Portraits have been part of photography from the very earliest days as Louis Daguerre took, and developed the invention of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, and came up with the Daguerreotype. It is no surprise that people have featured in photographs ever since, from newspapers to books and fashion to school photography.
It has been said that shoot in mono and you photograph the soul, I guess the thought is by removing the colour you remove the distractions. I work in Black & White and colour, and for  me the decision is driven by the subject, the background and the situation but I remove unwanted colour all the time,  by shooting minimalist portraits.
Subject is key, I am looking for interesting people and if  you want to take portraits of interesting people go where interesting people are. That may not be as easy as it sounds as where do interesting people go, so I am going to try and explain, give you some hint and tips and recommend some of my favourite locations.
Of course interesting to one person may be something different to another and of course we can not hear a person speaking in a photograph but you can create a picture that give the impression of someone’s character.  I suppose I am suggesting interesting people have interesting hobbies like railway enthusiasts, military re enactments, and of course Steam Punk enthusiasts, 
Hear are some idears of places to go:-
Dads Army Live, North Norfolk Railway
Who does not love a steam train, though into the mix the ever popular Dads Army, and all  in a 1940’s train station, and hey presto,  you have a ready made photo shoot. The date for 2024 is not yet released so visit the website for more details  https://www.nnrailway.co.uk/
The event takes place at Waybourn station, but you have to park at Holt, where there is ample parking. You catch the train which takes you to Waybourn. Whilst you are waiting for the train, take the opportunity to get some shots of the station staff,  it is not a bad idea to get the train pulling in, and let’s not forget the driver, the classic head out the window shot.
As you pull into Waybourne station it’s like stepping back to 1944 as Captain Mannering and his motley crew march along the platform. Jones the butcher, complete with van, even Pike, running late of course. Don’t worry about Pike, he has a note from his mum.
It’s not a large event so it’s quite easy to get around, there are refreshments available, which are good if a little limited in choice. The washroom facilities are part of the station and are good and easily accessible. 
I found it to be very sunny when I was there, nice weather but the light was quite hard. Of course that is one of the elements beyond our control but think about where to shoot and look for shade.
Crowland and Thorne 1940’s weekend
Held at North Farm, Old Knarr Fen Drove. Thorne. PE6 0TF, just off the A47 between Peterborough and Wisbech, this is a full 1940 weekend with vintage cars, bikes, tractors and military vehicles of all shapes and sizes. And of course all the people you could wish for. I would say 30% dress in military uniform, another 30% in other 1940’s attire so plenty to photograph.
The event is run in aid of the restoration of an amphibious military vehicle called a Buffalo. I  don’t know if anyone know about such things but there is a website all about it if you are interested. 
Parking is plentifully, there are food vans and stalls with everything you could want and even a licenced bar for a cheeky beer. The site is large but easy to get around and just outside the main hall, where the bar is, there is a seating area which was in shade from about 1:00 pm. There was also plenty of inside seating in the hall, well I say hall, it is a large farm building really, but all decorated to look like a 1940 village hall.
All the facility were super, they real had everything well sorted. They had a military re enactment in the afternoon and a fly by for the aircraft enthusiast.
Aslam Steam Punk Lincoln Castle
Renowned amongst steampunk enthusiasts this is reported to be the largest meet in the world, and as you would imagine, there are fantastic costumes of every colour and style as far as the eye can see.
The event itself is held at Lincoln Castle but the organisers are reported to not be photographer friendly, I know, that’s a bit odd and to be honest I talked to a number of people about this but did not speak to the organisers directly, but there were “No Photography” signers dotted about. Because of this, and the cost of the ticket, best forget the Castle. The best option is to shoot around Steep Hill, just outside the castle, where there are stalls set up, and a favourite gathering place for photographers and steampunks is the cathedral. If you search on Facebook there are hundreds of photos taken around there that will give you feel for what it is like. The only problem is too many photographers.
Not going into the Castle means you are on the street, so facilities are via the public convenience at the entrance to steep hill car park, but they close at 5:00 pm. However there are a number of pubs, cafes and bars all over that area of Lincoln. 
There are no steps around the cathedral, so the access is good but Steep Hill is steep, who would have thought it, it’s level from the castle across to the cathedral, but some of the road is cobbled so,it is a bit uneven. If you venture down steep hill with your camera kit you need to be careful, especially if it is wet.
