Pho­tog­ra­ph­er and film­mak­er Kasper Rol­stead is divid­ed sim­ple tips so you can shoot time lapse even with basic equip­ment.


Rol­stead has been per­fect­ing his time-lapse tech­nique for sev­er­al years. As a result, he made many short films, such as The Four Sea­sons in Den­mark, which use this method to show the beau­ty of nature and the changes that take place in it.

The pho­tog­ra­ph­er does not use very expen­sive equip­ment, his favorite cam­eras are Sony Alpha 6300 and Sony Alpha 6000 mir­ror­less cam­eras. long hikes.

Rol­st­ed main­ly uses man­u­al focus lens­es from Samyang — 12mm, 21mm, 50mm and 100mm. Most time-lapse pho­tog­ra­phers do not use aut­o­fo­cus — this can cause the focus to “jump” dur­ing shoot­ing.


To add move­ment to his work, he uses Edelkro­ne’s motor­ized Slid­er­Plus Medi­um with Action and Tar­get mod­ule, and to get shots from above, he works with a DJI Phan­tom 4 Pro drone. How­ev­er, look­ing back at the begin­ning of his work with time laps­es, Rol­st­ed notes that he shot his first time lapse on a smart­phone and encour­ages pho­tog­ra­phers who may not have the right cam­era to do the same.

“I think it’s more impor­tant to focus on find­ing inter­est­ing land­scapes and scenery than buy­ing expen­sive equip­ment,” Rol­st­ed says. “If you get more inter­est­ed, you can always buy a cam­era, but there is no need to invest in an expen­sive full-frame cam­era. An inex­pen­sive APS‑C cam­era is good for time lapse.”


Like­wise, slid­ers and a tri­pod head can add vari­ety to your shots, but these are option­al pieces of equip­ment and can be expen­sive and heavy to car­ry.

The first thing a time-lapse pho­tog­ra­ph­er needs to make sure the cam­era is sta­ble is that there are no shaky shots. In oth­er words, it’s bet­ter to get a good stur­dy tri­pod.

The Neu­tral Den­si­ty (ND) fil­ter is anoth­er use­ful piece of equip­ment, Rol­st­ed says. This helps lim­it the light that pass­es through the lens to the image sen­sor and allows you to use slow­er shut­ter speeds to cre­ate motion blur on fast mov­ing sub­jects.

“For best results, the shut­ter speed should be half the shoot­ing inter­val. For exam­ple, if an inter­val of two sec­onds is select­ed, then the shut­ter speed should be one sec­ond, ”he adds.

If Rol­st­ed start­ed shoot­ing time­laps­es today, based on his cur­rent expe­ri­ence, he would choose the fol­low­ing as his starter set for time­lapse:

- Sony a6400 in com­bi­na­tion with Tam­ron 17–70mm f / 2.8;
- tri­pod Man­frot­to MT190 XPRO4 190 with ball head Man­frot­to 496 Com­pact;
- a set of ND fil­ters, such as the Hai­da Slim ND fil­ter kit: ND8x, ND64x and ND1000x.


Accord­ing to him, shoot­ing time-laps­es is an easy task, but edit­ing can be a dif­fi­cult process. Shoot­ing a time­lapse is very dif­fer­ent from edit­ing it and can def­i­nite­ly take a lot of time.

For those new to time laps­es, Rol­st­ed rec­om­mends first pick­ing a spe­cif­ic sub­ject and apply­ing the same knowl­edge of com­po­si­tion as you would with reg­u­lar pho­tog­ra­phy. After that, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er must take into account the changes that occur over time, because “a time lapse in which noth­ing changes is not very inter­est­ing.”

For exam­ple, in a short film from the Scot­tish High­lands, Rol­stead cap­tured mov­ing clouds that also reflect on the sur­face of the water, wind shak­ing trees, peo­ple walk­ing along moun­tain paths, a water­fall cre­at­ing flu­id motion, and much more. All these dif­fer­ent move­ments add inter­est to the footage and show­case a place or theme from dif­fer­ent angles.

A few simple tips

- use a stur­dy tri­pod;
- turn off aut­o­fo­cus on the cam­era;
- select man­u­al mode to ensure uni­form illu­mi­na­tion;
- turn on fixed white bal­ance.

Rol­stead also rec­om­mends shoot­ing pho­tos in JPEG for­mat — even though RAW files have a num­ber of advan­tages, they make the over­all process more com­pli­cat­ed and time con­sum­ing.


The pho­tog­ra­ph­er advis­es set­ting an inter­val to start shoot­ing. The inter­val cho­sen will depend on the sit­u­a­tion and the per­son­al taste of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er. For exam­ple, one sec­ond is good for peo­ple, two to four sec­onds for clouds, and 10 to 30 sec­onds for night skies. In Rol­st­ed’s short film The Sea­sons in Den­mark: Spring, which fea­tures spring flow­ers in full bloom, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er chose 40 min­utes between each pho­to.

For those whose cam­eras do not have a built-in time-lapse func­tion, you can pur­chase an inter­val­ome­ter and con­nect it to the cam­era to then set the desired inter­val. Final­ly, after all the pho­tos are tak­en, they need to be com­bined into a time lapse, either using the time lapse func­tion itself, or using pro­grams such as Adobe Light­room or LRTime­lapse.