Online Lighting Diagram Site is a Top Food Photography Lighting Tool

Photographers need tools. They should be jealous of writers, who only need to tote around pen and paper to craft their art. Some even lose themselves in the never-ending slew of new products and technologies. The reality is you need tools and you need creativity. Finding a balance between the two is of utmost importance. Here is an amazing free tool you can use online that will help you hone in your lighting skills and get creative ideas.

Empty Photography Studio
A potentially intimidating professional photography studio.

How can I improve my food photography lighting?

This is a big question that we cover quite a lot. There are numerous food photography lighting tools. Each topic is full of minutiae, from strobes to light meters, everyone has endless opinions and technical details. But, there is also a free digital tool that everyone should try out: The Online Lighting Diagram Creator (OLCD). It gives you a way to learn from yourself and others, or even teach. Many photographers may struggle in a studio setting, not quite sure how to arrange the strobes and reflectors. There also could be a lot of pressure if you rented the studio, or a big client is paying for your time there. So, let’s find out how you can be confident and quick, impressing everyone.

Lighting Diagram Creator Main Screen
Online Diagram Creator main screen.

How OLCD works

When you arrive at the website, click “creator” in the menu bar. You should see the screen pictured above. When you hover over items in the main screen, you can rotate, move, or delete them. The left-hand side is full of objects you can add to the diagram, such as softboxes, reflectors, and continuous lighting. You can even change the subject and indicate when colored gels were used. It is extremely intuitive and easy to use. Exporting diagrams is simple. To better maintain the quality use PNG format, although JPEG is available as well.

Example Lighting Diagram Hamburger
Example diagram, cheeseburger not included in free version.

Take notes of your lighting schemes

Food photographers are artists, and, well, some artists really have trouble being organized. If this is you, maybe you have numerous pages of notes about what you have shot in the studio, but rarely review it to learn. The Online Lighting Diagram Creator gives you an easy way to create a digital archive of lighting setups. Imagine you took a few shots to expand your portfolio some months ago and now a client wants you to give them that same look. Without relying on luck, that cheeseburger will be lit the exact same way…if you have your notes. The right food photography lighting tools will make your job easier.

Strobox Lighting Diagram Robert Julien
Strobox Lighting Diagram from Robert Julien.

Learn from real examples or show off your own

There is another section on the OLCD website where the diagrams are put to use. They have teamed up with another great online resource, Strobox, to show real-life examples of studio lighting with intricate diagrams. Something really interesting is that many great shots on this platform were taken with just one lighting source. This can be a good reminder that you don’t need to think too big in order to get started.

In the example above, exposure details and the lights used are listed. As you can see, there is just one strobe on the top-right. All this information is completely free and shows how powerful this food photography lighting tool really is. An expert photographer sharing their lighting techniques could find these diagrams illustrate their techniques better than words. It’s just like the old expression goes, “a free online lighting diagram is worth a thousand words”. Or something like that…



Resources for Food Creatives

Looking for a mentor, boast of inspiration, technical know-how, or a way to organize your creative work better? Look no further. At Phoode we are always keeping an eye out for valuable online creative resources for food photographers and beyond. From photographic collections and forums to lighting examples and apps, there’s so much out there. We take it upon ourselves to curate the most useful ones for you.