Wabi-sabi concept in lifestyle photography

simplicity, modesty, and the appreciation 

I love to take pictures of clients' homes. For me, an ideal home is one that is not perfect.


But sometimes I feel that people are not fond of this idea because their home "is not the right place". It's too dark, or too small, or too messy. Reasons can be different. 


I believe that most of the time people don't understand completely what a home lifestyle photosession is. It's not about how perfect or bright a place is. Home is not a studio with white walls and few pieces of furniture. This is the place where you live, eat, sleep, and feel safe. It should be messy, full of toys, food and books.


I wanted to share few principles of wabi-sabi concept that I really find beautiful. 


The beauty of imperfection


Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept that embraces the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and the natural cycle of growth and decay. It is a philosophy rooted in finding beauty in simplicity, modesty, and the appreciation of the inherent flaws and asymmetry in the world.


In terms of home, Wabi-Sabi concept is worth thinking in this way: it's about threadbare couch, not the white leather sofa; mucky fingerprints all over the house: on white walls or old paints scattered over carpets and clothes. An oil or jam stain on the carpet. Home is a lived-in space, not a showroom. Minimalist, free of clutter, and natural. It's not sterile, bland and without character or humour. 


Wabi-Sabi is not about having the latest thing, a new toy, or smartphone; it's about rediscovering an old top at the back of your wardrobe or making a tasty meal with leftovers in your fridge. 

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6 examples how to use wabi-sabi in photography

This Japanese concept speaks a lot to me when I first read about it.

I realized why I want my photography to look a bit imperfect: this is the beauty of life, and we should embrace it. Accept it and see the magic in it.

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The concept of wabi-sabi can be beautifully integrated into a home lifestyle photosession.

I will share several ways how it can be used in photography and how I see it in our everyday life:


 1) Emphasize the beauty of everyday objects: Wabi-sabi celebrates the beauty in things we see and use everyday. Be it small details and ordinary items that hold significance for your family. This could be a well-loved mug, plate, a stack of books, old toys or board games, or a collection of handmade pottery.

By including these elements, we can capture the essence of your family's daily life.


2) Incorporate natural light: I use natural light to create a soft and warm ambiance in photos. It gently illuminates the space, emphasizing the textures and colors present in your home. Soft, diffused light can enhance the wabi-sabi atmosphere. You can say that there is little light in your room but if you have at least one window the light will find its way through it.


3) Embrace imperfections: Let's focus on capturing the beauty in the imperfections of your home. This could be the worn-out furniture, cracked paint, or rustic elements that convey a sense of authenticity and history.


4) Capture simple and uncluttered spaces: Wabi-sabi emphasizes simplicity and minimalism. Seek out areas in your home that have a clean and uncluttered aesthetic. They can evoke a sense of tranquility and allow the focus to be on the essence of your family, connections and interactions.


5) Highlight natural materials: Use natural materials and textures as backdrops. Wooden floors, plants and flowers, or natural fabrics like linen or cotton can enhance the wabi-sabi feel and add warmth and depth to the images.


6) Moments of stillness and contemplation: Wabi-sabi embraces a sense of calmness and mindful presence. We will look for moments of stillness and contemplation within your family dynamic. These can be quiet interactions, shared moments of reflection, or simple activities like reading or enjoying a cup of tea.