Are you here because you’ve seen a cool ‘half & half underwater photo’ and now you’re wondering how you can create one yourself? Well, you’re in luck. We have all the information you need in this article to achieve that impressive 50/50 effect, and the best part is, you don’t even need any expensive equipment. All you need is a Go-Pro and a Go-Pro Dome, and we are going to show you how to shoot some epic Go Pro Dome Photos.
If you thought photography was tricky, wait until you try underwater photography. With the continuous motion of the water, combined with the reduced vision, shooting underwater is in fact, extremely difficult.
At the same time, shooting underwater can be extremely rewarding. And done right, can add some interesting dynamics to your photography. Go Pro Dome photos especially are mesmerising to the eye, as they tell a story of both what’s above and below the water.
Say for example you’ve got a beautiful coral reef beneath the water and a stunning mountain range as a backdrop, you can capture them both in one photo. Pretty cool, huh? Some of our favourite pictures of all time are half and half underwater photos, and the effect is quite simple to achieve once you know how.
By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be shooting captivating go pro dome photos in no time. So let’s get to it.
What do I Need to Shoot Half & Half Underwater Photos
So first of all, you’re going to need a Go Pro if you don’t have one already. They aren’t too expensive, and they are such a useful gadget to have. Not only can you use them underwater, but you can take them with you on any adventurous activity. Unlike your phone or DSLR camera, they are easy to carry and incredibly robust. Plus they have all the gadgets and accessories to ensure they are convenient for any occasion. The latest Go Pro is the Hero 9. We recommend a Go Pro Hero 6 or above.
Then, of course, you will need a Go Pro dome port like this one to achieve the half and half underwater effect. Just be sure to check it is compatible with your model of Go Pro before you buy. If you’re wondering how it works, A dome port essentially pushes the waterline away from your GoPro lens, creating the 50:50 field of view.
Tips for Shooting Epic Go Pro Dome Photos
Before heading out to shoot, always go over the below checklist first. It may sound silly, but if you have a lot of gadgets to think about, the small things can easily get forgotten. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting out to shoot, only for your battery to be dead or something.
- Make sure your GoPro is fully charged.
- Make sure you have space on your memory card or take a spare.
- Be familiar with the Go Pro settings.
- Check your dome is clean.
- Pack the night before, so you don’t forget anything in a rush.
1. Check Your Go Pro Settings
First things first, make sure you’ve set up your Go Pro settings correctly. This article has some great tips on which settings to use based on the conditions of your shoot.
2. Shoot in Raw
For the best post-editing results always shoot your go pro dome photos in raw files. This will allow you to bring out all the detail of the scenario during editing, resulting in a better, more vibrant, and beautiful photo. Raw files take up a lot of space on the memory card, so it’s wise to buy one with a large storage capacity.
3. Clean Your Go Pro lens
It may sound obvious but clean the lens before inserting the GoPro into the dome port. Even when inserting, be cautious not to touch the lens. Any fingerprints or residue on the lens will distort the image, and nobody wants that.
4. Keep Your Dome Clean
Before shooting any go pro dome photos, be sure to wipe your dome clean. Again, any fingerprints or residue on the dome will distort the image. You can clean your dome using water and an absorbent cloth.
5. Use anti-fog strips
Another sure-fire way to ruin your carefully planned 50:50 shots is to shoot with a foggy dome port. Your dome port should come with anti-fog inserts, or you can order them separately here! These will stop condensation/fogging when the temperature changes under and over the water.
6. Shoot Around Midday
Unlike when shooting with a camera, midday is an ideal time for taking go pro dome photos. At midday, the sun is directly above, which creates an even lighting and clarity result. If you are shooting at any other time of the day, try to ensure the sun is always behind you.
7. Use the Level Line
If you have one. Some go pro dome ports have a level line indicating where the halfway point is on your dome. These are especially handy in rough waters when it’s hard to see the screen on your Go Pro. If you don’t have one, draw one on! Use a very thin permanent marker and just do the sides so it does not affect the subject of your image.
8. Otherwise, Wear Goggles
If you don’t have a level line (like us) your next best option is to wear goggles. Wearing goggles allows you to get closer to the water and monitor the screen better. It may even be handy to wear a snorkel and some decent water shoes while in the water.
9. Have your Subject Close
The closer the subject is to the Go Pro and Dome the better. Keep in mind the Go Pro has a wide-angle lens, so when you take photos, it can appear that your subject is further away than it actually is. Keep the primary subject of your photo nice and close for clear and even results.
10. Half and Half Subject
Or have your subject half in and half out of the water to create a unique and eye-catching effect.
11. Use the Foreground Space
As with any photography, if you can capture something in the foreground of your photos, it will add depth of field and better composition.
12. Use the Burst & Timelapse Features
You can set the burst feature on your Go Pro to take a set amount of photos in a set amount of time. This feature is ideal if your subject has to hold their breath underwater, or if you’re trying to capture a jump mid-flight. The timelapse feature, on the other hand, allows you to set the Go Pro to take a photo every half a second, every second, every 5 seconds or so on. This feature is useful in rough waters when you’re struggling to get that perfect water line. On the other hand, a wave line can sometimes make for an interesting photo.
13. Keep the Top Dry
It’s easier said than done, but if you get water droplets on the top half of the dome they will show up in your photos. Not the end of the world, but if you want a professional-looking photo, you will want to avoid them.
14. Use a Tripod
I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. The dome port will not balance a split level shot without somebody holding it. So, if you’re on your own, or want to shoot a photo with your friends or your other half, you will need some assistance. In a swimming pool or shallow waters, a tripod can help you to balance the dome. It’s not ideal, but it does work. Otherwise, we sometimes use photoshop to stitch two photos together, so it appears we are both in the picture. Shop our tripod here.
15. Get Creative
You can get infinitely creative with the Go Pro Dome. We love ours and take it with us everywhere. However, having a dome doesn’t guarantee an epic shot. You will need to get familiar with how they work and have an eye for what will make a captivating half and half underwater photo. Not only that, but a little general knowledge regarding photography will also go a long way.
It’s not easy getting used to the Go Pro Dome port at first, especially if you find yourself in rough waters. It took us a few hours of playing with our dome before we got used to it, but like with anything, it gets easier the more you use it.
17. Keep your Dome Safe
So they might not be the most expensive piece of equipment in the world. But, depending on where you are, they might not be easy to replace. In our experience, the dome can easily get scratched, so it’s best to keep in it a protective bag away from any sharp items. Ours came with a protective pouch, but unfortunately, the handle of the dome came loose and scratched the dome. So to be safe, keep the dome and handle separately.
Thank you for Reading
That concludes our guide on How to Shoot Epic Go Pro Dome Photos (Half Underwater Photos). We hope you have a lot of fun with your new toy. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, or through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here, where we share further travel advice & inspiration.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through these links, we will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. And we can continue bringing you free travel tips and advice. If you found the content helpful and are kind enough to use our affiliates – you are awesome, and we thank you!