The classic technique of time-lapse photography gives you the freedom to create beautifully cinematic images that would otherwise be impossible to capture. Shooting time-lapses can give you a greater sense of connection to nature and the world around you, it can help you to slow down and appreciate the beauty in your surroundings. It is a fun and exciting way to shoot that free you from restrictions and routine. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or own expensive equipment to capture high quality, beautiful time-lapses. The Sony a6300 is a great affordable option for shooting time-lapse photography.
Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique that can be used in shooting anything from city lights to misty skies. It involves taking a series of stills of the same frame, then quickly playing the sequence in its entirety. It is often used to capture the movement of a slow process that normally wouldn’t be visible e.g. a blossoming flower, the movement of the night sky, or the sunrise. It can also be used to capture and speed up already fast movements e.g. a crowded city street, or the movement of cars on a busy motorway.
Select The Correct Camera Settings
When you decide to shoot a time-lapse, selecting manual settings on your Sony a6300 will give you the best results. Manual settings will give you the most control over your shots. If you chose to shoot your time-lapse on automatic, your camera would correct the exposure of the image based on changing levels of light. The camera cannot consistently alter each shot and this will likely result in overly light or dark images.
Shooting in manual can take some time to get used to, but it is worth the effort. The Sony a6300 is simple to use, making it a good camera for beginner photographers that are new to manual settings. Select the camera mode dial next to the flash to select Manual mode.
Select your Sony a6300’s aperture or f-stop based on the depth of field you desire for your time-lapse. A lower aperture is better for low-light conditions and will give you a greater depth of field and a blurry background. A higher aperture will keep more of the image in focus.
Decide on your shutter speed based on your desired look. If you want to sharply capture moving objects in your image, choose a shutter speed on your Sony a6300 of 1/80 or faster. However, if you are shooting in a crowded area, a slower aperture of 1/40 or slower will add an atmospheric motion blur to your images.
When shooting time-lapse, a good rule to remember is to double your frames per second to calculate your recommended shutter speed e.g. when shooting at 30FPS, set your shutter speed to 1/60.
Keep your ISO as low as possible, depending on the lighting conditions. A lower ISO setting will reduce noise in your image. However, in low lighting conditions, raising your ISO will be necessary.
Set Your Focus
The Sony a6300 has the option of both auto and manual focus. However, in the same way that you chose manual settings because you don’t want your exposure to change, avoid automatic focus so that your focus does not change throughout your time-lapse.
Select manual focus on your Sony a6300 by selecting Focus Mode and then choosing Manual Focus. Selecting manual focus will ensure that your images are consistently focused. If you chose auto-focus for time-lapses, your camera would refocus for each shot.
If you are shooting a landscape scene, focus your Sony a6300 on the point of infinity. Focusing on infinity will allow you to achieve the greatest depth of field for your landscape image. If you are capturing the slow movement of a particular object such as a flower, make sure that you are correctly focused on your object.
Focusing at night or in low-light conditions can seem difficult, but it just takes practice and the right techniques. If you are shooting a time-lapse of a night-sky scene, use auto-focus on the moon and then turn off the auto-focus setting once it has correctly focused.
Before you go out to shoot your time-lapse, it is important to plan properly beforehand. If you are shooting a time-lapse of a sunrise or a sunset, make sure that your Sony a6300’s batteries are fully charged the night or morning before and check the time and orientation of the rising sun at each time. Shooting a specific moment such as a sunrise or sunset requires proper and careful planning. It is important to also take into account and plan for other elements in your photo such as sea tides. If you fail to plan properly you may arrive at your location too late and miss the perfect moments of the sunrise or sunset that you hoped to capture.
Your Sony a6300 should last for up to 350 shots, so calculate how many shots you require for your time-lapse and decide whether you will require extra batteries for your shoot.
When you are shooting a time-lapse, you need to make sure that you are properly prepared. It may be necessary to pack water and food for a few hours, depending on your desired time-lapse length. If you are shooting during winter, pack warm clothes. Your tripod is also a vital piece of equipment for the perfect time-lapse image. You may not want to carry it, but a heavy tripod is the best, as it will prevent any shakes that may be caused by the wind.
Shoot In RAW
Select the 14-bit RAW format on your Sony a6300 to ensure that you have higher control when post-processing your time-lapse images.
Time-lapses require a large number of images that will take up a lot of space on your memory card or hard drive. While it might be tempting to shoot your time-lapse as JPEGS, it is worth shooting in RAW to gain the highest possible quality images. JPEG photos may be suitable for certain situations, but it is usually not a good idea if you are looking for beautifully detailed and complex images to make up your time-lapse.
If you decide to shoot your images in JPEG format, you are letting the camera choose how it processes each image, meaning that much of the image data is lost and is not recoverable. Shooting RAW means that you do not lose any of the image’s data and you are free to edit the photo as you please. RAW images give you a lot more control when you are editing the photos afterward and will help you to better achieve the look that you desired. This is the best way to achieve the time-lapse look that you want on your Sony a6300. It allows you to edit the photo afterward with a lot more control than what is available in the Sony’s settings.
Shooting RAW is recommended in most situations and hard drive space is largely affordable anyway. Often, after you have edited the final time-lapse, you may choose to delete many of the images you took rather than saving them on your hard-drive anyway.
Shoot For Longer
Shooting time-lapses, as you may have already realized, is a notable time commitment. You cannot hope to have taken enough images for your time-lapse in just a few minutes. Time-lapses often take hours or even days to capture. In some cases, you may be able to set up your Sony a6300 to capture your time-lapse images and just leave it and return to it when all of the images have been captured. However, it is usually a good idea to stay nearby so that you can ensure that you are happy with the images and you can replace the battery when it runs low. Waiting for your Sony a6300 to shoots hundreds of photos takes a lot of time, but shooting for longer will ensure you get the highest-quality time-lapse possible.
It is also a good idea to spend some time beforehand to explore the area and choose the perfect precise location for your time-lapse. Often, you can arrive at your location and set up your camera too quickly without giving enough thought to the image’s framing and position. Walk around the location, while imagining the shot, look at the scenery, and try to identify the best framing and composition for your image. It is a good idea to imagine that you are just taking one single photo and to compose your time-lapse in the same way.
Often, we can spend hours waiting for our camera to shoot hundreds of time-lapse images only to realize that all of the images could have been framed and composed better, if only we had spent a bit longer setting up the image when we first arrived. Taking the extra time at the beginning of the shoot will ensure you get the perfect time-lapse.