Minimalist Portraits on a Budget

Getting the right look for a portrait often depends on more than just the subject. Backgrounds are essential, and minimalist backgrounds can be a great way to create striking images that emphasize the subject.

Coming to you from Gavin Hoey with Adorama, this informative video features Hoey demonstrating minimalist portrait techniques. He starts by explaining the importance of a clean, white background. He uses an Easy Frame background, which he praises for its ease of assembly and washability.  Hoey emphasizes that the minimalist approach extends to the lighting setup as well. He uses a single light with a large softbox to create gentle shadows that don't overpower the subject. 

Hoey also provides tips on cropping and composition, recommending the use of a 16:9 aspect ratio to give a wider feel. He suggests reducing the number of colors in the picture, even going so far as to shoot in black and white to see how the final image might look. He then moves on to full-length portraits, highlighting the challenges of achieving a minimalist look in a small studio space. He advises maximizing the background space and using a 4:3 aspect ratio for vertical shots. Hoey concludes by demonstrating how to extend the background digitally in Photoshop, using the remove tool and content-aware fill to create a seamless backdrop.

In the real world, studio space can be limited, and achieving a true minimalist background might be a challenge. Hoey’s Photoshop techniques offer a practical solution for photographers working in confined spaces. By digitally extending the background, you can create the illusion of a larger space and achieve the desired minimalist aesthetic. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Hoey. 

If you would like to continue learning about the art of portraiture, be sure to check out our range of tutorials on the subject in the Fstoppers store.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments