Activating Spaces with People
Space activation refers to using people as props in a photograph to simulate active usage within the space. The inclusion of people helps define the functionality of a space by highlighting the intended usage. This becomes an important element in telling a story by showing how people function within a space and by highlighting important design elements within that space.
The concept of space activation mostly applies to commercial spaces, but can also be seen in residential architecture. It is certainly an important concept to consider when planning to photograph a space. The addition of people in a space not only shows how a space is intended to be used, but can also add a sense of scale, as well as a sense of motion.
In the images below, animations show spaces with and without people. You can see the difference made by including people and the contrast of mood between the two images is quite striking. Without people in the photo, it reads as a straight architectural image, and perhaps a bit sterile. But adding people creates a dynamic scene that speaks more to functionality and connection.