Mastering the intervalometer for successful photos

The intervalometer is an essential tool for photography enthusiasts and those who wish to create time-lapse images. In this article, we explain how to use an intervalometer, the different modes, and the settings to consider to achieve the best possible result with your camera.

What is an intervalometer?

An intervalometer is an electronic device or a function integrated into a camera that allows for automatically triggering the shot at regular intervals.

It is particularly useful for creating time lapses, which are accelerated video sequences showing the evolution of a subject or landscape over a long period.

How does the intervalometer work?

The intervalometer is generally composed of two main elements.

The timer

This is the first key element of the intervalometer. The timer allows you to adjust the frequency of triggering the camera.

It can usually be set in increments of 1 second, up to several hours. This way, you can choose how much time will elapse between each shot, depending on the subject being photographed and the desired effect.

The number of shots

The second main element of the intervalometer is the number of shots. It determines how many photos will be taken in total during the sequence.

This parameter is important for adjusting the total duration of your time lapse and for avoiding unnecessarily filling the memory of your SD card with superfluous images.
Intervalometer connected to a camera

Intervalometer settings

To optimize the use of your intervalometer, it is essential to master the different settings.

Interval between shots

This parameter mainly depends on the subject you want to photograph.

For example, for a sunset, an interval of 5 to 10 seconds may be appropriate, while for a busy urban landscape or a nature scene with fast movements, a shorter interval (1 to 3 seconds) would be preferable.

Sequence duration

The duration of the sequence also depends on the subject and the desired effect.

A time lapse of several hours or even days can be done to show the evolution of a construction or the blooming of a plant, for example.

For more dynamic subjects, like clouds moving in the sky or crowd movements, a shorter sequence (30 minutes to 1 hour) may be sufficient.

Total number of shots

This parameter should be chosen based on the sequence duration and the interval between shots. Remember that each photo taken with your camera represents a certain amount of data stored on your memory card. It is important to estimate correctly the number of shots needed to cover the desired duration without saturating the memory.

Time lapse - Shooting

Tips for successful time lapses with an intervalometer

Here are some tips to help you achieve amazing results with your intervalometer.

Choose the right shooting mode

To create a successful time lapse, it is best to use the manual mode (M) of your camera.

This method will give you total control over settings such as exposure, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity.

You can thus avoid unexpected variations in lighting or focus that could affect the consistency of your final video.

Take into account lighting conditions

Changes in brightness can have a significant impact on the outcome of your photos.

If you are doing a time lapse outdoors, adjust your settings according to the changing light throughout the day.

You can also opt for a neutral density (ND) filter to mitigate variations in brightness and prevent unwanted blurriness.

Stabilize your camera

Using a tripod or another stabilization solution is essential to get sharp images and avoid vibrations when triggering the camera.

Make sure your setup is stable and secure before starting your sequence.

Regularly check the progress of the sequence

Even though the intervalometer allows for automatically triggering shots, regularly check that everything is going smoothly during the sequence.

This will help you quickly detect any errors or anomalies and adjust your settings if necessary.

By following these tips and mastering the different parameters of your intervalometer, you will be able to create stunning time lapses with your camera and capture unique and original images.