Working With a Limited Color Palette in Studio

During the conceptual stages of a portrait shoot, when deciding which color palette to incorporate, could less possibly be more? This brief video from Adorama TV features small home studio savant Gavin Hoey showcasing for us how to create effective portraits in studio within a limited color range.

Hoey ties his examples together using a singular color for accessories, makeup, and wardrobe throughout the video. Utilization of a single background light, positioned behind the model, plays a crucial role here as it creates a bit of separation within the punchy monotone color, ensuring you are not left overwhelmed by an overuse of the limited spectrum. Often with so many directions to take a portrait in, too easy is it to complicate things. Hoey keeps things simple but effective with color.

In another example, Hoey demonstrates the versatility of gray-colored backgrounds and how you can transform a mundane gray backdrop with the creative use of gels on set. Attaching a gel to that same background light can drastically shift the feel of your image. Owning a plethora of studio backgrounds is wonderful to keep things varied on set, but they can get relatively pricey, and difficult to store, especially once you start to purchase your favorite backdrops in additional color and textures.

Would you agree that this is a case of less is indeed more?

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Thomas Starlit's picture

Good stuff!

Gavin Hoey's picture

Thanks for sharing my video. Very decent of you :)

Derrick Ruf's picture

My pleasure Gavin, I always enjoy your creativity and execution. Results are always fantastic!