9 Time Lapse Photography Tips

Time lapse photography is fascinating because it offers the illusion of time in a sequence of shots. This type of photography requires a different type of filming and attention must be paid in pre- and post-production. In fact, there are different time lapse photography techniques to understand and practice to truly master this form of photography. Anyone from beginners to hobbyists and professionals should understand how to shoot time lapse photography to be able to capture their surroundings in the greatest detail. It’s wise to learn about the different basic to advanced level time lapse photography tips as possible.

1. Adjust Your Settings in Manual Mode

One of the most important tips for time lapse photography is putting your camera in manual mode where it can adjust to changes in lighting. Essentially, when you put your HDR or DSLR camera in manual mode, you are allowing it to adjust exposure automatically. This is one of the time lapse photography techniques that allows you to obtain “flicker”, which is capturing the sharp change in lighting from one frame to the next. The outcome of using this setting to learn how to shoot time lapse photography is creating a series of consistent frames to minimize blurry images.

traffic time lapse photography

2. Use a Remote Intervalometer

In order to guarantee that your shots are evenly spaced out, you will need to adjust your time lapse photography settings on your camera by attaching a remote intervalometer. This device takes shots in specific intervals of time. In fact, you can set the intervalometer to take up to 10,000 photos per session. In addition to creating beautiful high-definition videos using this device but you can avoid unwanted camera shake.

3. Know Your Video’s Length Ahead of Time

If you want to learn how to shoot time lapse photography, it is important to understand timing. Time lapse photography techniques can be used to create the best shots but without knowing how many frames you are working with, you can’t create smooth transitions. A time lapse video should contain between 15 and 30 frames per second (fps). Put simply, the formula to remember is that every 30 frames per second of time-lapse video requires 300 frames per 10 seconds of video. While this may sound confusing, the use of an intervalometer make it easier to create a stunning video.

4. Keep Lighting in Mind

One of the best tips for time lapse photography is to understand where natural light is. For this reason, you may want to set up your camera at a certain location at a specific time. Most importantly, understanding the time and place of a sunrise or sunset is imperative to creating a moving video. This will enhance the “flicker” of each shot and highlight changes from beginning to end. Time lapse photography tips can make all the difference when deciding to shoot during the day or night – or both.

beach time lapse photography

5. Adjust Your Camera’s Aperture

One of the most useful time lapse photography tips to maintain optimal exposure is adjusting your camera to suit the lighting in the atmosphere. Sometimes, this may take a bit of planning ahead of time or knowing how many shots you want to get. With this being said, it may not be ideal to use a wide aperture during the daytime, which would let in too much light. Shooting wider areas may require a smaller aperture, like F16, while the opposite may be true for focused environments. Using a smaller aperture will create a greater depth of field to work with.

6. Set Your Camera’s Shutter Speed and ISO

Of course, you wouldn’t have the ability to create sequential shots of your environment without considering your camera’s shutter speed. This will vary based on time of day and lighting available. For example, it is recommended to use shutter speed of no more than 1/100 of a second during the day. During the night-time or in low light environments, it is best to set your camera to adjust ISO speed automatically so as to not miss a detail.

7. Choose the Right White Balance

One of the most well-known time lapse photography tips that professionals understand how to master is white balance. White balance is plain and simply the temperature of the colors in your images. With your camera, you can choose the setting to automatically adjust white balance so that depth is captured. As you become more experienced in creating time-lapse videos, you can experiment with the different types of special effects created by adjusting white balance. This is inherently one of the advanced time lapse photography tips used by professional photographers.

biker time lapse photography

8. Animate Your Video with Motion Control Systems

If you want to take your photography to the next level, you can learn how to employ rails, dollies, and similar motion control systems into your shots. This is inherently one of the most technical time lapse photography tips that allows you to capture motion and action in each shot while moving slowly. Essentially, this is accomplished by securing your camera on a moving rail or dollie to create the desired effect. Utilizing this skill takes practice but can add a cinematic look and feel to your time-lapse video.

9. Use an ND Filter for Outdoor Photography

Of course, one of the most important, yet simple time lapse photography tips to remember about this form of photography is using the right filter. The use of an ND filter, or neutral density filter, is ideal for use when creating time-lapse videos outdoors. It has several benefits like reducing unwanted flare that can ruin shots or even helping to adjust exposure. This will allow you to even avoid dust that can change the quality of each shot.

sunrise time lapse photography


In all reality, if you choose to use one or many of these time lapse photography tips, you can create a mystical video of the subject of your choice. There are no limits to time-lapse photography. You can have fun using specific equipment or adding special effects while shooting. The complexity of your time-lapse video is as vast as your imagination.

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