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Share your lighting setups by using lighting diagrams

If you are among the photographers that use lighting and like to share their techniques, you will probably describe your lighting setups for a particular photograph. But writting a description of a lighting setups is better if illustrated by a lighting diagram: one diagram is worth thousand words! Actually a lighting diagram can even save you typing a long description.

But drawing (by hand or with softwares like Illustrator) is maybe not your cup of tea. So one solution is to use ready-to-use lighting diagrams methods

One of the method is to use a template file containing a set of icons representing photographics objects (camera, umbrella, strobes...) and build your diagram from there. It is usually a PSD file with each object in a single layer. You then just need to hide/unhide a layer, duplicate it, rotate/move it to create your diagram.

A second method, which is more practical and does not require any software installation, is to use an online lighting diagram creator/editor.

There is a very good article about the methods described above on the DIYPhotography.net blog, you can find a direct link to the article at the end of this post. So I'm not going to retype a duplicate.

After reading that article, I started to download the PSD from Kevin Kertz which is of an amazing quality and available for free for non-commercial usage. But I found it not practical to create a lighting diagram from a PSD as this means I need a software that reads PSD files every time I want to create a diagram and I'm not always in front of my own computer for that. Then using the PSD is easy: moving, hiding, duplicating objects are straightforward but then rotating is a bit less practical.

So I was googling for some open source diagram editors that allows you to use your own set of images. But there are none and most of them are for workflow, network... without rotation feature...There are 2 online lighting diagram editors using Flash mentionned in the article from the DIY Photography blog mentions an online editor and its comments from a reader. Both are really cool, but they lack of objects and not as nice as the ones from Kevin.

I ended up starting to develop my own online tool. Not being a great Flash developer, I decided to use DHTML/Ajax technologies using some open source javascript libraries and adding my own.

Kevin's PSD being released for free for non-commercial use, I thought that it would be OK to use it on my tool as I will be relasing it for non-commercial use as well. So when the useable beta was finished I was excited and announce it to the community. But to be sure and to the respect of the author, I've contacted Kevin to ask him permission, unfortunately it was not approved and I had to take the tool down until I could find a new source of icons.

One photographer on the Strobist Flickr Group's did react quickly and sent me his own PSD allowing me to bring my tool back on track on the same night. You might already know Don Giannatti, if not have a look at his wonderful work. This was the start of a new vision of the Online Lighting Diagram Creator. It now can use multiple image set to enrich the list of photographic object available. The tool can even be used for sound engineering setup diagrams. If you have any other ideas of how this tool can be used, please let me know in the comments below.

At the moment the lighting diagram tool is only working for Firefox/Opera/Safari and will struggle with IE (it is reported to work OK on IE8). You cannot save or print the diagrams so please make a screenshot and crop down in your favorite image editing software. Udi from the DIYPhotography.net blog suggest Pearl Crescent Page Saver extension for Mozilla Firefox to do the screenshots.

No more blabla, here is a link to the Online Lighting Diagram Creator


Free Lighting diagrams software

You can find here:
A free software to create, print, save, reload, export in JPG diagrams for Lighting in studio photography.
it is for information

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