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Shooting High-Resolution Photos with Your GoPro Hero

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In this chapter from My GoPro Hero Camera, Jason R. Rich shows you the features and functions built into the GoPro Hero4 camera (as well as some other GoPro camera models).
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In this chapter, you learn about the features and functions built into the GoPro Hero4 camera (as well as some other GoPro camera models). Topics include the following:

  • Learning how and when to use each Photo or Multi-Photo-related feature built into your GoPro camera model
  • Learning the GoPro’s menu structure so that you can quickly and accurately switch between shooting modes
  • Navigating through the picture-taking menus using the camera, LCD Touch BacPac, Smart Remote, or GoPro App

Earlier versions of the GoPro cameras were designed mainly for shooting HD video. However, the more recently released camera models, including the Hero3+ and Hero4, have a variety of built-in features and functions so that you can use the cameras to shoot high-resolution digital photos that fully utilize the camera’s wide angle lens.

Because of its small size and durability (when used with an optional housing), the GoPro cameras also enable you to take high-resolution and extremely detailed photos in situations in which other point-and-shoot or digital SLR cameras aren’t designed to go.

Taking Pictures with Your GoPro

Each GoPro camera model offers a different selection of picture-taking features and functions, which you can use to shoot at different resolutions.

Because the top-of-the-line Hero4 Black includes all the picture-taking features and functions covered in this chapter, this is the camera model that is primarily discussed. However, Table 8.1 indicates other GoPro camera models that offer specific picture-taking features and functions.

Each of the GoPro cameras has several distinct shooting modes, which you can use to take digital photos (instead of shooting video). Each mode is designed to be used in a different shooting situation.

After you select a particular shooting mode, you can access the Settings menu to further fine-tune the camera settings you want to use.

First, take a closer look at each of the GoPro Hero4 Black’s Photo and Multi-Shot-related shooting modes, as well as the options that can be adjusted when using each of them.

Table 8.1: Discover the Picture-Taking Features of Your GoPro Camera

Picture-Taking Feature

GoPro Hero

GoPro Hero3

GoPro Hero3+

GoPro Hero4 Silver

GoPro Hero4 Black

Maximum Resolution for Digital Photos

5MP

5MP

10MP

12MP

12MP

Burst Rates (Frames Per Second)

10/2

3/1

3/1, 5/1,10/1

30/1, 30/2, 30/3, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3, 5/1, 3/1

30/6, 30/1, 30/2, 30/3, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3. 5/1, 3/1

Time Lapse Intervals

0.5 seconds

0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 second

0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds

0.5, 1,2,5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds

0.5, 1,2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds

Continuous Photo Rates (Frames per Second)

N/A

N/A

N/A

10/1, 5/1, 3/1

10/1, 5/1, 3/1

Wireless Mode & GoPro App Compatibility

N/A

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

Protune for Photos

N/A

N/A

N/A

Yes

Yes

Night Photo Mode

N/A

N/A

N/A

Yes

Yes

Night Lapse Mode

N/A

N/A

N/A

Yes

Yes

Simultaneous Video & Photo

N/A

N/A

N/A

Manual control, or photo every 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds while shooting video

Manual control, or photo every 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds while shooting video

Again, if you use a different GoPro camera model, not all these shooting modes or options are available, and the options that display (and in what order) within specific menus can vary.

Single Shooting Mode

If you plan to use your GoPro camera like a traditional point-and-shoot digital camera, the shooting mode you’ll probably use most of the time (especially when shooting in well-lit areas) is Single shooting mode.

When you select this option, your GoPro camera can capture one image at a time, each time you press the camera’s Shutter button. Ideally, you want to use this shooting mode with a viewfinder, so you can properly frame your shots and see exactly what you’re shooting.

After you select the Singe shooting mode, when you access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following three options:

  • Megapixels: This option enables you to alter the shooting resolution you use to take digital images. The Hero4 Black, for example, enables you to choose between 5MP Medium Field of View, 7MP Medium Field of View, 7MP Wide Field of View, and 12MP Wide Field of View. The resolution options offered by other GoPro camera models vary.

  • Spot Meter: Use this feature when you position the camera in a low-light area, but want to take pictures of a subject that’s well lit. When turned on, the Spot Meter icon appears within the Status Screen of the camera, Smart Remote, GoPro App, or LCD Touch BacPac display. Examples related to when to best utilize this option are covered in the next chapter.
  • Protune: Depending on your shooting situation, if you want to take manual control over camera settings that the camera normally adjusts, turn on the Protune feature. You can then manually adjust options related to White Balance, Color, ISO Limit, Sharpness, and EV Comp, as they relate specifically to the Single shooting mode. Information about how to use each of these options is covered in the later section “Knowing When To Use the Protune Feature.”

Continuous Shooting Mode

Upon activating the Continuous shooting mode, each time you press and hold down the Shutter button, you can take multiple images in quick succession. From the Settings menu, you can adjust how many photos to take per second when this feature is active.

Hero4 enables you to choose between capturing 3, 5, or 10 images per second when you press and hold down the Shutter button. This feature is ideal if you take pictures of a fast moving subject or need to capture a time-sensitive action (also see the next chapter).

Although you’ll end up with many similar shots using this feature, you can always delete the unwanted shots. However, images you take even a fraction of a second apart can be vastly different when you compare them.

After you select the Continuous shooting mode, when you access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following four options:

  • Continuous Rate: Enables you to determine how many images you can capture per second when you press and hold down the Shutter button (instead of pressing and releasing it to take a single photo when using the camera’s Single shooting mode).
  • Megapixels: Adjust the camera’s shooting resolution and corresponding Field of View, based on which resolution you select.
  • Spot Meter: Turn on or off the Spot Meter feature as it pertains exclusively to the Continuous shooting mode option.
  • Protune: Turn on or off the Protune feature, and then adjust specific Protune-related settings, as pertains exclusively to the Continuous shooting mode option.

