What is time lapse photography?

July 13,2022    3 min read

What is time lapse photography ATLI Timelapse

Time lapse videos have slowly gained popularity over the past few years. The intriguing form of cinematography allows us to capture the same subject from a whole different perspective - and needless to say, the results are mesmerizing.

But what exactly is time lapse photography? It is the art of capturing single images and combining them to create a video.

The video shows the beautiful blend of images and the movement of the environment around the subject.

You can experiment with time lapse photography with literally any subject - the moon's phases, movement of clouds in the sky, sunrises and sunsets, or even the hustle on a busy road in a city - the scope of bringing out innovative time lapse videos is broad.

Moreover, if done suitable, time lapse videos can help you narrate the same story with a different, fresh perspective - mesmerizing and relatable to viewers.

Essential time lapse functions you need to know

Shooting time lapse videos in manual mode would fetch the best results.

You can completely control the camera functions and adjust them depending on the shooting environment.

As beginners, time lapse photography may seem tricky, but with little tips and tricks, you can quickly master the art of creating stunning time lapse videos.

Let's begin with understanding some essential camera functions:


You need to pick the correct aperture to keep your subject in focus and provide just enough light. Experiment with the aperture until you nail the perfect depth of field for your subject.

Shutter Speed

Pick the shutter speed depending on the subject and the desired look you wish to create. Sharp and clear images of moving objects can be captured at a shutter speed of 1/100.

For fast-paced objects, you can pick a slower aperture. The perfect shutter speed is twice that of your frame rate - so if you're shooting at 50FPS, your shutter speed should ideally be 1/100.


The ISO settings depend on the light in the frame. Particularly for time lapse videos, low ISO works best.


Opt for manual over autofocus, as it would help you maintain a consistent focus for every shot you capture.

Time Lapse Interval

The subject's speed is an essential factor you need to consider while choosing your time lapse interval.

Shorter intervals work with fast-moving subjects, whereas slower issues require more extended breaks. The proper interval setting would help you capture shots without them appearing jumpy.

Tips for beginner: use special experiment

If you're a beginner at time apse photography, you need to look specifically for time lapse gear for beginners. Look for a time lapse camera with just the right set of features.

Ensure the camera can shoot in low light as you'll typically photograph during changing lighting conditions.

You can also experiment with sliders and combine fluid horizontal and vertical camera moves when capturing a time lapse. Although this is much more technical to execute, the results speak for themselves.

Once you have found the camera, experiment and have fun, mistakes will be made in the first few shoots, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Practise with different settings and put plenty of research into the subject; before long, you will be a time lapse master.