In this video, (and the one below), from Lindsay Adler, she’s going to share 3 reasons why she loves using v-flats to create negative fill in fashion & beauty photography.

You might not know what a v-flat is, or what negative fill is…but fear not, Lindsay gives a great explanation; A V-flat is typically a foam-like object similar to poster board (but often thicker) that is used to block light or channel it. It’s another form of a modifier. You can DIY your own, or do what we do, and get quality made ones from V-Flat World that fold up and generally are easy to use.

If a fill light adds light to your photos, then negative fill is its polar opposite. It removes light (aka blocks it) in order to create contrast, and can even absorb it!

This is super important, especially if you’re in a space where light likes to bounce all over the place. The v-flats become a great way to control that spill of light. I use v-flats all the time, in the studio, on location, you name it. I find them to be a very versatile tool. They don’t require power, yet they are quite powerful!

Using V Flats for Negative Fill BTS

Here are 3 Ways To Use Negative Fill with V-flats:

1. Emphasize cheekbones & jawlines

This helps to carve out the features because it helps to absorb any bounced light that ordinarily would fill in those shadows, so you get more of a contrasty look. Try this out yourself, it’s an interesting way to carve out those details! Check out the before/after in the video at 2:27.

2. Define edges

In mid-length and full-length fashion shots using negative fill is a great way to add definition to the side of the body and sides of the subject. I like using this technique when I’m shooting in high contrast black and white especially since it creates s sharper edge on my subject. Check the before/after at 3:21 to see the major difference adding v-flats can have!

3. Control the background

This last example is more about flagging the light, than negative fill, but that’s also a very important thing. As I mentioned, v-flats are great for blocking light. I use v-flats for controlling the tonality of the background. A lot of people get various colored backdrops, but don’t realize they can actually change the color in real-time by how much light hits it! Check out the differences starting at 4:00. So here we’re just a few ways you can use v-flats. 

[Related Reading: V-Flat World Releases Portable Folding V-Flats]

BONUS: Use V-Flats on Location as a Background

In this additional video from Lindsay, she’ll share with you how to use v-flats as backgrounds while on location.

If you follow her work you may notice that she tends to lean towards a clean, bold, and graphic style, so the right backgrounds are often very important.

For me, v-flats help achieve those looks as they are quite diverse. I can use them in the studio, bring them on location, treat them as backgrounds, reflectors, negative fill, you name it! The ones I use also can fold, which makes it super easy to transport.

In this video, Lindsay will show you 3 different setups using nothing more than natural light and some reflection from the v-flats

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