Basically, time-lapse photography is a technique. In time-lapse photography, frames are captured at a lower rate that the usual frame rate (frames per second). But when you play all the frames and see it at the usual speed, it seems as if time is moving faster. Time-lapse photography technique is the complete opposite of slow motion technique. For example, with time-lapse photography technique you get to see a flower blossoming much faster than its usual speed.
What do I need to take time-lapse photography?
You will need the following items before taking a time-lapse photography.
Camera and Tripod – Any DSLR camera and Tripod is fine.
Intervalometer – It is an automatic camera trigger that can be set to take photographs during particular intervals.
Large Capacity Memory Card – Depending on the situation that you will be capturing, you will need a large capacity memory card.
Camera Protection Gear – Since you would be setting your camera to take photographs for a long period, you will need protective gear for your camera (especially if shooting outdoor) based on the climatic conditions.
Note: Nowadays even mobile phones can be used to take time-lapse.
How can I take time-lapse photography?
Decide on what you want to shoot – sunrise, sunset, clouds, traffic, people walking, etc.
Decide the speed and flow of action of the activity that you are shooting. How much time you want the time-lapse to be, how many shots you want, how long you have to shoot; decide on all these things. Based on that, you will have to set the intervalometer. Usually for sunrise/sunset/clouds, an interval between 3 – 8 seconds will be sufficient. For street, you will need to set an interval of 2 – 8 seconds. For night, it will be better to set an interval between 7 – 30 seconds. Initially you may find it difficult to decide on the interval, shots and the like. But with enough practice, you will get the hang of it.
Now you need to set your camera exposure in manual mode – ISO, Aperture, Shutter, Focus, White Balance. It is better to capture the shots in JPEG format because editing large number of RAW images might be difficult.
Focus on the subject and then turn off the Auto-Focus. This is done to avoid the camera auto-focusing on other subjects after each interval.
Once you have set it to your liking, based on the scene that you are capturing, try some test shots/ time-lapse. Make necessary adjustments if any. If you are satisfied with the result, set your camera and tripod, and do a stability check (the camera should remain steady after each interval, otherwise you will get a shaky time-lapse). Usually for a 15 second time-lapse, you might need to shoot at least 320 – 380 photographs.
Now that you have shot the photographs, you can move on to the next stage of editing.
Lightroom is the best for editing time-lapse photographs. You can do batch editing in this. Just make the change in one photograph and you can sync the same change to the rest of the photographs.
After that, render the time-lapse into a movie file.
You can add music, titles and the rest in your final editing (you can use any movie editing software).
You can email your time-lapse videos to firstname.lastname@example.org and get your video evaluated. For any further doubts about taking time-lapse photography, you can email me and get your doubts cleared. Enjoy clicking and keep following Gulfu Photography.