We were all beginners once, and it was only after a few years’ experience that we noticed some mistakes we made back then. This is why the older and experienced version of Matthew Vandeputte created this video for his younger self, a beginner in timelapse photography. These ten tips come from years of experience, and if you are new to timelapse photography, this video is for you.
1. Start shooting raw
Just because you think you can do it in JPEG, it’s not always the best choice. Start shooting raw photos as soon as you can and learn how to edit them, because raw format leaves you with so much more control and more editing options.
2. Organize your footage efficiently
Timelapse photography means thousands and thousands of photos. And you definitely want those photos and your timelapse videos organized so you it doesn’t take you ages to find them. Find the system that works for you and sort your files effectively.
3. Back up your footage
We have emphasized the importance of backup many times before. Every hard drive will fail with time, so make sure to have your footage and photos on at least two hard drives, and possibly on a cloud, too.
4. Shoot more video footage
Younger Matthew thought he wasn’t good at video. But you can’t become good at something if you don’t practice. So he started shooting more video with time and improved his craft. For you, it can be video making, or it can be something else. But the point is: even if you are not good at it, you should still do it. You will learn and improve with time.
5. Film your family
Shoot more videos of your family interacting. People grow older, they change. Babies grow up, and older members of the family pass away. So please, make more films of your family. It doesn’t only help you to hone your filmmaking skills, but it creates precious memories for you and all your family members.
6. Learn about the business side
Shooting is fun, business side of it isn’t, I know. But if you want to turn your timelapse photography into a career and make a living from it, you need to learn about the business side and how it all works. Read books, watch tutorials, attend courses, and generally: invest in your knowledge of this area.
7. Start shooting in manual mode
If you’re new to photography, the manual mode may seem intimidating. The older Matthew wishes that he started shooting manual earlier, and he advises you to start doing it as soon as possible. It gives you more control over your shots and makes you get to know your gear. And if it’s still confusing and overwhelming for you – reading the camera’s manual is a good place to start, along with watching tutorials and reading books.
8. Never stop learning
Even when you achieve the results you’re pleased with, don’t get comfortable and don’t stop learning. Technology changes and advances, and there’s always something new to learn and try.
9. Don’t skimp on important gear
For Matthew, the “important gear” is batteries and memory cards. The money you save on them is not worth it if you miss important moments because of a corrupt memory card or a battery that dies on you. Both scenarios have happened to Matthew, so he advises you (and how younger self) to invest a bit more in batteries and memory cards.
10. Don’t use unlicensable music
Last but not least, choose proper music for your timelapse videos. And again, Matthew is speaking from his own experience. He had a viral video in 2013, but he didn’t earn a dime from it because he didn’t own the music. Ouch. So, make sure to use music from a music licensing website such as Epidemic Sound.
If you are new to anything, you’ll inevitably make mistakes, and that’s cool because you’ll learn from them. But I always say that it’s best to learn from other people’s mistakes whenever we can. It’s far less stressful, yet we can still gain knowledge. So, I believe that the older Matthew’s experience can be of help for all you “young Matthews” out there.
And for those of you who are already experienced: what is the tip you’d give to your younger self? I’m curious to know.