Using V-Flats as Backgrounds on Location | Lindsay Adler (Video)

Today I want to share with 3 differents setups where I use V-Flats as backgrounds while shooting with natural light on location. If you follow my work you know that I like to create clean, bold imagery. I often gravitate toward using hard light, and there's no better hard light source than the sun! When I shoot on location I often try to use shadows, shapes, and other things that I can use even as gobos to create those bold hardlight images.

✅. Setup one: 1:47 Probably my favorite use of a v-flat on location is using it as both a fill light and a high key background. This is a pretty simple setup as you can see. I place the subject in direct sunlight, right in between the v-flat folded behind her, with the white side facing towards me. With all this beautiful light bouncing off the v-flat it created this wonderful wrap of light on her. A simple setup, with a little bit of interestingness added through the use of the hat with shadows.

✅. Setup two: 2:42 Now we're going to flip the v-flat around and use it to create negative fill and a low-key image, something a bit more dramatic. Because of the shadows on the model's face and the high contrast look, I decided that this would make for a good black and white image in post. More often than not, high contrast lighting make for great black and white photos. I also added a small white reflector just so that the shadows under the model's chin weren't too dark.

✅ Setup three: 3:11 This time I used the v-flat to create interesting and compositionally graphic shadows on the background and the model. All I did was move the v-flat into a 90 degree angle so that the sunlight cast a shadow across everything. I love using graphic shapes in my work, so experimenting with this was fun because it was unexpected but definitely my style. This lighting setup again made for a great black and white processing. So 3 different setups, all similarly bold and graphic, yet different in their own right. If you get the opportunity to spend some time outside this summer and looking to do some natural light photos, definitely experiment with putting your subject in direct sunlight and using either something like a v-flat or other object to define hard shadows on them, you may like the results!

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“I’m really loving how I can turn into a background, use it to fill shadow or add more shadows, and also as a changing room lol. I’m loving it.”

Jefferson L.