Hi gang. I’m happy to report that last weekend I found a new source for V-flats here in the US, and the price is right and you can find them in 65 locations (mostly in the Central and Northeast, South, and everywhere out West), and when I show behind-the-scenes shots using them, I always get asked about where to get them.
In the past, it was “Find a local sign store” but a lot of folks were kind of reticent about going into a sign store and asking for ‘Gator Board,” so I’m glad I found this new source. First, let’s look at what a V-flat even is.
Above: Here they are on either side of our model. It’s two large 4-foot x 8’foot panels that you put up against each other (like two swinging doors in a saloon) and then you simply run a 3″ piece of white Gaffer’s tape (you can find white Gaff at B&H) from the top to bottom of the seam, and you’ve got a V-flat. The main reason we like a “V-shape” is that it can hold itself up when positioned in the shape of a “V” or “L” (where they are pretty much “L’s”).
Above: Here’s what they look like from behind (from a different shoot on a different day). But you can see how the “V” set-up keeps them standing in place. You can also see the seam (on her right) where you tape right down the seam with Gaffer’s tape.
Above: Here’s what the final images look like, fully lit with help from those V-flats.
Now, onto our source:
Above: I was taking my wife Kalebra and our daughter (we call her “Yittle”) for a day of artistic shopping fun to “Blick” — an awesome nationwide art supply store, and in the back of the store, I found this nice collection of foamboard, in solid white or black. This is a shot of the Blick in Tampa, Florida.
Above: Look at this! It’s the exact 4-foot x 8-foot sheets we’ve been dreaming of!!!
Above: The price for the 4-foot x 8-foot board isn’t bad — just $34.99 (and you’d need two of them), so $69.98 and you’ve got yourself a V-flat (although I showed using two — one on each side, in the examples above, I generally just use one unless I’m shooting full-length fashion, in which in some cases I build that “tunnel” with a V-flat on either side.
The official name of the store is “Dick Blick” (stop snickering) and to see if there’s one near you, head over to their official website (there are 65 stores in the US, so there might be one near you, unless you live in Texas, Oklahoma, a Dakota, or Alaska, or a few other midwestern states that are V-flat deprived).
Anyway, hope you found that helpful. :)