Stop Motion: the photographic technique that will awaken your creativity

Do you know what stop motion is? The name may not be very clear to you, but surely you have seen a video or a film made with this photographic technique that draws on both photography and video.

I am going to tell you what it is and how to make your own videos with your camera or your mobile. You will no longer have excuses to put your creative muscles into action.

What is stop motion?

A video stop-motion is an animation created frame by frame whose objective is to simulate the movement of static objects through a sequence of still images.

To achieve this effect, also known as volume animationa photo is taken, the object is moved a little, another photo is taken, the object is moved a little again, and so on.

Soon we will see in detail how it is done, but if it seems to you a new technique, I am sorry to disappoint you, it began to be used more than 100 years ago.

Here an example from 1916:

stop-motion tutorial

Let’s now see how to make your video frame by frame, what you need and how to get down to work.

Necessary materials

To make stop motion videos you need:

  • Tripod to make sure it doesn’t move or the jump will be noticeable in the video.
  • Artificial lighting. Natural light is too changeable and can affect the final result.
  • Remote Switch. On the one hand you avoid vibrations; on the other, you forget about getting closer to the camera and concentrate on moving objects and pressing the shutter from where you are. Plus, it can help you avoid unwanted shadows. Below I leave you a trick in case you do not have a remote trigger.
  • Objects. The objects or motifs that you have chosen as protagonists of your video.
  • Application to make stop motion. It is not essential but it does help, especially when you do it from your mobile. In addition, some like Stop Motion Studio allow you to see the previous capture, which helps you to reposition an object that has been accidentally moved. Then I leave you with a list of applications that you can use.
  • Application to control the camera remotely if instead of mobile you use the camera. It is also optional, but it is very practical and serves as a remote shutter release.


These are my recommendations or tips for making a stop motion:

  • Patience. I start with patience because to create this type of videos you are going to need a lot. If you like to do things in a hurry, maybe this is not for you.
  • Short videos. When you make your first videos, start by making them short, so if you make a mistake the frustration will be less. Go little by little, learning, and when you control the technique and all the details you can be encouraged to try longer videos.
  • Be careful with the details. For the result to be perfect, or the best possible, you have to take good care of the details, a tripod movement, incoherent or uneven movements, for example, can affect the final result.
  • Reflexes. If there are reflective objects, watch out for unwanted reflections. Wearing dark or white clothing can also help keep certain colors of clothing from reflecting in the scene.
  • The format. What format do you need? Are you going to record a square video for the Instagram feed? Or for stories? Being clear about the format beforehand is important when setting the frame.
  • Watch the shadows. Objects casting their shadow can be an excellent option depending on what you want to convey, what can completely ruin the whole video is the shadow of your camera, the tripod, yours, etc.
  • If you don’t have a remote shutter, use a timer or the delayed trigger.
  • Sometimes it is easier to make the video in reverse, imagine that what you have clear is the position of the final shot. In that case, start there and once the video is exported you can reverse it.
  • make sure you have enough battery and space on the card, if you have to change it in the middle, the least that can happen is that the team ends up moving.
  • Edition. Edit all photos with the same settings as the first frame of the video, you can sync in Lightroom or copy and paste the settings to the rest. Except in specific cases, you will not need to make major adjustments if you have prepared the scene well, a little brightness, contrast or saturation, so photographing in JPG format is more than enough and more comfortable when handling so many images that the RAW format that we usually recommend on most occasions.
  • Video. You can use any video program, there are more professional ones, like Adobe Premier, but the simplest and free ones like iMovie will do the trick or Shotcut.
  • Music. Liven up your video with the right music or sounds. It’s optional, but it’s like the icing on the cake to captivate the audience.

