GoPro Dome Photos and How To Choose The Best One

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GoPro Dome Ports are fast becoming the latest must-have accessory for travelers because the shots they can create are absolutely epic. They are also called GoPro Dome Lens. This simple piece of equipment is absolutely awesome and it is transforming the way that anyone can take underwater photos.

It’s a simple housing for your GoPro camera that allows you to take split photos known as over/underwater shots. You can capture two intense levels of vision in one photograph, as the dome allows you to photograph what’s going on below and above the surface of the water.

You can use the GoPro Dome Port or a GoPro Dome Lens to dramatically up your Instagram game, as with this crafty device you can capture rare moments on two levels.

Photograph the free-diver and the boat when you are next in tropical waters or capture the moment a turtle swims beneath a snorkeler when you are swimming over a colorful coral reef. The opportunities are endless, but first, you need to know where to start.

We are going to share with you the best GoPro Dome Port’s on the market, what to look for when choosing the one for you, how to use and make the most of the dome and plenty of tips that we’ve learned along the way. 

To help you to take the best over/under photographs, here’s our guide to using GoPro Dome Port.

Quick Answers: The Best GoPro Dome Port

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

What GoPro Dome Port Do I Need?

The first thing to note is that right now there are literally hundreds of different models of GoPro Dome Ports out on the market.

With the surge in popularity as travelers and photographers began posting amazing over/under shots on social media, came a huge surge in the availability of these accessories, and many of them are almost identical or come with very subtle differences.

There is a wide selection available to buy, but the main consideration is checking the compatibility of the dome with your model of GoPro.

The latest GoPro Dome Ports and GoPro Dome Lens are of course designed for the latest model of GoPro camera, and with each new release by GoPro, there will be more domes to go with them.

Brands that have excellent reputations among photographers are the Polar Pro, Telesin and Shoot, who all have tried and tested models on the market for the many different makes of GoPro on the market.

Searching for an underwater dome for a  GoPro Hero 7 – GoPro 7 Black – GoPro 7 Silver or even a GoPro 7 White? No worries, they all are the same dimensions as the GoPro Hero 6 and the GoPro Hero 5.

So that means the same underwater dome lens will fit all of them. The overall dimensions and buttons on the GoPro Hero 7, Hero 6 and Hero 5 are located in the same spots making them 100% identical and interchangeable between the same domes.

We use the PolarPro Switchblade 7 with our GoPro Hero 7, it has great glass for some of the best chances to capture an amazing over and undershot. When I say glass, the higher end domes have glass where the lower end domes are plastic.

Glass domes will give for a clear shot where plastic domes aren’t always so clear. We have also used the Telesin dome and trigger system before. That said, I was not happy with the plastic dome. Over time the plastic became unclear and was noticeable in photos but the price point on that dome is great.

Searching for an underwater dome for an older GoPro like a GoPro 4, GoPro +4 or even a GoPro 3? No worries all of those GoPros are also the same dimensions so they also fit the same underwater dome. But this underwater dome is different than the GoPro 7 – 5 underwater dome.

Due to the dimensions and buttons being in a different location. I loved my KNEKT dome system. They made a long-lasting quality item but they decided not to make units for the newer GoPros and recently decided to discontinue making them. But mentioned here anyways in case you can nab one on eBay or something. 

If you have an older model of GoPro, then you may find it difficult finding a dome that can actually house your camera. Older GoPros aren’t waterproof without their casing, so be careful, because when you are underwater, there are no second chances.

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

Our Top Recommended GoPro Dome Port Options

Our Top Recommended GoPro Dome Trigger Systems

Our Top Recommended GoPro Underwater Accessories

How to Use a GoPro Dome Port: Our Top Tips for Awesome Photos

Galapagos Seal- GoPro Dome Port

Have a Test Run

When you first purchase your GoPro Dome Port it’s advisable to have a test run before you take it out onto the open ocean.

If you have an older GoPro that’s not waterproof on its own accord, then try your dome out without the camera to check that the seals work and that it is in fact fully waterproof.

A good way to do this is to take a piece of paper, place it in the GoPro housing and submerge the dome fully in either a bathtub or a swimming pool. Leave it there for a few minutes at least, remove the dome and check the piece of paper is absolutely dry.

It’s a much better system than simply braving your camera in the dome first time!

Even if you have a fully waterproof GoPro – i.e. a newer model – then you might want to have a few test runs in a swimming pool before you try using the dome anywhere else.

Get the hang of it and what it’s capable of before jumping into the crashing waves of the open ocean.

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

Practice Handling the GoPro Dome Port

Just as you might want to try your dome out in the swimming pool first to get the hang of it, you will also want to practice your composition once you are ready to use it for real.

Even if you are a seasoned photographer, using a dome will throw up its own unique challenges and it will take time for you to adjust to these peculiarities. Really, it takes practice before you can snap that Instagram worthy over/under shot so jump in the water and go crazy.

Get used to the controls, get used to your GoPro and get used to the new skills needed to compose a great photograph. Snap away at anything and everything until you can handle whatever great pictures might come your way.

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

Learn How to Compose Your Over/Under Shots

The composition is one of the most important aspects of a good photograph. It doesn’t matter how expensive your equipment is or how spectacular the scene might look to you if you can’t capture that moment with the camera and the dome.

Learn basic photography skills, because these will apply even here, underwater. Frame your pictures using underwater features – look for coral or even schools of fish swimming past – and make sure you have a subject matter that’s clear.

