I originally made this video using the T4i but all the tips and tricks apply to the T5i too.

Time lapse photography involves taking a series of still images and then combining them to make a movie.

You need-
Camera with a Remote Shutter Release Port
Remote Shutter Release/Intervalometer – I bought mine off Amazon for $14 bucks
UPDATE: Since making this video I have gotten my hands on Triggertrap App -Intervalometer and so much more
A tripod or other stable surface to set the camera

The Intervalometer part of the shutter release is what lets you specify that ever n seconds you want the camera to take a photo.  The one I linked above is very simple to use.  You have the following settings – Delay (how long before the first shot), Long (the length of time you want the shutter to stay open), Interval (the period of time between each photo) and Number (the number of photos you want the camera to take before it stops).     For most daytime time lapses you can ignore the Long setting, leaving it at zero.  This setting is really only used for LONG exposures at night, longer than 30 seconds when you need to use Bulb mode.

In both my example videos I have the Delay set at 5 seconds and then Interval set at 3 seconds. Number is set on infinity – the camera will keep taking photos until it runs out of battery or card space or I stop it.    It is important to have a larger card if you plan a longer time lapse.  You also want to make sure your battery is charged.  On the camera the following settings are helpful for getting the best results.

  1. Compose your photo and focus, once you have focus switch the lens to MF, you don’t want it trying to focus for each shot.
  2. Use the Manual Mode – Don’t be scared – Just Rotate that Dial to M and turn live view on.  Adjust your Aperture by holding down the AV/+- button on the back and rotating the Main Dial. An aperture of F5.6 – f/9.0 will be best to make sure everything is in focus.  Set your ISO under 800 and then adjust shutter speed till the image on the screen roughly matches what you see with your eye.
  3. Set the Image Quality to Medium – this is one of the few times I don’t recommend you shoot RAW, Medium JPEG even Small JPEGs are still much larger than HD video.  You can shoot RAW for shorter time lapses but that can easily be hundreds of large files you have to deal with.
  4. Turn Off Beep- First Menu, second option. This just saves you from hearing it beep for EVERY photo it takes.
  5. Turn Off Image Review- First Menu, Fourth Option – This saves battery life
  6. If you have an interval(time between shots) longer than 30 seconds you want to double check the Auto-Off setting on the camera and make sure it is set longer.
  7. Take one more test shot, press play to double check exposure is good. If all good start the Intervalometer and leave the camera alone.
Other Options for the hardcore –
  1. Set WB to match conditions E.g. if it is Sunny set it to Sunny – this avoids any potential changes in WB over the course of the shots but in my experience the change is often smooth enough that this doesn’t cause any issues.
  2. Shoot Large and you can pan across the time lapse by doing some nifty post processing in your video editor.


First simple example – I shot everything on Auto you can see a flickering in the shots as the camera adjusted the aperture, this is not desired.

Second Example seen at the end of the how to video above ( no flicker from Aperture changes, just sunlight changes and that is OK 🙂


Complete Second Example – Not quite as exciting as I hoped, needs more sky and clouds.

[coming soon]



Next Steps – In a future post I will talk about the software you need to combine these files into a movie, sources of music and editing tips.


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 I feel lucky - a 3 minute walk from home puts me on a little secret beach access looking across Elliott Bay to Olympic Mountain views like this! I had hoped to try a longer exposure to get the clouds all smooth and wispy but a 600mm lens and a stiff breeze caused too much shake, so I just sat there, shooting, watching the sun, hoping for a moment when the clouds would light up like this! * Captured last night with the #Sony #A7RII and #Tamron #150600G2 at 500mm
 I love that light on the Northern Flicker's breast! This image has a few issues - it's getting a little noisy, I'd have love to shoot at a slightly smaller aperture to get his head in focus and that bright light around his beak is distracting but I keep coming back to that light and the soft green frame :) Also related to my recent video 80D vs the 77D - why buy an older camera? learn more http://photorec.tv/77Dvs80D Captured with the #80D and #Tamron #150600G2 Lens at ISO 2000
 #mondaymorningshare - Were you trying to impress the ladies this week like this green winged teal? Visit photorec.tv/fb to share your favorite photo from the last week and check out all the submissions! It's a great way to get your work seen! * Captured with the Sigma 150-600 C as I wrap up my comparison vs the Tamron 150-600

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  1. In general terms – yes but the Nikon DSLRs do have intervalometers built in, which allow time lapse without any extra gear. D5100 is a very good camera and the price is great but I give the T4i better marks on the video side and photography- it just gives you slightly more room to grow as a photographer.

  2. Toby, will your recommended intervalometer (Neweer RS-60E3) lock the shutter for longer exposures (say 20 sec)? There’s a review on Amazon from a guy that had trouble with that, and I’m just trying to find out if he had a lemon or it’s a compatibility issue. Thanks for any help. Steve

    • Yes it does. I will say the first one i received was totally dead and I had to ask them to send a second which they did free of charge. I have used it to take 20 minute shutter exposures 🙂

  3. my question was how to do time laps for some one do graffiti …how many fps and the whole set up please…..thanx dude

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