How to do a stop motion step by step

  1. Plan your idea. What are you going to do, what do you want to tell, what do you need, how long do you want the video to be, how fast do you want it to look. Creating a storyboard can be very helpful.
  2. Set the number of frames you need to take. The smoother you want the video to be, the more frames per second you need. Normal for this type of video is about 10-15 fps. So you have to multiply the number of frames by the seconds and you will get the number of images you need. If you don’t care about the final duration, you can save this calculation 😉
  3. Set the scene. Consider the background and lighting.
  4. Place the tripod and the camera or mobile framing the scene.
  5. Configure the settings in manual mode, aperture, speed, iso, etc.
  6. Lock the exposure and set the white balance to manual so that all the shots are consistent in terms of lighting.
  7. Focus. In manual or in automatic, but if you do it in automatic, once you have the focus it goes to automatic.
  8. Take the first shot, move the objects around a bit, take the second shot, and so on until you reach the end.
  9. Edit the photos, all with the same settings.
  10. Export the photos and join them in a video editing program, when selecting the images do it in order, otherwise the video will mix them for you.

How to make an easy stop motion from your mobile?

Using an application to make stop motion from your mobile you can do the whole process from the same device. It is quite comfortable and practical.

In the following video you can see how to make a easy stop motion from your mobile although you will also find tips to do it with your camera.

stop motion ideas

If you don’t know where to start and are looking for inspiration, here are some ideas to create your first videos:

  • Lego stop motion: building a figure or recreating a story with Lego dolls can give you many options. Here is an example of stop motion with Lego.
  • Toys: Do you have Playmobil, toy cars or any other doll with which to make up a story in your house? It’s time to play!
  • Paper: from origami to paper cutouts. Any option is valid. I recommend using color for more attractive compositions.
  • Board: Both chalk boards and white marker-type boards are a good start too: a graph, a drawing, a story, geometric pieces, whatever you want, but capture the process with a stop motion and it will seem to draw itself 😉
  • People: If you have volunteers with a lot of patience, you also have a great creative opportunity. It is known as pixilation.
  • Paint: I better leave this article with a stop motion video with which you are going to hallucinate. If you’re good at painting, you’ll love it.
  • post it: which reminds me of this other post-it stop motion video. Awesome!
  • molding paste: plasticine, clay or any molding paste, if you are good at creating figures, there you have a vein, it is called plastimation.
  • Letters: uses letters from games like scrabble or the magnet type for the fridge and create phrases or stories.
  • Pass of the time: the growth of a plant, the opening of a flower, the ripening of a fruit, for example, show the passage of time. These types of videos are more advanced, especially since it takes more time, some can take up to months.
  • Product photography: This technique is widely used in product photography, so if the subject interests you, choose a product and start creating!
  • Knolling: How about combining two very creative ideas? This would be, for example, one of those cases in which it is better to start at the end and then reverse the video.

To begin, keep in mind that it is best to resort to motifs that you have at hand, take a look around you, in your house, what objects do you have? What do you want to experiment with?

Surely there is something you have that catches your attention, start there.

And you know, when it comes to creativity, the only limit is you!

stop motion examples

On Instagram you can find a lot of inspiration and stop motion examples Be careful that as in any hashtag you can find anything because there is no filter.

I follow an account that not only creates this type of videos, but also publishes how it was done and it’s very curious. I recommend that you take a look at it because it does very cool things. This is the account @allthatisshe.

stop motion app

Surely the bug is already biting you and you have considered getting down to work. If you decide to do it with your mobile, these are some stop motion apps that can help you:

  • Stop Motion Studio (iOS / android). Free with paid version. Probably the best known, as well as easy to use.
  • Life Lapse (Android/iOS). Free with payment options. Easy to use with instructions that guide you when making your video.
  • PicPac (Android). Free with paid version. It also serves to create Time Lapses.
  • iMotion (iOS). Free with paid version. It also allows you to create Time Lapses.

Stop motion plasticine

As incredible as it sounds, plasticine, that simple toy that we have all had in our hands at some time, is quite used in stop motion.

Obviously the process is slow, even tedious, since it consists of molding and modifying the figures between shots. These changes are minimal, so to achieve a second of film you need to make approximately 10 modifications to the figure.

Some stop motion movies have been made with clay:

stop motion movies

Speaking of movies… What a number of frames may be necessary!! Crazy.

Although this is not an impediment to jump into the pool and achieve spectacular results with or without plasticine.

These are some examples of stop motion movies, in the link I leave the trailers:

And so far this tutorial on how to make your next stop motion. Tell us, are you going to cheer up? Have you already tried it? What cost you the most? We read you in the comments ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️!

And do not hesitate to share this article if you have found it useful….