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How to use negative fill light in photography?

What is a negative fill light? Abbreviation for “neg fill”, it gives photographers the opportunity to add a little contrast to their photos before post-production. Actually, “fill” is just a way to soften the contrast between your subject and the background.

Because it may prevent light from entering or reflecting back into the picture, it can be utilized to increase contrast at any moment. You can use it to add darkness and shadows to your subject and background, and even highlight the edges of your subject against the monochrome background.

If you’re eager to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right site. We will explain how to use it.

Fill light vs negative fill light

Choose a helpful video light

A suitable video light can make you do more with less when using negative fill for lighting. The ideal one is beneficial to set a favorable mood and tone, capture a pleasing shot, and ensure that you can actually see what you want to see.

Negative fill light, a kind of video light, is a significant component of modern photography due to the vast dynamic range and great light sensitivity of digital cameras, which make it equally vital to remove light as to add it. That is to say, it is often used for indoor and outdoor shooting.

If you want to record a video or capture a portrait, an excellent gadget is one of the most crucial elements for you, maybe even more crucial than your camera setup.

Grab a gadget, including a dimming LED light or bi-color LED light, and you will find that variable color temperature allows you to access more options in various scenes. That will help you make it easier to control it.

Shoot in softer lighting

Numerous difficulties arise while capturing images in harsh lighting, which is why many photographers steer clear of it. In order to get the best results, use a soft light, like COLBOR CL60, and shoot in less strong lighting, even if you may use the shadows created to create negative fill lighting.

As previously said, it is heavily reliant on screening out excessive light. You may end up with something that resembles a cloud on a cloudy day.

Move your subject closer to the light-blocking object

You may still utilize V-flats if you snap pictures outside. But not every situation calls for them, and you might not want to carry them everywhere. If one of these situations applies to you, think about bringing your subject closer to a light-blocking object.

For instance, you may want to consider relocating your subject next to a tree if you're in a park. Moving the subject you wish to capture adjacent to a building is another option.Negative fill light

Add with auxiliary materials

One of the challenges in shooting is to make proper use of the fill light. When there’s just too much light to manage and you don’t have enough high power lights to counteract the sun, you can equip your device with the use of a flag, sheet, floppy, etc.

Auxiliary materials for your light




Applicable Scene



Diffuse the light

Indoor or outdoor photography

Red / Green

Take down the intensity of light


Completely block the light



The shadows get darker as the V-flat gets closer to the object, or vice verse.

Along with the negative fill to avoid light sandwiches

Still shooting like product, model, portrait or food photography



Add more natural and artificial light into your subject by bouncing surrounding source

Indoor or outdoor photography



A better luminosity to directly augment the light and the contrast without distorting the colors

Still life, objects, and portrait


Warm up the images

Still life, portraits, and model photography


Create a even and flattering hues and preserve natural colors

Macro photography


Create dark effects by blocking unwanted light and eliminating reflections

Dramatic mood


Adapted for soft light, diffuses direct light and eliminate shadows

Can be set up before studio lamp, spotlight, or the sun

Use post-production software

It is important to master these negative fill lighting techniques, but you are better off getting the light right when snapping the shot outside. However, if you don’t obtain the camera fill light when shooting, you can always change how your photograph appears and create the mood and tones in post-production.

After you've uploaded your photographs to your computer, open the editing software that you choose. Once the software has loaded, you may adjust the contrast, shadows, and exposure to achieve the desired effects.

Compared to other concept in photography like color temperature, negative fill light is less well-known. Nevertheless, if you know how to utilize it properly, you can significantly improve the quality of your photographs and make your subjects stand out against the background.