This is part of a series of tips and tricks for our 2017 Smartphone Photography Tips guide, so be sure to check back for more!
Ever swipe through your smartphone camera roll and come across some vacation photos only to find that you aren’t actually in any of them? I recently realized that I was almost never alongside my husband, daughter, and vacation friends because I’m always wo-manning the camera. Those self-timers built in to most phones give you just a few seconds to actually get in position, and selfie arms are a no-go, so I’m usually stuck behind the lens. That’s when I learned a trick that I’ll never, ever forget.
You’ll probably never find a time lapse app while searching for “photo timers” in the app store, but they’re like the ultimate secret weapon for taking great group shots.
Instead of just taking one shot on a timer, like most photo apps do, time lapse apps take multiple photos at regular intervals. The best ones — like Instagram’s Hyperlapse app and Microsoft’s Hyperlapse for Android — let you browse through the photos the app took, and you can pick the best ones to save. The larger the group, the better time lapse apps work because there’s literally no time limit, and everyone will have plenty of time to cram into the frame.
These apps will save you some serious scrambling as you try to make it into position before the shutter snaps, and you can take your time and produce your best smile while the app does all the work for you.