Lighting Diagram Software and Lighting Theory Lecture

On Tuesday 23rd April 2013, I went into uni and was greeted by a busy day with lots of thing to learn. We started off the day with a short tutorial taken by Matt Johnston on how to create a lighting diagram when looking at an image. We then had a lecture about Lighting Theory that was taken by Paul Smith, where he introduced to us a lot of different lighting techniques, who they were used by, and the connotations behind the lighting. Finally, to finish off our day, we were then split into three groups. My group, Group A, working with Paul doing an outside lighting workshop. All of the notes that I have taken throughout this busy day are shown below:


Dean Collins Video

  • “The Corporate Ladder”
  • Back lighting
  • Secondary strobe
  • Amber glow
  • Used a reflective meter
  • Three lights – behind, below, front side on right
  • He makes it sound very scientific but it can easily be recreated
  • Record everything that you do and to practice
  • Useful at this point if you are all sharing lighting diagrams – build up knowledge
  • Can’t always have a lighting diagram creator on set – Make good notes and sketches with what’s available

  • Launch the creator
  • Grid
  • Lighting objects on left hand side
  • Clearing the diagram and exporting found at top
  • Start off with a background
  • Click and drag to move objects
  • Put in the subject
  • Put in camera
  • Now bring in a light
  • Have to bring in the light before you bring in the soft box
  • Can rotate the objects by clicking on the arrows
  • Can take out the baffle to soften the light but this cannot be seen on the diagram
  • Export as a PNG = keeps most quality for printing
  • Can export as JPEG but decreases quality – okay for web
  • Open in photo shop and add text with camera and light settings, and distances
  • Whenever you’re making images and have made a lighting diagram, pair the diagram with the photo

Lighting Diagram Tutorial


  • SHOWstudio and Topshop video
  • Watch the video and write down a time where you wish you could recreate that image then try and decide how it was lit using
    • 0:17
    • 0:19
    • 0:25
    • 1:26
    • 2:05
    • 2:49 – I thought that the use of lighting at this particular time created a textured effect to the face which gave the beauty shot an abstract feel
    • 3:04
    • Nick Knight
    • Change the way we actually look at the video – apart from just looking at the story, you can look at other aspects like lighting
    • It will change you from being a passive viewer to an active viewer

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.49.26

Lightin Diagram for Video BLOG

  • 2 Cor. 4.6 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness
  • “The last judgment” painting
  • You also have to look at the colour
  • Philip-Lorca Dicorcia – male prostitute, showed through red lighting (red light district)

Philip-Lorca Dicorcia

  • The Kelvin Scale – Colour temperature chart
  • Can change the colour of the light by putting colour gels over the top of it – don’t put it too close to the bulb, it will melt
    • Clipping system in light-boxes
    • Can change colour by using reflector
  • Chrystel Lebas – Blue is obscurity becoming visible
    • Panoramic photo with very long exposure
    • Dog and wolf – the transition of light where the mythical creatures come out

Chrystel Lebas

  • Paul Smith – Throwing up in the toilet
    • Tungsten bulb
    • Looks like a real moment
    • Makes us feel sick – enhanced by the light

Paul Smith Make My Night

  • Andreas Serrano
    • Imersion – Piss Christ, 1987
    • Submerged the object in his own urine
    • Didn’t want to cause controversy over religion
    • Talking about commercialization over Christianity
    • Colour helps emphasize the meaning behind the image

Andreas Serrano

  • Tim & Sue
    • You have to work with shadows
    • Father was a taxidermist – created sculptures out of the thing he collected then projected a different shadow on the wall

Tim &Sue

  • Plato
    • The shadows were a metaphor for the incomplete and the flawed
    • The information that we are given through the shadows is far from the truth
  • Henry Peach Robinson
    • Fading Away – 1858
    • Used five different frames, all with different lighting to put together later in the darkroom using multiple printing
    • Contemplating the death of a partner or child
    • Must use a tripod

Henry Peach Robinson

  • Oscar Rejlander
  • Categories of light
    • Natural light
    • Blended light
    • Artificial light
  • Tom Hunter
    • Natural light coming from the window
    • Window connotation
    • Intimate moment
    • Inspired by Veneer painting

Tom Hunter

  • Erwin Olaf
    • Greif
    • Connotations of darkness and death

Erwin Olaf

  • Rineke Dijkstra
    • Mixture of natural daylight and flash
    • Eliminates contextual detail or minimizes it
    • Figure is in tight focus
    • Isolating the people

Rineke Dijkstra

    • Relationship between the background exposure and flash exposure
    • Get the exposure for the ambient
    • Take background exposure down a stop
    • Soft key light and back light
    • ISO 200
    • f/5.0
    • 1/125
  • Keep it simple – especially when you’re starting out
  • Skills will grow but it takes a while
  • Look at light diagram of Paul Smiths Bingo shot
    • Shot in a set of layers
    • Two large soft boxes
    • Gel lights x 3

Paul Smith Bingo

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto


Photo 1:

Photo 1 BLOG

Photo 1

Photo 2:

Photo 2 BLOG

Photo 2

Photo 3:

Photo 3 BLOG

Photo 3

Photo 4:

Photo 4

Photo 4 Photo