People in architecture

The first thing your eye is drawn to in a photo is usually the lightest area —unless a human is in the image. Whether it’s due to it being a familiar shape, our defensive instinct or even looking to see if we know that person, most will agree that your eye goes there first. 

So, why do you think that adding a person to your interior image (produced to depict design and architecture) would be a good thing? Wouldn’t it be distracting from the design of the space? 

The short answer is not really, depending on how it is done. In fact the eye will typically scan a picture before moving on, and this happens very fast. Most people spend 2 seconds looking at a photo. If they are not interested in the content of the photo they may move on faster.

One way I try to slow a viewer down and pay attention to the details, is to add people in strategic areas of the frame. This not only adds layers to “peel back” but provides context and functionality to the design of the room. This in turn helps a designer tell the story of what to focus on, and how people move through the space.

Take a look at the picture of the airport walk-space. It’s a somewhat plain image with a heavily designed ceiling you may not notice at first. You sense your eye begin reviewing the persons in the front until you come to rest on those walking into the other room. Then your eye rises and returns to the left as it take in such a monumental ceiling, you can’t ignore. It forces the viewer into moving counter-clockwise around the whole frame until they realize the reason for the picture is the ceiling.

The image of the designed ceiling and triangular lights at the courthouse works in a similar fashion counter clockwise, but first you can’t help but look at the people. The additional thing happening here is that the only things sharp in the room is what I want the viewer to spend the most time looking at. Once your eye sees the whole image it comes back to and stays fixed on the triangular shaped lights at the top.