Five Different Ways to Use a V-Flat

While observing other photographers using v-flats, I would say most use them in two different ways. Here are the five most common ways to use a v-flat.

Photographer Jeff Carpenter (Readylight Media) along with V-Flat World goes through five common ways to use a v-flat in this video. For these demonstrations, Carpenter shows how he uses them for some portraits with model Allee-Sutton Hethcoat. While Carpenter is showing these different ways using strobes, many photographers use them in similar ways with natural light. 

While the methods are used often, I would say the first two methods are probably the most used. These are just using the v-flat to bounce the light for fill with the white side and to subtract the light with the black. One thing to keep in mind is the distance of the v-flats from your subject and how that affects your lighting just like anything else. 

Strobe on light side with v-flat on right side comparing distance and white (fill) versus black (subtract).

If you find yourself in a location that doesn't have a solid white or black background, you could use the v-flat to fill that need. Maybe the location does have a white or black wall, but it's not close to the window that's your light source; well, you could use the V-flat in that scenario. 

Using v-flats as the background.

Out of five different methods, probably the least common out of the bunch is using the v-flat to help evenly light the background. 

Using v-flats to evenly light a background.

Flag versus no flag comparison


Which way do you find yourself using v-flats the most? Are there any other ways you use them not covered in these five most common ways? Leave your answers below.

All photos used with permission of Jeff Carpenter.

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5 Comments

Leigh Smith's picture

What is the obsession with V-Flats on this sight!? We get it, we know we can buy them, we know we can make them, we know how to use them. Alright already!

William Howell's picture

No, I disagree with you on this one. I love V-flats and use them all the time in my garage, oops I meant studio. And for the amount of labor and other stuff that goes into making these portable, I think they’re reasonably priced. Now anyone could make these, but it going to cost time and material,so by the time you buy four of these, you’re gonna save time and the hassle.
I think it’s a great idea.

Johnny Rico's picture

$800 on 4 V-Flats. Lolol my sides hurt

William Howell's picture

I know it right, but it seems that they’re put together with a bit of craftsmanship. Now would I purchase 6 of them, no I would not. I say six, because I think that’s how many I would need to shoot a automobile, or for global light. But I could see a scenario where it may make sense to purchase these, at that expensive of a price.

Laughing Cow's picture

Two polystyrene panels + four 4" nails and the game is done.
I began to use them in 1979…