Wedding Week: Day 3

Welcome to day 3 of WEDDING WEEK here on Paper Airplanes! If you are just catching wind of this week’s theme, you can catch up by reviewing the posts for Day 1 and Day 2.

Like yesterday, the goal of today’s post is to get the wheels turning on ways you can create fun, engaging imagery at a wedding. This can be helpful if you are a wedding photographer looking to deliver your client a little something extra, or if you are planning a wedding and want to create something unique during your event. I’m talkin’ about time lapse photography!

While certainly not groundbreaking or new to the world of wedding photography, creating a time lapse of your party, ahem, your “special day” is a great way to relive the memories down the road. Unfortunately it is also too easy for this task to fall through the cracks unless you have a solid game plan. So to save you the time of researching HOW to pull off a time lapse, here are a few different methods with different cameras to get you headed in the right track.

Using A DSLR:
There are many advantages to using a DSLR to create a time lapse. Typically the files created will be larger, the image quality is usually better due to a better lens selection, and most DSLRs shoot in RAW and JPG modes allowing you lots of freedom in the post-processing phase. Of course, there are factors which might be considered downfalls of using a DSLR. These include their price, learning curve and the fact you might need an additional piece of equipment to make a time lapse happen. If you are a part or full-time wedding photographer I will assume you are using a high end DSLR to do your job, but you might not have two of these beauties. And if you are a novice (or have even ventured down the camera aisle at your local electronics store), you know that professional-level DSLRs aint cheap. So having two DSLRs at your disposal – one for shooting the wedding, and one for a time lapse – might not be a reality.

For this article, let’s assume that using a DSLR is your method. Most likely you will need an additional gizmo called an intervalometer. If you break that word up into pieces, Interval-O-Meter, you can probably guess what it does. Yup, it lets you control the intervals at which your camera takes an image. For example, the Canon TC-80N3¬†acts as a self-timer, interval timer and long-exposure timer and can be set anywhere from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 minutes, or 59 seconds. For use at a wedding, try finding a good vantage point that will not be easily disturbed (aka, NOT the dance floor) and set your camera on a tripod. Dial the intervalometer to take a photo every 5, 10, or even 30 seconds and walk away. Of course, you will need a full battery and a high capacity, empty memory card to make sure you can capture all the images.


Using a Point and Shoot:
It’s far more likely you have a digital point and shoot camera in your possession than it is likely you have brand new Canon 5D mk III. No problem! Many P&S models have built-in intervalometers and are ready to create time lapses straight out of the box. A potential downside to using a P&S however is that you can’t dial in a fixed exposure. Rather, the camera will try to figure it out, which means you are essentially rolling the dice with your efforts. If you are going this route at an upcoming wedding (especially if it’s your own), you will want to identify the make and model of camera and practice using it BEFORE the big day rolls around. The Canon G Series (G9, 10, 11, 12) are great cameras for creating time lapses. Beware however, that some third party firmware called CHDK may be required depending on the model. The G9 will allow you to make a time lapse, but creates a movie file rather than a collection of individual images. This could be a speed bump after the fact if you aren’t sure how to handle the file.


Using a Go Pro:
No, just because you use a Go Pro to create a time lapse doesn’t mean you have to get married while base jumping, skydiving or surfing Mavericks. All it means is that you enjoy creating fantastic, cool images with very little hassle. We’ve mentioned these little gems on the blog before and notice that they are creeping into our collective consciousness more and more. Recently at the opening of Andrew Nixon’s exhibit in Rocky Mountain School of Photography Gallery, we used a Go Pro to create a timelapse of the evening. This would be perfect for a wedding since the set up takes about 3 minutes. And at $299, it may be possible to add a couple of them to your bag without selling the farm.


Time lapse photography is a great way to show a changing landscape, stars moving through the night sky or a long event in a short amount of time (aka: a boring 18-hole game of golf). It is also perfect for capturing Uncle Roy’s sweet dance moves at a wedding. Have you ever created a time lapse at a wedding, or have your photographer do so? If so, we’d love to see it … assuming Uncle Roy doesn’t mind. Please share with us in the comments below!




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Wedding Week: Day 4 : Paper Airplanes

[…] what you can’t do. How are you going to shoot this event? Lights, no lights, video, time lapse, photo booth? Is this what your client […]

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