Tools for Creating Lighting Diagrams - Appendices - Creative flash photography : great lighting with small flashes: 40 flash workshops (2014)

Creative flash photography : great lighting with small flashes: 40 flash workshops (2014)

Part III. Appendices

Appendix B. Tools for Creating Lighting Diagrams

If you spend a lot of time creating lighting setups, find a way to record them. The simplest way is to use a notebook and pencil, but there are many technology tools that make the job easier, whether you are working on a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Digital lighting setups are perfect for uploading to your blog or sharing with others. This appendix introduces some of the powerful tools on the market and lists their strengths and weaknesses.

You may initially choose a tool based on the appearance of the diagrams and ease of use. However, if you plan to publish your setups commercially or on your blog, find out if the tool allows it. The licensing details discussed in the following sections were correct when this book was printed, but check to see if the information is current before you use a tool.

The big advantage of online tools is they often have communities that are dedicated to improving its functionality, and users exchange diagrams and ideas.


▸ This software is browser based and also runs on iPad.

▸ You can use the product free of charge for blogs, webzines, and private websites. The Sylights team asks that you contact them if you want to use the product commercially. I was allowed to use Sylights for free in this book. For more information, please contact olivier.

▸ I thoroughly recommend this product. Text boxes and other features are planned for the next version. There is a large community with many sample setups.

Many thanks to Olivier and the whole Sylights team for their kind support and the use of their fantastic product for this book.


Lighting Diagram

▸ This tool is browser based.

▸ The product is free for private use. There is a $2 charge per high-resolution diagram that is used for commercial purposes.

▸ It has great-looking symbols, is easy to use, and is not too expensive. The symbols cannot be scaled, although this functionality is in the product development pipeline.

▸ There is a relatively large community with plenty of sample setups.


GPL Lighting Symbols

You can download this tool from the German website by entering “lighting symbols” in the search box. (Note that though this is a German website, this is just to download a zipped Photoshop file that anyone who has Photoshop can use.)

▸ There is a symbol collection for use in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements layers.

▸ The product has a GPL license and is for personal use only. For commercial use, please contact

▸ This is my own collection of symbols, which is in continual development. The big advantage of the Photoshop-based approach is that it’s really easy to mix the symbols with other objects.


Kevin Kertz’s Diagram Set

▸ These diagrams are designed for use in Photoshop layer stacks.

▸ The symbols are for personal use only.

▸ Kevin Kertz explicitly denies users the right to publish his symbols (in books, magazines, etc.) and there is no commercial license.


Lighting Diagram Creator

▸ This product is browser based.

▸ The cost is $10 per commercial project; private use is free. A high-resolution PSD file that contains the complete set of symbols is available for $150.

▸ The software works in conjunction with Strobox ( There are plenty of symbols, but it has a fairly rudimentary look.

The following three websites offer lighting diagrams and symbols that are useful but not as powerful as those already listed:

▸ Photo Diagrams:

▸ Photo Studio Buddy (for Android):