Selecting & Uploading Stills from Time-lapses

This will be a quick post on capturing stills from timelapses and uploading to get the best of both worlds – footage and stills. I’ll show you three examples of both the timelapses and the stills I selected why. Here we go!

How it works

A timelapse is essentially 100s of stills put together to make a clip. Do the math…24 frames per second times 10 seconds and  you have yourself 240 stills to work with.

I prefer 100x to create timelapses with still images (despite the sometimes huge sizes) than create a normal real-time video and speed it up. The reason is simple: you can achieve much slower shutter speeds, as well as achieve higher resolutions for more dramatic effects, especially if shooting in RAW and then post-processing.

Long exposure of Avenida Atlantica and busy Copacabana Beach at night with Cariocas and tourists practicing sporting activities
Achieving lower shutter speeds is key to a successful timelapse – Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

Selecting the best still from the lot

Out of the 300 or so stills to choose from I’ll choose what I think is the best one.

I am NOT uploading every still from a timelapse as that’s just shooting yourself in the foot and FFS, Shutterstock, how can you accept this SPAM from this contributor:


Example 1 – Cantagalo Favela

Original timelapse:

Grabbed still (ok not from same timelapse but same view, just didn’t make sense to upload another similar to my YT account):

Cantagalo favela above Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, pictured below. This shanty town used to be a prime drug dealing spot until the favela was pacified in 2009
Picked the best looking out of the bunch where the sun was shining all-round – Cantagalo, Ipanema, Rio

Example 2 – Copacabana Palace

Original timelapse:

Grabbed still:

Can you see why I selected this still?

Example 3 – 25 April Bridge, Lisbon Panorama

Original Timelapse: Even though I butchered this timelapse by using wrong settings, hence the flickering (for another tutorial), I still had at my disposal, plenty of quality stills:

Grabbed still:

Removed people from background using the clone tool

Will these sell?

Who the fuck knows.

What is most important is that the above doesn’t take much time and offers buyers something new, along with the timelapse (most in 4K resolution).

Is the above something you’ve done in the past and how has your experience been? Please comment below!

Back to editing poker images

One major reason why I’m in Rio is to cover Party Millions Live poker tournament and I have lots of images/videos to edit. Next time you’ll hear from me will probably be with an update on my March results…speak soon!

Party Millions

Me posing next to legendary Professional Poker Player, Phil Helmuth, winner of 15 WSOP bracelets

About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images. I’m determined not to waste my life away as a corporate drone and have devoted six years to making it as a travel photographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others before it’s too late.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


  1. So for your TLs – do you do the “full she-bang” TLs i.e. RAW with individual spotting/processing and then put them together as TL or do you use a TL function in-camera? I’ve never done the “full she-bang” TLs – only the convenient in-camera one, which unfortunately on the 5D Mk IV those will only be in Full HD and not 4K.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tried to upload a few timelapse videos I’ve done but was rejected due to shutter speed. (Shooting raw stills to get up to 4K) did of bit of research and from what I gather I need to be leaving my shutter around 1 to 3 seconds depending on what the timelapse is. Does this sound about right to you ?


    • I shoot it in JPEG otherwise it takes up too much space. Really depends. If you’re shooting during the day you may struggle to slow down those speeds without a filter. At night it’s easy. Really depends what u r shooting. 3 seconds for a sunset would be a long time and you may end up with a really short video before it’s too dark (3 seconds + 2 second intervals…to achieve even 10 seconds would take you more than 30 mins). I usually don’t go below 1/2 seconds as a rule of thumb and for sunsets only 1 second intervals.

      Liked by 1 person

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