3 Tips to Create Your First Time-lapse

One of the many cool and artistic photography techniques is the time-lapse. Basically you take several hundred (or even thousands!) of pictures and put them together in a stop-motion way, creating a movie. The time-frame during which these photos are taken varies depending on projects, it can be anything from a few minutes to several years. Common subjects or scenarios can be blooming flowers, sunsets, night skies or just a busy street. Completing a time-lapse video can be quite an extensive project, and for the best results you need to master your camera in full manual mode. If you are an absolute beginner you’ll benefit from completing a photography course to learn the ins and outs of your equipment, as well as the techniques used. But let’s get started with some advice to keep in mind.

  1. Plan your shoot. Although this is important for any photography project, for time-lapsing it’s 90% of the work. Location scouting, time estimation, equipment needed and transportation are all very important factors to take into account. Where are you shooting? What are you shooting? Do you need to be there at a specific time? Will you need special clothes (for example warm clothes or heating elements in winter time)? Will the shoot be during daytime or at night? Planning every possible detail is important as you may be far away from your office or home, and once on location everything needs to run as smoothly as possible.
  2. Bring a sturdy tri-pod. As we want to control as many variables as possible, a sturdy tripod is essential to minimise vibrations and to keep the camera in the same place. This is the time you leave your light, carbon fibre tripod at home and bring out the one made from metal.
  3. Bring extra memory cards and batteries (and make sure they are charged). If you plan on staying out a full day you will run out of battery at some point, and extra packs can help alleviate that issue. Also, having extra memory cards can help in case you decide to prolong your shoot, or if there is some issue with the one you plan to use.

Shooting a successful time-lapse video is, as stated earlier, quite an extensive project and the information contained in this article is only the tip of the iceberg. There are several photography courses that will go more in depth on the subject, which are recommended before you set out on your first time-lapse shoot!