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GoPro Beginner Mistakes: Avoid These 3 Common Traps

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There are some common traps that I see new beginners fall into–or at least trip over–quite often. This video and post are here to help you stay out of those traps, and get to creating your awesome videos ASAP!

You know by now that I get LOADS and loads of questions from GoPro beginner types, daily, weekly, monthly… it never ends! And I love it because it means I get LOADS of ideas for new videos on my YouTube channel and ideas for blog posts like this one. So in this post, I want to help rescue you from 3 common traps that I see GoPro beginners get caught in all too often.

And before we dig in, I create a cheat sheet for you, which will help keep you out of these traps!

So, What do I mean by traps? I mean things that trip beginners up and keep them confused and eventually, frustrated, with learning this whole GoPro stuff. It’s a really fun and rewarding hobby, and I want to help you get started having fun (instead of headaches 🙂 ) as quick as possible.

If you missed the live stream on the VidProMom Facebook page, you can click here to watch the replay or hit play below. Be sure to follow my page so you don’t must future live broadcasts like this one!

So, don’t get caught in these 3 GoPro Beginner Traps!

Trap #1: The Long Ride

I see a lot of questions along the lines of “I just got a GoPro, and I’m going on a 5-hour road trip and I want to GoPro the whole thing”. I’d like to reply, “um, why?” but I usually have more tact than that. The reality is, are you going to watch a 5-hour road trip video? 5 hours? of roads? and cars?

I get that this seems like an easy first video. You can set your GoPro on the dashboard or suction cup it to your windshield, and just let ‘er roll.

But unless your GoPro happens to capture a high-speed chase or a 40 car pileup, the footage that comes out of your road trip is going to be booooring. You won’t have much of anything to edit into a fun to watch video.

“Long Ride” Rescue

If you’re thinking about capturing a road trip on your GoPro as a way to learn how to use your GoPro, my advice is to play with the settings as you go. Change resolutions. Change frame rates. Turn on Protune. Change Protune Settings. Turn on stabilization. Turn off stabilization. Change to time-lapse mode. Change time-lapse settings. Turn on Voice Commands and practice using them.

(Obviously, don’t do these things if you’re at the wheel and driving.)

The idea here is that you’re doing more than capturing your first GoPro video, you’re using your GoPro a TON, learning where settings are, and when you go back and review your footage to edit it into something (or just to see what kinds of results you got from your settings changes), you’ll know what does what.

Trap #2: Just the Highlights

The flipside of the “Long Ride” trap is that “Just the Highlights” trap.

What do I mean by this? This is when you shoot ONLY the super cool, rad, awesome, fun, stoked stuff. Just the flips. Just the jumps. Just the splash.

It makes sense, it really does. Why else do you even own a GoPro? It’s to capture the epic moments, right? The pitfall of capturing just the epic stuff is that you miss the rest of the story, and your edited video is going to look like a commercial for The Olympics.

“Just the Highlights” Rescue

I love the Olympics, but more than the winning shots themselves, I love the stories of how the athletes got there. So, shoot aaaaaaall the other stuff too.

Remember grade school? Who, what, when, where, why… Good times. Capture who is with you (even if it’s just you!). Capture when this occurred, even if it’s just a season, not a specific date. Capture where this epic stuff happened. You get the idea.

I actually create a printable cheat sheet to help you with this! It’s a shot list of ideas to help you remember to capture the whole experience instead of just the highlights.

>> Download the Shotlist Here <<

Trap #3: Best GoPro Settings

There are no best settings. End of story. Ok, maybe I can elaborate. The settings on your camera will depend on what you’re shooting, where you’re shooting when you’re shooting. My best settings aren’t your best settings. Because what I shoot is not what you shoot.

“Best GoPro Settings” Rescue

The BEST GoPro settings are the ones in which you know what they do. You gotta learn the camera! You gotta play with the GoPro! Turn it on and start capturing stuff, then see what it looks like! It’s just like every other thing you’ve ever done, in your life, ever. Like ever ever. You learn by doing it.

That said, if you’re a total beginner to GoPros, and you literally have NO CLUE where to start, first I recommend you check out my series on Getting Started with your GoPro, and next, I recommend you start with these settings:

  • Resolution: 1080
  • Frame Rate: 30
  • Protune: off

Start there, practice, and learn the rest of the settings as you go.

What beginner traps have you fallen into with your GoPro? Leave a comment below so I can add that trap to my list of video and blog post ideas, and we can rescue future GoPro newbies together!

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Dave Grylas

Monday 7th of October 2019

Hello can you send me your tips sheet?

Lizzie Harrison

Friday 19th of April 2019


I just got the new Hero7 Black and am enjoying it. BUT I am supposed to be using it to capture parts of my horse riding lessons so that I can send them digitally to my instructor. The videoing works fine, but then it takes hours to upload to YouTube. I literally have to allow two hours for an 8 minute clip. Am I doing something wrong? Is my computer the problem?

Thanks so much for your help

Meredith Marsh

Friday 10th of May 2019

What resolution are you recording in? The higher the resolution, the bigger the file, the longer it takes to upload.

James Whelan

Sunday 20th of January 2019

I've had my goPro a few months and hate it. its the worst. I got it to record a meeting that could last up to 8 hours, and it never works out. not good in low light, the sound is weak and battery drains and the card fills up in what seems like seconds. I now just use to record stuff for my kids.

Meredith Marsh

Sunday 20th of January 2019

Yeah. It's really an action camera, not meant for low light and long periods of recording.

Ben Minder

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

I just made a short clip at 1080/240. I can play it back in the camera in slow motion but when I play it back on my computer, it plays aback at 240 fps, normal speed. Can you help?

Leomarie Cummings

Monday 21st of May 2018


I have gopro hero 6 and that the problem is that the videos take from it can't be read by my android samsung phone specifically the j7 pro. Any ideas on how I can fix this problem? Had difficulties on sharing my videos because of this.Your help will be much appreciated xxxx

Meredith Marsh

Sunday 10th of June 2018

Hi Leomarie, I have a video on that topic that might help you...

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