Night Shooting Mode

Anytime you take photos in low-light situations, such as outside at dusk, dawn, or nighttime, or indoors when the lights are dim, turn on the Night shooting mode. When turned on, your camera can capture more light and detail, with natural-looking colors (based on the shooting situation).

The GoPro cameras do not have a built-in flash, so unless you use a continuous and artificial light source when taking pictures, you need to rely on the present ambient light in your shooting area. Chapter 11, “Capturing Sound and Using Artificial Light While Shooting Video,” discusses some of your artificial lighting options when shooting video, but you can use the same strategies and lighting products in many picture-taking situations.

When using artificial light, be careful not to drown out the natural lighting in the area where you take pictures, or the colors within your images could become faded, and your intended subjects could look over saturated with light (refer to Chapter 11).

Your GoPro camera is designed to take good-quality photos in many low-light situations however, without having to rely on additional lighting. When taking pictures in low-light situations, you must hold the camera still. Thus, you can typically achieve clearer and more in-focus results if you use a tripod or mount with the camera, and then control it remotely using the Smart Remote or GoPro App. Even pressing the Shutter button on the camera gently can cause unwanted camera movement.

Find more information about appropriate situations in which you can use this shooting mode in the next chapter. As a general rule, however, if you take pictures in low light or at night, turn on Night mode.

After selecting the Night shooting mode, when you access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following four options:

  • Shutter: Each time you take a photo, you can determine how long the camera’s shutter remains open. This impacts how much light the camera captures and uses for each shot. The Hero4 Black, for example, enables you to select between Auto, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 seconds. When in doubt, use the Auto option. If you choose one of the other options, you need to figure out how much light the camera needs to capture your subject. The longer the shutter remains open, the more sensitive the camera becomes to any movement of the camera or your subject. This movement can result in blurs within your image. Or if the shutter is left open for too long, the shot might be overexposed.
  • Megapixels: Adjust the camera’s shooting resolution and corresponding Field of View based on which resolution you select.
  • Spot Meter: Turn on or off the Spot Meter feature that pertains exclusively to the Night shooting mode option.
  • Protune: Turn on or off the Protune feature, and then adjust specific Protune-related settings that pertain exclusively to the Night shooting mode option.

Burst Shooting Mode

Burst shooting mode works like Continuous shooting mode, but gives you more options for how many images are captured each time you press and hold down the Shutter button. Like Continuous shooting mode, Burst mode is ideal for taking pictures of fast-moving subjects or when you need precision timing to properly photograph (such as sporting events).

Using the Hero4, for example, you can set up the Burst shooting mode to capture 3, 5, or 10 images per second, 10 images every 2 seconds, 10 images every 3 seconds, 30 images per second, 30 images every 2 seconds, or 30 images every 3 seconds when you press the Shutter button and hold it down.

After you select Burst shooting mode, when you access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following four options:

  • Rate: Select how many shots to capture per second when you press and hold down the Shutter button.
  • Megapixels: Adjust the camera’s shooting resolution and corresponding Field of View based on which resolution you select.
  • Spot Meter: Turn on or off the Spot Meter feature that pertains exclusively to the Burst shooting mode option.
  • Protune: Turn on or off the Protune feature, and then adjust specific Protune-related settings that pertain exclusively to the Burst shooting mode option.

Time Lapse Shooting Mode

Using this feature, when you press the Shutter button once, the camera automatically continues snapping photos at a predetermined time interval until you press the Shutter button a second time to stop the process. This feature is best used when the camera is securely attached to a tripod or mount, so that the camera does not move or shake; therefore, only the movement of your subject is captured in each time-lapsed photo.

The Hero4, for example, enables you to adjust the time between shots to be 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. If you adjust the Interval option to be 10 seconds and then press the Shutter button, the camera snaps one photo every 10 seconds until you press the Shutter button again.

When you select the Time Lapse shooting mode and access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following four options:

  • Interval: Determine the precise time interval that the camera automatically takes photos after you press the Shutter button.
  • Megapixels: Adjust the camera’s shooting resolution and corresponding Field of View based on which resolution you select.
  • Spot Meter: Turn on or off the Spot Meter feature that pertains exclusively to the Time Lapse shooting mode option.
  • Protune: Turn on or off the Protune feature, and then adjust specific Protune-related settings that pertain exclusively to the Time Lapse shooting mode option.

Night Lapse Shooting Mode

The Night Lapse shooting mode works the same as the Time Lapse shooting mode and you can use it in low-light situations (such as at night). Just like when using Night mode, the camera is extremely susceptible to movement or shaking, so you must use the camera with a tripod or mount to achieve the best results.

When you select the Night Lapse shooting mode and access its Settings menu, you can adjust the following five options:

  • Shutter: Enables you to determine how long the camera’s shutter remains open each time you take a photo. (See “Night Shooting Mode,” earlier in this chapter.)
  • Interval: Determines the precise time interval at which the camera automatically takes photos when you press the Shutter button. (See the previous section, “Time Lapse Shooting Mode.”)
  • Megapixels: Adjust the camera’s shooting resolution and corresponding Field of View based on which resolution you select.
  • Spot Meter: Turn on or off the Spot Meter feature that pertains exclusively to the Night Lapse shooting mode option.
  • Protune: Turn on or off the Protune feature, and then adjust specific Protune-related settings that pertain exclusively to the Night Lapse shooting mode option.
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