How to Make DIY Foldable V-Flats for Photography Lighting – PetaPixel


I’ve used poly-boards, bounce-boards, and even white sheets and white walls as lighting modifiers to soften the light in the past, but arguably the quickest and most efficient way to instantly achieve beautifully soft light, is the V-Flat.

What is a V-Flat?

In its simplest form, a V-Flat is 2 large sheets of white board joined together on the long edge. Imagine two regular white doors hinged together at the sides and it’s this resulting ‘V’ shape that allows them to stand by themselves without the need for further stands and supports. Fancy V-Flats are even black on the other side and the ultra-supremo ones are even foldable for storage too!

V-Flats are pretty simple by design, but they can be pricey. A DIY version can literally save you hundreds of dollars!

What Does a V-Flat Do?

A V-Flat can do several things in the studio, but they’re best used as a way to spread light over a wide area. This resulting light from this is often extremely soft and flat, and although some photographers will use this as a key light, you’ll more likely find this very soft light being used as a fill for portraits.

The other popular use for V-Flats is to take advantage of their black reverse side. Inverting the V and using the black sides of the V-Flat will help reduce bounced light in a studio and is referred to as ‘negative-fill’. This is a useful technique for adding contrast to a shot where you want the light to fall off very quickly from the brighter side of the subject. This is especially useful in those very bright studios with white walls, ceilings, and floors where light ordinarily bounces everywhere.

How Do You Use a V-Flat?

There are several ways to use a V-Flat, but ultimately the most popular way is to position your V-Flat open at a 45-90 degree angle and then place your light between the sides pointing back into the white V. The light will bounce off of the big white walls you’ve created and result in a beautifully soft light that is surprisingly controllable thanks to how you position and angle your V.

I’ll discuss other ways to use your V-Flat later, but for now, let’s look at how to make our own DIY foldable V-Flat.

Making your DIY Foldable V-Flat

Before we jump in, there are a couple of things you need to ask yourself and check before we start cutting and sticking…

How Tall Do You Want Your V-Flats?

Mine ended up being 84”/214cm tall. It started out being a little taller, but I wanted to use it in my home studio, so I cut it down to its current height …….


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