easier for color correction if you add a red filter specifically designed for a GoPro. This will save you a lot of time during post-production in programs like Adobe LightRoom. The final item I recommend is a good no-fog cloth!
GoPro Tripods & Selfie Sticks
I use GoPro’s Max Grip + Tripod a lot because it’s a great all-in-one combination. This combo is very lightweight and easy to use.
I also use GoPro’s Shorty Mini Extension Pole + Tripod. This is pocket sized and makes a great handle.
GoPro’s 3-Way Grip, Arm & Tripod is something I also carry on trips, including international destinations. It too is lightweight and compact.
I used a GoPole helmet mount extension in this photo at my indoor go kart track in Corona, California called Pole Position Raceway. I set the camera to manual settings to get the motion blur and then edited out the pole in post production. I also use a DJI OSMO for smooth video, but it’s larger and I rarely take it on trips unless I have a specific assignment.
How To Shoot Better GoPro Photos | Ken Faught’s Tips & Tricks
Top 10 List For Improving GoPro Photos
Tip 1 – Take your GoPro with you almost everywhere and experiment with the settings as much as possible. These cameras are amazing, and the more you learn, the better your photos will turn out consistently. This is how you learn how to take better photos!
Tip 2 – Download GoPro apps to your mobile phone - https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/softwareandapp and learn how to use it while traveling.
Tip 3 – Invest in accessories. I am a big ban of all the GoPro accessories and these add to the functionality immensely. Fact is, GoPro digital cameras are so small, that they are difficult to shoot from without some sort of handle or mount.
Tip 4 – If you are shooting video, try to keep your movements as steady as possible. The latest generation of GoPro cameras has amazing built-in image stabilization, but it always helps to be as smooth as possible with your movements.
Tip 5 – Buy and read How to Use the GoPro Hero 8 Black by #1 Best-Selling Author Jordan Hetrick. This book is incredible and full of great information on how to be a better photographer.
Tip 6 – Practice shooting selfie composition. The goal is to learn how to predict where your image will be cropped without looking at the screen.
Tip 7 – Learn how to use the time-lapse mode. This is a great tool to capture selfies because it takes a photo every half second after you press the shutter. This allows you to shoot a lot of photos, try different angles, and test different poses.
Tip 9 – Look for new aftermarket accessories for GoPro on Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama. Other companies are routinely coming out with GoPro accessories, and some of these have forever changed the way we shoot photos.
Tip 10 – Carry extra GoPro batteries. This is a very small investment, but an important one.
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Snapped this pic in Cabo San Lucas near the world-famous Mexico marina. This is a famous tourist snorkeling location. I was swimming and had to keep using my tongue to keep the lens clean.
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Hi! We are Ken Faught & Vanessa Doleshal. We love adventure travel, photography & share our journey with YOU! Our goal is help you plan that perfect trip & keep inspiring you to take the next one.