How to photograph empty places

What you'll learn

1. How to use timelapse to make busy places look empty.

2. How to edit your photos together to create a final frame that's free of people.

3. What to do with the 'left overs' in your frame

Photographing busy places can be really annoying, but with this neat technique you can make even the busiest places look empty.

What you need

  • Camera

  • Sturdy tripod

  • Intervalometer (We're using Triggertrap Mobile)

  • Computer

  • Adobe Photoshop


Photographing busy places, especially tourist spots will usually result in one thing. That’s a photo full of the tourists visiting the location. The great thing with digital photography is that there are some easy ways around this! In this tutorial we’re going to show you one technique for shooting and editing a photograph so that it appears totally free of people.

We’re going to achieve this by shooting a sequence of images using timelapse. For a guide to timelapse basics, check out How To Get Started With Timelapse Photography. The aim is to take enough photos of the location so that at some point, every part of the frame will be free of people. That way we can compile the images together afterwards to make one completely empty frame. Simple!

The finished setup

Got it!


Capturing the photos

Now that you're all ready to go, press start and let your timelapse run. How many frames you need will depend on how busy your scene is. The more people in your frame, the more photos you'll need to take. We'd recommend no less that 15 frames even for quiet spots.

Post Processing