Everyone has enjoyed stunning time-lapse flower photography, but rarely think it is something they can do. With proper equipment, step-by-step instructions, and a little patience, you can accomplish a beautiful time-lapse photography video with flowers in your own yard. A series of sequential images captured by your camera over several hours are compressed into a short video lasting only a few minutes, allowing you to see a flower bud mature into a full bloom.
1. The Equipment Needed
- Intervalometer – (timer remote controller) – It’s critical to the success of your time-lapse to capture a certain number of images, which are spaced evenly in exposure. The intervalometer makes it possible to capture extended time-lapses while keeping the exposure spacing uniform. Intervalometers offer the awesome ability to input the length of delay you want between exposures, which is perfect when shooting in raw (the preferred setting). Burst mode can throw off the timing between images, which results in your time lapse having a choppy look. The ability to input your preferred delay length guarantees a smooth appearance to your video. Check your DSLR camera’s manual to see if it includes a built-in intervalometer. If you need to purchase one, Henry’s can help you select the best one for your camera.
- Tripod – Your camera needs to be stabilized for hours, and a tripod is the best way to prevent camera movement between frames. Since it is critical to your success to prevent tripod movement, have some weighted bags or other stabilizing items available when setting up for your shoot.
- Camera – You will need to upgrade to a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) if you are using a point and shoot camera. Henry’s can guide you to the right camera for your experience and budget. You will also need a fully charged battery (and extras) as well extra memory discs. An alternative to a DSLR is a time-lapse video camera, such as the Brinno TLC200 Pro High Definition.
2. Setting Up
The first step in the process of time-lapse photography is setting up your camera and tripod. Do not fully extend your tripod, using the thicker legs first if needed. Flowers are low to the ground, and raising your tripod the least amount will limit the risk of wind movement. Weighted bags laid across the tripod legs add extra protection.
3. Choosing the Correct Time-Lapse
Each flower is different and may require some research to determine the amount of time it takes a bud to fully open. For this example we will use a 24-hour time period and set the time-lapse at one frame per minute for the flower opening sequence, which will equal 1440 frames. Playing the images back at a rate of 30 frames per second will present the flower opening in its entirety over an impressive period of 48 seconds (follow setting instructions in your manual).
4. Manual Mode
To avoid getting “flicker” in your finished product, set you camera in manual mode and do not change settings to adjust for lighting variations. Allowing automatic exposure adjustments causes the “flicker” problem.
Clean up the area around your subject. Remove any dead leaves, flowers, and broken branches. Look through the viewfinder to double-check the area that will be displayed in your time-lapse.
6. Final Check
Once you are pleased with your background, do a final check by making sure your camera and tripod are secure and won’t move, be sure time-lapse is set, and you are in manual mode. Determine what time you want to start your time-lapse and go for it.
Once you have tasted the fun time-lapse photography provides, you will want to try other challenges, such as sunsets, waterfalls, and an egg hatching. Henry’s can provide you with instructional books to aid you in your continued learning experience with time-lapse photography.