There is a Japanese design concept / aesthetic called wabi-sabi. Loosely defined, wabi-sabi represents the acceptance of transience and the beauty of imperfection. When I approach an interiors photography shoot, I look to convey that transience into the beauty of the room design. It can be subtly conveyed in a creased pillow, an indentation in a chair, running water, an open door, or an animal wandering in or out. Adding this playfulness or spontaneity lends an intimacy and everyday realness to the images.
On some shoots we get lucky. There might be a personable and cooperative pet who keeps us company as we shoot - following us from room to room. Some are even posers, in the very best sense of the word. They act as the transience I am looking for, adding charm, humor, personality and approachability.
Adding Intimacy to Interiors
The character above is Louie. Though a senior citizen with a propensity for wandering out the front door on a moments notice, he quickly won over the whole crew at a recent shoot with designer Fannie Allen at this colorful Menlo Park residence. He patiently cooperated, turning his head this way and that for the perfect profile and mood. Of course a cookie was not too far out of range.
As you can see he adds a breezy spark to an already cheery, sophisticated room.
Adding animals, and other wabi-sabi elements, adds a sense of unpredictability and intimacy that elevates the images. Give it a try!