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Using V-Flats as Negative Fill in Fashion & Beauty Photography

8/19/2020 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

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 v-flat, or do what Lindsay Adler  does, 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, than negative fill is it's 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. 

She uses v-flats all the time, in the studio, on location, you name it. Lindsay finds them to be a very versatile tool. They don't require power, yet themselves are quite powerful!

Here are 3 ways that she 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. she likes using this technique when she is shooting in high contrast black and white especially since it creates  sharper edge on her 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 she mentioned, v-flats are great for blocking light. She uses 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 were just a few ways you can use v-flats. Definitely check out some of her other videos on the subject below:

About Lindsay Adler:

Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler has risen to the top of her industry as both a photographer and educator. Based in New York City, her fashion editorials have appeared in numerous fashion and photography publications. As a photographic educator, she is one of the most sought after speakers internationally, teaching on the industry's largest platforms and most prestigious events, having been named one of the top 10 best fashion photographers in the world.
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Text, images and video via Lindsay Adler Photography

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