There are plenty of car parks around the cathedral and there are signposts , but the one I recommend is opposite the Morning Star Pub, on Greatwell Street, LN2 4 AW. I got there about 9:00 am and there were plenty of spaces and it’s about a 6 minute walk to the Cathedral.
What about the photographer
So, what makes a portrait minimalist, for me it’s a clean uncluttered background, sharp focus to concentrate the viewer on the subject and no distractions. I don’t mind some detail in the background but it must be out of focus and not competing with the subject. On that note avoid bright and strong colours in the background. I also think a relatively tight crop, it’s all about the face, so head and shoulders.
How to get the shot, my top tips
Plan your pictures before you even take the camera out, know what you are looking for. Yes there is always the unknown and sometimes the shot is just there but that is unlikely. I would say all the best pictures are a result of planning.
Choose your subject carefully, it is no accident that the pictures I take have character and a certain look about them. Do I alway get what I want?  Absolutely not, but at the events I mentioned there will be 100’s of people, some very photogenic and some not so much, so pick wisely. For much of my work I want older male subjects with hats and facial hairs and no glasses and people that have an interesting look.
Look before you shoot, I know it is tempting to shoot, shoot and shoot some more, and at these events there is plenty to shoot, but don’t get carried away. If you try to get everything you will likely come back with nothing. Look at the subjects, backgrounds and the light. Shoot some shots, check settings, adjust if needed and then start shooting. but be patient. Let the shot come to you, and they will.Don’t be put off by what others are doing, this won’t be a problem at most events but at Lincoln Steampunk there will be loads of photographers. I guess that’s because it’s such a large gathering. It’s all good, let them get their shots their way and you get yours. There will be plenty to go at. 
Shoot long, this is key for your style, don’t get in the subjects face, use the longer lens to control the background. Olympus shooters, try a  150- 200mm and maybe even 250mm. Crop senses cameras like the R7 try about 300mm and full frame shooters 400 or even 500mm.  Longer lens will make it easier to control the DOF, but it also helps with the composition and keeping distracting elements out of your pictures. How, well it’s because on the narrow angle limits the background, If you shoot wider you will have to get closer to your subject and proportionally you will have far too much background. Try it for yourself. I promise it works. I do use a monopod as that makes using a long lens much easer.
Work in AV (aperture priority) I have to confess I am not a fan of auto ISO, in part because I believe you should have an understanding of what is happening and keep some control. I set my aperture between f5.6 and f8 depending on lens, set the ISO as low as I can, keeping the shutter speed faster than the length of the lens. I don’t need super fast speeds like you may use for bird photography, 1/500 is fine.Then when shooting all I have to do is keep an eye on the shutter speed, (this is easy as it’s displayed in the viewfinder, so no need to keep looking at the back of the camera, and if the speed is to low or to high I adjust the ISO. 
Use burst mode, when shooting candid/casual your subject may be moving, talking or just looking around, you will learn to pick the moment but you will almost never get it right and never all the time so shoot in bursts. Don’t keep looking at the back of your camera, in fact don’t look at the back of your camera at all, but that is really hard, we all look from time to time and most people look too much. Be confident, know it’s right, get it right in the viewfinder. When you are looking at the back of the camera you are not  looking for the next shot. Remember a camera is only the tool you use to capture the image, you create the photograph.
Set your focus point, make sure you set your focus point correctly. This will be different if you are shooting in landscape to portrait orientation.Think about where the face will be in the frame and position your focus points where the eyes will be. If you set the focus in the centre of the frame you will likely move the camera to focus on the eye. This will mean your composition will be wrong, often leaving too much space at the top of the frame.
Research and practice, practice starts at home, yes at home, get your camera out and set it up. In AV move you should be able to change the ISO without taking your camera away from your eye. I use Canon so it is easy on a Canon but I believe it is “the same but different” on other cameras, there will be a dial or button somewhere. Know where it is and use it.
There are other events, I have just listed three I like, some events are free,  like the Mods and Rockers, or the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Pride (held in Tuesday Market Place) – free practice and you might even get “the shot”
I hope that is Interesting and you have fun, and I look forward to seeing you work sometime.
Steve Duncan.