DIY V-flats

An inexpensive alternative to reflectors & backgrounds

I wanted to share a few different types of v-flats & give you some ideas for making your own. I paid about $100 for a reflector/ diffuser/ negative fill kit, which folds up nicely for travel & storage, & I do use it occasionally, but it is only about 4 feet across when open & I have to either have an assistant hold it or set up a stand that holds it. V-flats can be made to be quite large & will stand on their own. And frankly, they are just better at reflecting light in my opinion.

Getting your hands on some v-flats is not easy or cheap. They are difficult to find if you don’t live in a major city like New York or Los Angeles & can be pretty expensive to buy online. Additionally, the shipping is expensive.

Making your own v-flats is an inexpensive alternative & is a pretty quick & easy project.

I made my first v-flat with 2 pieces of polystyrene foam insulation boards from Lowe’s. They are 4 feet wide (8 feet wide if fully open), 8 feet tall & 2 inches thick. So when put together, it is quite sturdy. Each piece is about $20. I peeled the coating off of each side & painted one side of each on with black chalkboard paint. These stand well on their own. I have seen some photos & videos where people create sends for a single board & even put them on wheels with locks so they can be used as a make shift wall for posing.

My first DIY v-flats, pretty thick & sturdy, gaff taped all the edges

The next set I made, I used the same poly boards from Lowe’s, but in a thinner size-about a half inch. The intention was to have them be portable so I cut a few inches off the long side & about 1.5 feet off the short side so they would fit in my van easier. I painted this one grey-green on one side & green-gold on the other. This one is not as sturdy, but it stands fine on its own & it makes a nice background & is very portable.

My 2nd DIY v-flats, green-gold painted side

The next v-flat I made is my favorite. I got foam board/ foam core from Blick Art Supply in Tampa. Each board is about half an inch thick, 4 feet wide & 8 feet tall & very sturdy. These sheets run about $35-45 each. So 2 sheets of white & 2 sheets of black set me back around $165. I did ask for a discount because some edges & corners were slightly damaged. I think they gave me 10%. You don’t ask, you don’t receive, right? Still cheaper than purchasing a v-flat online & having it shipped. Although, transporting these myself was a bit of a trick. I have a mini-van & had to fold down all the 2nd & 3rd row seats & take the head rests off the back of the front row seats. (I don’t recommend doing this!) So, got those home, put them side by side, ran black gaff tape down the long edge of the black ones & white gaff tape down the long edge of the white ones. Quick & easy.

2 4×8 foot foam boards from Blick Art Supply- these are my favorite v-flats because they are thin & sturdy & were the easiest to make.

I keep getting requests to do corporate headshots on location & V-flats are so essential to me, but I don’t want to transport my big v-flats. So my next set was meant to be portable. I bought 4 sheets of black ($8.99 each) & 4 sheets of white ($5.99 each) foam board at Hobby Lobby that measure about 32 inches by 40 inches. They were also 40% off. I gaff taped all 4 pieces together & they make approximately 3 x 6 foot panels folded. Then I can fold again for storage & transport. The tricky part with these is getting them to fold down flat but yet still be sturdy enough to stand on their own. Mine are not folding down completely flat, but it’s enough to get them out of the way & fit in my van easily. I might cut them apart & see if I can get them taped in a way that will fold flatter & yet still stand up on their own when open. I will post an update if I get this accomplished.

v-flats that fold up & fit in your car for traveling to on-location shoots

So in summary, v-flats are one of photographers’ most useful tools, and while they are difficult to source, you can make your own very easily with products that are inexpensive & easy to find locally.

There are some great how to videos on YouTube for making various kinds. Post your questions in the comments & any suggestions you might have regarding v-flats. Check out my video for a little more detail & please subscribe!

video of the different v-flats that I have made

Portrait Photography | Mother-Daughter

Capture the relationship with your mother

Mother. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mum. Mummy. Matriarch.

There are many words for mother. It is quite interesting to me that children tend to choose their own affectionate title for their mother. My mother called her mother “mama.” I always called my mother “mom.” One of my sons calls me “mom” & the other calls me “mama.” I never instructed them on what to call me. And I call my mother-in-law “mom” too. I would love to hear what you call your mom & what your kids call you! (Put it in a comment below!)

Have you ever had a photoshoot with your mom? Or better yet, have you ever gifted her a photoshoot? These are one of my favorite kinds of photoshoots to do. Especially featuring multiple generations of women. I have been known to talk a mom in to getting in to a few photos with their daughter when the daughter is who I am actually photographing.

A makeover photoshoot with your mom is a perfect gift. And it is even more cherished when daughters & granddaughters join in. I can promise that those photographs will be cherished memories as long as she lives. And when she is gone, you will have beautiful memories of her. You will have so much fun getting your hair & makeup done & playing dress up together!

Gainesville, FL family portrait featuring 3 generations portrait, grand-mother, mother & daughter.
Family generation portrait featuring 3 genreations- grand-mother, mother & daughter, Gainesville, FL
mother daughter portrait
Mother – Daughter portrait, Gainesville, FL
image of mother & 2 daughters in blended mixed race family
Mother with 2 daughters, Gainesville, FL

A mother is a daughter’s first best friend.


All photoshoots at Tuscawilla Photography include styling advice, hair & makeup & access to a fun wardrobe. I offer a discount for additional people. To book a photoshoot for your mom or with your mom please call me! 352-327-8650

Gainesville Photographer | Portrait Makeover

What is Contemporary Glamour Photography?

You remember the glamour shots of the late 1980’s & early 1990’s right? You know, the overly softened, big hair & poppin’ your leather jacket collar portraits. Most of us probably have them hidden under the bed now. Did you know that glamour style portraits are making a come back – worldwide?! But this time, they have a more refined & timeless look that will flatter every woman. Think of Vanity Fair magazine covers. (Google that!)

My own Glamour Shot (circa 1994) Gainesville, FL
Modern glamour portrait, Gainesville, FL

So what is modern glamour photography? Glamour photography focuses on the beauty of the person being photographed. It is not the same as fashion photography, which focuses on the clothes & accessories. It involves hair & makeup, wardrobe, lighting & poses that flatter the subject. It’s about making all women feel beautiful. And you can have that experience right here in Gainesville!

Why should you book a glamour portrait session with Tuscawilla Photography? To celebrate YOU! Are you graduating from high school? Are you going to have a baby soon? Have you reached a major milestone or had a big change in your life? Do you want to have beautiful memories of your children? Do you want legacy family portraits done? Do you want to have portraits of or with your pet? Maybe you need updated headshots? There are so many reasons to capture this time of you & your loved ones. And this is the perfect time to be treated like a model & have beautiful magazine style portraits of yourself!

When you book a session with Tuscawilla Photography, you will feel like a model for the day! All of my sessions include styling advice, hair & makeup & access to a fun wardrobe with clothes for all sizes. It is so much fun! I will pose & light you in the most flattering way. I want to take the most beautiful photographs of you that you have ever seen! Come play dress up with me!

The love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contact me today to book your session & tell me why & how you want to be photographed!