Domes have level lines to help you balance them, and it’s important to have a level picture. You don’t want too much under the water and you don’t want too much over the water. Practice how to balance the dome to get the perfect mix of under and over.

GoPro Dome Port - Philippines snorkeling

Shooting a Subject

What makes a great over-under photo with a GoPro is having a good subject placed in the right location in the photo. (Basic photography 101)

This can be difficult to do because you may have something amazing above or below the surface but that does not mean it’s going to make for a great photo. So naturally, there’s a lot of trial and error.

Take your time, shoot the subject 4 feet away, then 6 feet away, then 8 feet away to ensure the chances of getting the best possible photo. It is hard to find the sweet spot since it is different every time when shooting in different locations. I’ve found my best photos have been when I’m 3-4 feet away from a subject. 

Philippines Snorkeling - GoPro Dome

Try to Avoid Sun Glare

Too much glare from the sun can ruin that perfectly composed shot. With such a wide field of vision, the GoPro is susceptible to sun glare anyway, but add in the even wider dome and glare from the water too and your shot can be ruined rather quickly.

There’s not much you can do to combat glare, except by ensuring you are shooting your pictures in the right direction – away from the sun. Shooting directly into the sun will undoubtedly give you a blown out picture when to come to edit them later.

Always place yourself between your subject and the sun. Then maintain that your back is facing the sun. This will give you the best chances, especially in any high midday sunlight, to get the best photos possible. 

Galapagos Penguin- GoPro Dome

The Time of Day You Shoot Pictures Matters

Conversely, though, sun glare can add to a picture in certain circumstances. If you do want to try and add in some rays of sunshine sparkling off the water though, the time of day you shoot will play a big role in how this turns out.

At midday, the sun will be too strong, but in the early hours of the morning, you can utilize the light better in your compositions.

Get up early, and you will also find that tourist attractions, islands or popular beaches where you might want to shoot using your GoPro Dome Port are devoid of other visitors.

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

The Clarity of the Water Matters Too

The best over/under shots out there will invariably have been taken in clear water. There’s no way around this, other than to select your destinations well if you want to make the most of your dome.

If the water is murky or polluted then you won’t get the best shot, while if it’s too dark then you may not have the best conditions for shooting. Try to research great places to shoot underwater.

Get inspired by other photographers or by Instagram. Destinations such as the Philippines or Mexico have become firm favorites on the Instagram scene for those looking to find exceptionally clear water.

Sea Turtle in the Galapagos

Avoid Fogging Your GoPro Dome Port

Unfortunately, any GoPro Dome Port will be susceptible to fogging while underwater. That’s all part of the game, and if you want to avoid this unfortunate scenario then you need to be prepared in advance.

The best way to avoid fog while shooting your over/under photographs is to place anti-fog strips on the inside of the housing. You can purchase these cheaply and it will be well worth the small investment.

If you take your dome from cold to hot too quickly, it can easily fog up too, so be careful if you run out of your hotel and straight down the beach, you might need to wait for it to defog itself!

Raja Ampat Islands Star Fish

Avoid Water Spots

Okay, so this one might be almost impossible to accomplish, but of course, your pictures will look much smoother and clearer if you can avoid unwanted water spots on the dome.

So naturally, try to keep the top of the GoPro dome out of the water. This can be harder than it sounds especially when waves are hitting you and your treading water. 

Try to keep it smooth when filming, wipe down any excess drops and keep an eye on the splashes around you. Minor blotches can be edited out later, but large splashes may ruin the effect you are looking for.

Guide to using a GoPro Dome

Capture Fast-Paced Action With Burst Mode

The GoPro Dome Port gives you the opportunity to capture some epic action shots. You can photograph the moment when a diver leaps from the boat into the water, capturing two worlds in one click of the shutter.

That’s what makes this such a powerful photography accessory. In practice though, capturing these action shots takes skill and timing. First, get your composition right, and then get your camera settings ready.

To help you to photograph these action shots, put your GoPro into burst mode. This will give you a huge number of frames to go through and you are much more likely to get an awesome action shot rather than attempting to take single shots.

It’s one of the best features to combine with a GoPro Dome Port, so learn how to use it.

Snorkeling in Cenote in Mexico - GoPro Dome Port

Take Care of Your GoPro Dome Port

And of course, remember to take care of your GoPro Dome Port. It’s no use to anyone if it’s broken, cracked or smeared. When you transport it, keep it covered to ensure you don’t crack or scrape the dome itself, as this will leave your pictures with unwanted blemishes.

Most GoPro domes come with a basic lens cover, if not you can buy universal dome covers on amazon for around $7USD. It is important to use them. Even the smallest of starches can show up in your photos.  

After using the dome in saltwater, ensure you clean it in freshwater to keep it ready for the next round of under/over photography. Keeping a clean unit after usage will help save the rubber seals from drying out that can cause leaks.

For those who are using trigger systems, this will also help keep the trigger free-flowing. I always do a quick rinse in the shower with warm water. Try not to use soap because this can leave a buildup that can make your photos look blurry. 

It is always best to make sure there is no sand or any debris in the seal or on the surface that the seal presses up against, this can also cause leaks. Rubber parts do dry up easily due to over usage or even do to just sitting around.

So it is best to apply some seal lubricant every now and then to all rubber parts. Most GoPro domes come with a small tube but if yours did not you can find silicone lubricant on Amazon for around 5 dollars. 

I also carry heavy-duty terry cloths and lens dust wipes for cleaning the inside of the dome. Even the smallest dust particle will show up in your photos. 

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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