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With People vs Empty

Some businesses/industries photograph really well with people in the tour and others are typically better empty. The most important thing to consider is that this is your business and your virtual tour. We have some recommendations below, but do what you think is best for you. There are pros & cons of both and we explain below.

People in a Virtual Tour

In general, the benefit of shooting with people is that it adds a layer of energy to the experience. There are three different elements to consider regarding having people in your Google Virtual Tour. We’ve explained each below (you can combine them, as well). 


  • Creates a realistic experience
  • Shows that real customers are visiting the business
  • Easy to schedule
  • Can distract from any parts of the facility that are worn down


  • Moving people will create a ghosting effect
  • Most faces (read more on this below) will be blurred
  • Less focus will be on the facility/inventory itself

Team Shot

This option can be done in conjunction with either of the two above and it is straightforward. In one of the photospheres, we can capture a team shot that people will see as they navigate through the tour.

google 360 virtual tour

Empty but Staged

This is the least common scenario because it can involve extra planning required by the business management, depending on the level of staging. The only people in the tour, in these instances, are staged and posing in place. For each shot that has people posing, they hold the position for a few seconds.

Shooting the Normal Business Environment

We find our customers very split on this. Many like to show people and a state of normal busyness, while others find it distracting. 

Blurring People’s Faces

Our general rule is that faces look best, unblurred. Therefore, employees that approve having their face unblurred and smile at the camera will be unblurred and everyone else who has not given us approval is blurred. Please understand that Google can change the rules here. 

Empty Google Virtual Tour

In general, the benefit of shooting empty is that it allows for the business to look very clean, open, and there are no distractions. The facility itself is the main attraction. This is definitely the “safest choice” in that it is predictable and straightforward. 

For some businesses, the best way to have an empty tour is to schedule it before or after you open. But for many businesses we can shoot an empty tour even during normal business hours; it just depends on your typical flow of foot traffic. The Google Virtual Tour is created with still photography, not video. So if it isn’t too busy, we can typically “shoot around people” and avoid them.