How To Use Your GoPro As a Snorkeling + Diving Camera
Are you planning to get wet on your next vacation? Are you wondering which camera you should take along to capture some epic snorkeling or diving shots? A GoPro is your best bet.
In this guide, find out why a GoPro is a great choice and what you need to use your GoPro as a snorkeling or diving camera.
What Makes a Camera Good for Diving + Snorkeling?
Average cameras and water are definitely not friends. So first, a camera for diving and snorkeling should be waterproof. But also—and this is super important—it should be waterproof to at least as deep as you'll be diving. So be sure to confirm your camera's waterproof depth rating before jumping in the water.
Like a lot of vacationers, you're probably looking for a diving camera for one of the following reasons:
- Take some awesome pictures and videos for the 'Gram
- Capture content for your vlog
- Supplement a professional diving setup you already have
- Film the moment you check "swimming with sharks" off your bucket list
In that case, the best snorkeling and diving camera is easy to use, lightweight and lets you have loads of fun while taking epic underwater selfies.
GoPro cameras definitely fit that bill.
They're waterproof right out of the box, easy to use and have outstanding underwater image quality. Plus, there are tons of equally awesome, waterproof mounts available, so you can create a GoPro diving setup that rivals some professional ones.
How Deep Can You Dive with a GoPro?
GoPro cameras are water proof straight outta the box—how deep you can go depends on the GoPro camera model:
- Like HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black, HERO cameras are waterproof to 33ft (10m).
- GoPro MAX is waterproof to 16ft (5m).
Do You Really Need an Underwater Dive Housing for Your GoPro?
No! You'll only need extra housing if you're planning on scuba diving during your next vacation where you'll be reaching or exceeding the maximum depth of a bare GoPro camera (33ft/10m).
If you're just planning on snorkeling around and playing in the pool, you're fine with the GoPro straight out of the box. For a little extra protection, add a GoPro Floaty, so even if your GoPro slips from your grip, it'll float to the surface and be easy to spot.
What Is the Best GoPro Mount for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?
Here are three of the most popular mounts for snorkeling and diving with your GoPro. Click on the product link to learn more.
1. The Handler (pictured above)
Keep a solid grip on your camera even in wet, slippery environments. And if dropped, it floats to the surface, and the bright orange end sticks above the water, so it's easy to spot.
This is one of the most versatile GoPro mounts. The specially designed straps keep your GoPro securely attached to you, so you'll always have your camera at arm's length without having to worry about losing your grip. And the 360° rotation and tilt of the mounting point means you'll still have full control to capture snorkeling selfies or POV diving footage.
When it's time for a selfie with your diving buddies or some new fish friends that are following you everywhere, El Grande (pictured above) has got you covered. It's waterproof and has a secure oversized grip that's big enough to hold with two hands. Plus, it extends from 15in (38cm) to 38in (97cm) for maximum shooting versatility.
What About Good Lighting for Shooting Underwater?
With custom image processing chips and advanced metadata capabilities, GoPro cameras are better than ever at underwater photography—even at lower depths with less available light. But getting the right lighting can still be tricky at times.
For shallow water diving and snorkeling, you just can't beat clear water and a sunny day. You'll get your best shots in those conditions. Just try not to shoot with the camera pointed towards the sun. When possible, always keep the sun behind the camera, even underwater.
Anything Else That'll Help Me Get Epic Diving + Snorkeling Shots with My GoPro?
Add some red. You start to lose red tones underwater causing shots to have a blueish hue. Fortunately, the latest GoPro cameras combine a processing chip and video metadata to automatically improve auto white balance, color rendering and color grading. That means underwater scenes are more accurately rendered without having to add extra filters.
But if you're planning to dive deeper than about 33ft (10m), you may still need to use a dive filter. In that case, the best option is the PolarPro® DiveMaster Filter Kit. Best of all, you can just snap the filters right onto your HERO9 Black Protective Housing + Waterproof Case—no extra accessories are needed.
Adjust settings while dry. We recommend fine-tuning your presets and locking the screen before you jump in. While underwater, you can toggle between camera presets you've created by holding the shutter and mode button at the same time. This brings up the preset menu on the front display. Then, use the mode button to scroll through and select the preset you want.
PRO TIP: Download and use GoPro Quik on your phone to create a shareable edit as soon as you surface. Just add your photos and videos to a Mural event and watch as it automatically generates a video for you.
Quik also allows you to change your camera settings using the app. So if you're using an underwater case, you don't have to fuss with taking your GoPro out of the housing. Download Quik on the App Store and Google Play.
Lick the lens. Yup, you read that right. Licking the lens prevents water droplets from forming on the lens when shooting around water.
Learn more about this and other tips for underwater GoPro photography here: Ultimate Guide to Underwater GoPro Photography.