Time-Lapse Photography- What Is It And How To Do It The Right Way

There are basically an innumerable amount of articles and manuals that you will find on the internet about time-lapse photography. It can be quite an arduous process to know the basics of how to do time-lapse photography with all the tools that you have.

This article is perfect for you if you are looking to increase your gear and know about the software that you will require for editing post the shoot. So, let’s dive in!

What Is Time-Lapse Photography?

Time-lapse photography is an excellent technique if you want to capture an otherwise extremely slow event that usually extends over a long time period. The result is a series of fast-moving stills that gives the viewers the visual pleasure of watching movement and growth.

Time-lapse is an inevitable part of wildlife photography that helps capture certain processes of nature. These include the budding of a flower till its maturity, growth of mushrooms or grass, sky's shades as the day progresses, and so on.

The science behind time-lapse photography is that the frames are captured at a very slow pace. However, when the same number of frames are produced for viewing, the frequency at which the sequence of frames is shown is much higher. Therefore, the result is that the image is moving much faster and hence, giving the idea as if time is lapsing.

Time-lapse photography has, in recent times, really changed the way how our ordinary eye views things as they grow and evolve in a period of time. It has changed how we appreciate the beauty and has an innate quality in itself. Sceneries of nature have always attracted us, humans, and the beauty of these natural habitats has found its form in various mediums of art.

Since the advent of photography, nature has been a prime source of inspiration for photographers. While something as natural as a grass cuticle growing, or capturing a city like Tokyo, time-lapse photography has seriously altered our vision for the better. Something as ordinary as city life with its busy roads and people has made us wonder differently about the same things differently.

The Gear You Need For Time-Lapse Photography

While you can always invest much more than the article lists here, it is often to begin your career with a simple assemblage of the following equipment. If you are not a professional and are looking to only experiment with these things, here’s a brief time-lapse photography guide to starting your adventurous journey.

1. A Camera

This one is a no-brainer. If you have a phone that captures natural light that impresses you, you can always begin your way towards emulating time-lapse photography to perfection with a phone. However, a regular DSLR becomes really handy in the long run.

Another great option can also be mirrorless cameras that are technically known as Compact System Camera (CSC). These types of cameras don't have a reflex mirror and hence, are named mirrorless.

Just like a DSLR, the lenses are removable. However, unlike a DSLR, the body of the camera is pretty lightweight which makes it ideal for time-lapse photography. Most cameras, be it DSLR or CSC, are already equipped with what is commonly known as an in-built intervalometer.

It is simple because all you have to do is to switch the time-lapse mode on and you are good to go. If your camera doesn't already have the feature in-built, download a software version of the same in it. These are easily available making your life a tad bit easier.

2. An Intervalometer

If your camera doesn’t have the feature of an in-built intervalometer, you can always choose to buy the device. Once this device is connected to the camera, it will direct the camera to get pictures clicked within a fixed amount of time for as long as you set your camera at. Fix your camera with an external intervalometer and go roam around the woods while your camera keeps going with any manual help.

3. A Tripod

Our hands are shaky and our muscles eventually fatigue. Therefore, in order to capture

the perfect time-lapse, you’ll have to take stills for a really long time and a tripod becomes a must. It will not only help the camera to stay still but also the steadiness helps capture any process without any haziness.

4. A Motorized Slider

If you desire to go the extra mile and are seriously considering increasing your gear and quality, you should consider getting a motorized slider with a pan and tilt head. If you are a professional photographer, you know the competition is quite high.

Static time-lapse photography is not enough anymore and in order to up the game, a motorized slider really adds a lot to the overall result. A motorized slider is equipped in a way that helps your camera fit onto it.

Once that is fixed, you can begin your moving time-lapse photography since the slider will automatically move from side to side if you fancy extensive gear. The head of a motorized slider also allows an additional 360-degrees rotational movement of the camera.

5. Miscellaneous

Neutral Density filters are something that you should consider since time-lapse photography is indeed an outdoor project. Neutral density filters regulate the amount of light that is incident to the photosensor so as to not cause any blurring spot on the image at any point of your shoot.

You can rest assured that these filters do not alter any temperature or color of the incoming light. Memory cards are another inevitable part of the equipment that you must carry for time-lapse photography.

This is one of the most important time-lapse photography tips because each image that you shoot will actually be of vast sizes. To archive them, memory cards that have a high capacity of space are a must-have.

Best Software For Time-Lapse Photography

There are many YouTube channels about time-lapse photography, but this article is a culmination of all the things that you need to know about time-lapse photography. So, let’s quickly go through some of the best software that you can use for capturing a time-lapse.

Your job as a photographer does not end with just getting the shoot done. The process, once the shoot is done, is editing. While there is a lot of software that you can use, here are some time-lapse photography tips that can help you.

1. Lightroom

Without a doubt, Lightroom is one of the most common and efficient editing tools that photographers use. You’ll find this software in every time-lapse photography guide there is! It is always better to use the raw files for whatever editing is required with the help of Lightroom to get the best results.

While using the software after importing all the images, retouch by adjusting contrast, exposure, and color of the first image and later copy the same changes on the rest of the images. The process is not arduous and is user-friendly.


2. LRTimelapse For Holy Grail Time-lapse Photography

Holy Grail time-lapse photography is specifically meant to capture the rising or setting sun. Why this requires special mention is because as the amount of light needs gradual adjustment because of the amount of incoming light, you need to make changes as far as the exposure settings of your camera are concerned.

Therefore, to achieve this, a software called LRTimelapse becomes very useful. Since the software that was launched back in the year 2012, it has come a long way. It was an arduous process earlier you had to manually work on each and every keyframe. Now that is not so.

My Resolution to Welcome the New Year!

As a professional photographer myself, my resolution for this new year 2022 is to capture the culture and people of Japan through the lens of my camera. I intend to do this in the form of time-lapse videos.

You can always check my work and help promote my ambitions for this year by supporting me through my YouTube channel about time-lapse. I hope to start off with a Tokyo time-lapse that’ll help me capture the essence of this gorgeous city!

Every city has its own life, sentiments, food habits, theater, drama, and culture. Capturing this can go a long way in archiving the lives of people and their cultures. This is important for me because, with a globalized world, small cultures and their uniqueness is fast disappearing.

We all have started to wear the same clothes, eat the same food, and live the same life. So, while there is still time, I feel the need to preserve and archive the uniqueness of the life of Japan and leave it on my YouTube channel about time-lapse for the world to see.

Final Words

Newer, yet complicated software and hardware that aid in time-lapse photography is slowly emerging. So, this field will only add more and more insights into the everyday processes we all go through that often goes unnoticed.

It gives a fresh lens as well as a fresh look at what we see ordinarily. We begin to appreciate it as it exists naturally, and cherish the beauty of the little things, through time-lapse. We live in wonderful time and with time-lapse photography, you can always turn people’s attention to things that often matter to you!