Time-Lapse Primer

There has been an explosion in interest in time-lapse, and for professionals, being able to add time-lapse skills to your repertoire gives you one more thing a client may want. It also gives you some cool motion to have in your portfolio. Creating time-lapse can be incredibly rewarding, too. Half the pleasure of going out to shoot is the journey that’s required to get to the location. The better the location, the harder it is to access. The first time you look at the shot and see the results, it’s extremely exciting.

For me, it’s about the art, the experience, the desire to take a step back and breathe, and most importantly, the desire to share. What makes time-lapse photography so fascinating to me is that it requires patience. It’s one activity that requires you to stop and take in your surroundings, sometimes for only a few minutes and other times for hours.

Many people are drawn to the art through the process, one that allows us to analyze our environment and adapt. The slower-paced shooting environment is similar to the experience of shooting a still photograph before the advent of digital mediums.

The most important thing is to get out and shoot. Like anything, practice makes perfect. Because of the diversity of ways to approach shooting a time-lapse, this article will focus only on the basics, with a few helpful tips to improve your skill set.


Camera body and lens
Cards and batteries
Camera-cleaning tools
Polarizer filters, Vari-ND filters and grad filters

It’s essential that you’re prepared before you go out to shoot. Make sure you know the types of shots you want to accomplish before heading out to shoot. Double-check that you have all the gear you need and that you have replacement items in case any gear is lost or broken. To capture a time-lapse, you’ll need the following gear:

The Basics

When shooting a time-lapse, it all starts with the foundation. The first thing you’ll want to make sure you have is a solid tripod and shooting surface. If using a lighter tripod, you may want to lash the tripod down or attach a weight to the center column. If it gets windy, this will ensure that your final shot is stable.

Leave a Reply