GoPro Cameras For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Steering clear of the pitfalls when using your GoPro camera is a small price to pay for a camera that goes anywhere and releases the boundaries of what was near impossible a decade ago.

Not Using the GoPro App

Not Using the GoPro App

Squinting over your GoPro and poking around the controls every time you want to make a change is a buzz killer. Thanks to its diminutive size and lack of viewfinder (for the most part) using GoPro is not always incredibly intuitive. Add another level of difficulty if you have less than perfect eyesight. It’s far beneficial using the GoPro App on your smartphone for controlling the camera and making proper adjustments than reading the tiny nested menus on the camera. Add the fact that you can preview the scene and it’s a no-brainer.

Keeping Your Body Parts Out of the Picture

Keeping Your Body Parts Out of the Picture

When wearing a GoPro — or having one nearby — it’s sometimes impossible to keep your body parts out of the frame, especially when you’re having so much fun. There are times when a limb or two adds dimension to the shot. When? While grasping the handlebars of a mountain bike while zipping through a lush trail, dangling your feet off a bridge before bungee jumping, or extending your arms while spinning a small child (one that belongs to you, please). But sometimes you just want some alone time with the subject, sans limbs. That’s not always easy to do, especially with the camera’s expansive perspective.

Here are a few ideas to capture what you want without the extras.

  • Monitor the scene.
  • Change the angle of view.
  • Keep your fingers to yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid of your own shadow.

Staying Out of Harm's Way

Staying Out of Harm's Way

Danger, or at least the presence of it, makes using your GoPro more appealing. It’s like your sister falling for the bad boy. And just like that situation, it’s only impressive when the danger is an illusion and everyone stays safe. Thankfully, the sophisticated set of accessories allows you to take things to the extreme, while keep you out of harm’s way. Still, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, possibly putting safety in jeopardy.

Here’s what you can do to make security your number one priority.

  • Be mindful of danger: Don’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do if you didn’t have a GoPro. While the camera can capture some incredibly impressive imagery, you don’t have to put yourself in peril to accomplish it.
  • Let the camera do the work: Just because you position the camera over a waterfall doesn’t mean you must stand at the edge. Not when you could strategically use the proper mounts and accessories instead to get close to the action without becoming a casualty.
  • Make sure the camera is not a weapon: Just because the camera is so small does not mean it can’t hurt someone if it breaks free. Many accidents occur when the camera is not securely mounted, or the mount itself cannot handle the force. The camera can fall and hit someone, or the force can transform it into a dangerous projectile.

Capturing the Scene Too Wide

Capturing the Scene Too Wide

The problem with ultra-wide-angle lenses is they sometimes capture a more expansive view than desired. Even when relatively close, the main subject can still appear too far away in the frame. Much like sitting on the couch with your dog, the GoPro demands closeness. Extreme closeness! And while your furry kid will draw closer on her own, it’s up to you to make sure the camera is positioned near enough to the subject to not make the scene appear “under-lensed.” (That’s photographer lingo for not being close enough.) That can lead to a very boring composition, something nobody wants to look at for more than a glance.

Try the following to limit this problem:

  • Get close to the subject.
  • Work the angles.
  • Add foreground subjects.

Keeping the Camera Safe Near Water

Keeping the Camera Safe Near Water

Just as it’s no secret your monthly cell phone bill is always more than they tell you, the same can be said about using your GoPro in and around the water. Yeah, it’s waterproof, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to damage. You see, while the camera is waterproof (providing it’s in its protective housing), the bad news is it sinks like a stone as soon as you let it go in the water. Seems like a horrible irony, but it doesn’t have to end up as a statistic.

Here are some tips for keeping your GoPro camera safe near water:

  • Keep the camera dry.
  • Attach something buoyant to the camera.
  • Keep the lens clean.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

John Carucci is an entertainment news producer for Associated Press Television. He is the author of Digital SLR Video & Filmmaking For Dummies and Webinars For Dummies as well as other books on creative and nighttime photography. John has also contributed articles to American Photo, Popular Photography, and PC Photo magazines.

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