Learn how to make the light work for you

One thing about being into photography; you quickly realize that there’s a lot to learn from other photographers.

A subject that’s always challenged me has been the concept of making light work for me rather than forcing me to adapt to the demands of the light sources.

Learning from other photographers through their lighting diagrams has helped me better understand how a particular tool (reflector, barn doors, snoot, etc) should be used to get a specific result.

And recently, I found some things that let me work through the thinking exercise needed to create better-lit images.

OLDC1.jpgFree! Online! And with Community!
First up is this cool Online Lighting Diagram Creator (OLDC) tool and community.

The Online Lighting Diagram Creator is a simple drag-and-drop tool that lets you build a rough layout of your lighting setup.

I find this kind of tool valuable as it forces me to look at all the light sources that currently exist in the location, and consider adding elements to bounce or increase / decrease the light before I even get the gear out to make the image.

And once the diagram is finished, I can easily print out or email it to my iPad for reference when I get to setting up the shot.



I Mentioned community above, and that’s one of the key aspects of OLDC, the online photographic community.

In it, other photographers share their lighting diagrams and the resulting images created with that lighting setup — a great way to learn some new lighting tricks!



Moving off the desktop
Though if you want to work exclusively mobile — then check out Strobox — a free lighting diagram app for iPhone / iPod Touch (also works on iPad in compatibility mode).

Functionally it’s very similar to OLDC. Drag & drop layout works the same, and when you’re done, you can easily email the finished diagram or export it to your photo roll for sharing.

Forces you to think
These are very niche tools for a very specific application, but if you’re wanting to stretch your photographic chops a bit by studying other photographer’s use of light and lighting equipment, and maybe share your own setups, then these tools are a good starting point.

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