GoPro PHOTO MODES Explained
Taking pictures on an action camera such as a GoPro for the first time can let you down, or any other action camera, the pictures probably didn’t look as good as how you expected them to be, such as in the commercials and social media. You can use GoPro’s modes and tips to achieve better pictures.
Most cameras have multiple settings to mess with which help photographers get great-looking pictures, action cameras don’t have many settings and some settings are better left on automatic, GoPro does have Protune which gets you access to extra settings and gives you a bit better quality.
GoPro’s photo mode is separated into 3 categories: Photo, Bursts, and Night modes, we can also shoot Time Lapses. Each photo mode has different settings that can be changed. The latest GoPro model can take pictures up to 20MP, older GoPro’s can take pictures up to 12MP.
Most cameras have multiple settings to mess with which help photographers get great-looking pictures, action cameras don’t have many settings and are better left on automatic, GoPro does have Protune which gets you access to extra settings and gives you a bit better quality.
Photo mode is the default mode for pictures, it allows us to take a single shot or a continuous capture. While taking pictures you can change different settings to achieve different results.
With the shutter button, you can take a single picture by pressing it once or take multiple pictures by holding down the shutter button to shoot up to 30 photos.
If you want to take the best quality pictures you should try shooting RAW pictures and edit them in post-production.
When taking underwater pictures it’s difficult to get the right picture, with the movement of the water and the movement of the fauna using the burst mode will help get the perfect shot.
The burst rate are: Auto, 30/6s, 30/3s, 30/2s, 30/1s, 10/3s, 10/2s, 10/1s, 5/1s, and 3/1s.
All the same settings from the default photo mode apply to Burst Modes as well.
Time Lapse Mode
Time Lapse is a cool effect that makes it look like time is passing fast, it works by taking pictures with a certain interval of time between one shot and another. By doing this, time looks like is going much faster than real-time.
Time Lapse Photo
The Time Lapse photo mode is the classic time-lapse which captures a series of pictures at specified intervals. The intervals are 0.5s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, 30s.
Night Lapse Photo
The Night Lapse photo works like the Time Lapse mode but the shutter of the camera stays on longer to capture more light and get clear night photos.
Time Lapse Video
The Time Lapse video like the Time Lapse photo mode captures pictures at specified intervals producing a video. The intervals are 0.5s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, 30s, 60s.
The TimeWarp video is a feature by GoPro which creates an amazing effect that speeds up your movement up to 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, or 30x more than normal.
Most action cameras including GoPro allow you to mess with the settings, settings can allow you to get the best results and capture the perfect image. Since most action cameras are very similar you will probably have these settings as well.
The timer is a useful setting that allows the GoPro to take a picture 3s or 10s after the shutter button has been pressed.
FOV stands for Field Of View, GoPro has 4 different options Wide, Medium, Linear, and Narrow. Each FOV is a bit different, from a fisheye look to an average camera look.
Using the RAW format basically reduces all kinds of post-production carried out inside the camera to have the purest possible video and getting the best quality. With the camera not producing any auto postproduction the color profile will be less vibrant and less sharp, this is great for people wanting to edit pictures in postproduction or using presets (Check out great presets below).
The zoom setting like most cameras lets your GoPro zooms in on the footage getting closer shots.
SuperPhoto analyzes the scene to be photographed and intelligently chooses the most suitable enhancement process. We recommend turning it off since it will slow down taking pictures and will look great without it and much better if you choose to edit pictures in post.
To access GoPro’s settings you need to enable Protune. Protune is an advanced configuration that allows the camera to save much more information, thanks to Protune we have more advanced tools and can obtain better results of color, sharpness, exposure, or ISO.
With the protune option unlock we get more settings to mess around with.
The shutter controls the time during which light arrives inside the camera. The shutter options are Auto, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000.
The white balance controls the temperature of your photos and videos. Lower values such as 3000K will give your photos much warmer tones and higher values like 6500K produce cooler tones.
The Sharpness consists of increasing the apparent sharpness of the image, using software or the firmware of the camera itself, the details will appear more clear, GoPro comes with 3 settings: Low, Medium, and High, I suggest not using High since it will look too sharp and not too good, the best settings are Medium for those who don’t want to do any post-production and Low if you want to sharpen the image later with Lightroom or Photoshop.
EV Comp is the exposure or brightness of the photo, with GoPro you can adjust up to from -2.0 to +2.0, I find that 0 to -0.5 give the best results.
The ISO setting sets the GoPro sensor sensitivity to light. On the GoPro, the ISO ranges from 100 to 6400, the higher the ISO setting the more grain/noise it will produce in the image so it should only be used for low-light such as night setting even though I still don’t recommend going at the max.
GoPro comes with 2 Color configurations, Flat and GoPro color, GoPro color gives great results for those who don’t want to do any post-production and the Flat profile is great to work with on post-production on Lightroom or Photoshop.
Choosing the Best Settings
To access GoPro’s settings you need to enable Protune. Protune is an advanced configuration that allows the camera to save much more information, thanks to Protune we have more advanced tools and can obtain better results of color, sharpness, exposure, or ISO. If you’re more familiar with photography the Protune on GoPro cameras would be the equivalent of RAW mode on SLR cameras.
An advantage that GoPro has over most other cameras is that it’s very easy to carry anywhere and use in situations where you cant use another camera. There are many accessories you could use for underwater photography we recommend checking out this 50 in 1 accessory-kit by clicking here.
- FOV depends on what you’re going for, we recommend using Wide for good resolution and image quality, but you can also shoot linear for more typical camera looks.
- SuperPhoto I recommend turning off SuperPhoto since it will slow down taking pictures and will look great without it and much better if you choose to edit pictures in post.
- Raw On
- Shutter on Auto
- EV Comp 0.5
- White Balance Auto
- ISO Min 100
- ISO Max 400
- Sharpness Low
- Color Flat