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How to Shoot Half Underwater GoPro Photos (Tips & Gear)

Accessories, GoPro Tutorials

In this post, you'll learn how to shoot half underwater photos with your GoPro. You'll learn about 3 challenges when shooting underwater – and how a dome port overcomes them.

GoPro half underwater photos

How to Shoot Half Underwater GoPro Photos

Love half underwater photos? Check out this set of my favorite half underwater photos shot with a GoPro.

Want to get half underwater GoPro photos? Trying to do that with just the GoPro is pretty tough, right?

That's because there are many things working against you, including the water line, field of view, and underwater magnification.

In this post, I'll talk about why a dome port makes getting half underwater GoPro photos easier. You'll also see a review video for the Knekt dome.

Half underwater GoPro photos

Summary of GoPro Dome Ports

To even things out, you'll need a dome port. Here are a couple of solid options:

  1. Telesin 6″ Dome Port This is an acrylic dome with waterproof hardening material. Comes with the waterproof shell and floating handle. Dive to a depth of about 65 feet.
  2. Yoemely 6″ Dome Port: This is the professional version and comes very well reviewed. It also used an acrylic dome and comes with a pistol trigger (one hand operation), float grip, and protective bag. Dive to a depth of around 98 feet.

Learn how to eliminate GoPro lens fog

GoPro photo of half underwater shot

3 Problems When Shooting Underwater GoPro Photos

1. Field of View

To get a good half underwater photo (also called split-level, half and half, over under, and 50/50) you'll want to push the water away from the lens. When the water level is close to the lens, the field of view is reduced.

With one eye closed, try holding a pen horizontally (like it's the water level) in front of your open eye. You can't see much above or below the pen because it's so close.

Now hold it a little farther away. With the pen a few inches away, your field of view is increased. This is similar to what happens when you use your GoPro with a dome port.

Half underwater GoPro photo

The dome port pushes the water line farther away from your lens giving you a larger field of view, above and below the water line.

2. Water Magnification Problems

You'll also notice that when you try to get half underwater shots without a dome port, the water magnifies things. This distorts the look of photos, making the above water objects look normal while the underwater objects look larger.

This can be a cool effect, but not when you want things looking even and balanced.

over under 50 50 split level dome port

The dome port normalizes the field of view. This means that things will match up above and below the water line.

Read more about how to use GoPro underwater.

3. Unlevel Water Line

A dome port will also make taking photos easier because you'll be working with a larger lens area.

Trying to get half underwater GoPro photos without a dome port is tricky because the lens area is small.

You've got to lean over the camera to make sure where the water is. With the dome port, it's much easier. The Telesin and Knekt models have a water line guide on the back.

Half underwater photo GoPro

Ready for more? Check out my new post where I share 6 tips for shooting half underwater photos with a dome port. (I also include my 31 favorite half underwater photos – I think you'll love it.)

Split level dome port photo

Learn more about your cameras capability in our GoPro Waterproof Guide for all models.

Your Turn

Have you tried getting half underwater shots with a dome port? Please let us know about your experience by commenting on this post.

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Dena Haines is co-editor of ClickLikeThis: GoPro tutorial blog. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with ClickLikeThis.

9 comments… add one
  • Bin doing this Jun 20, 2016, 4:02 pm

    Sick tutorial on this! Perfectly done ?
    Proud to be Canadian ??????

  • Tim Oct 24, 2016, 2:30 am

    Hi thanks for this…I have some good dome shots from a recent trip to hawaii. My one big question is how can I apply a filter to the underwater section of the photo to get that nice blue water but not over expose the above water portion? Is there free Windows software that could help.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 24, 2016, 5:16 pm

      Great question. I’m a long-time photoshop user but there are some great free options. One popular option is GIMP – it’s free, open source and well rated.

  • ZALA ČUDEN Mar 11, 2017, 10:48 am

    You have also Split Dome Port. I bought it and it’s great!

  • Pratham Mar 28, 2017, 12:38 pm

    Goods tips !!
    What else is the dome used for as in other than half above and half below pics??

  • Huan Nguyen Mar 27, 2019, 8:51 am

    Interesting experiment. But I can’t be diving because of my heart (^_^)

  • TOM Com Jul 1, 2019, 9:01 am

    quite helpful sharing. thanks for this informative post. keep it up.

  • Ellian Nov 30, 2019, 1:56 pm

    it’s really great information that I checked here details, thanks

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