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Online Lighting Diagram Creator for photographers

Photography lighting diagrams made easy with this online tool: use the drop down menus, select objects, drag them, rotate them, change their layers then export your diagram to JPEG or save its URL.

v3 beta is now public  with iPad support, it includes ability to add notes.

Select an image set and objet to add:

Online Lighting Diagram Creator by QHphotography.com

Your donation is greatly appreciated.

Your project: (project name, book title, website, blog etc...)
Select Your Currency:  

A minimum donation of $10 USD is asked for each commercial project (except the use on a photographer website, blog or gallery). For more detail please contact me .

The Online Lighting Diagram Creator is a personal project that requires a lot of resources to be developed and maintained. But I believe in the strength of a community when everyone contributes to the knowledge of the group that is why I want to make this tool available free of charge to all non-commercial projects.

If you use the OLDC and are happy with it, I'd love if you would consider donating. Donations help keep the updates coming, pay for hosting, and help pay for the time spent maintaining and improving the tool. Donations are entirely voluntary but are greatly appreciated.

Known issues :

  • You can now export to JPEG and generate a URL that allows you to bookmark your diagram.
  • The tool have some display problem on IE6 due IE's PNG bug, but the JPEG export should work fine. Firefox's bug with moving objects by dragging them is solved by adding a "move" icon, dragging it will make FireFox not sticking the object when the mouse button is released.
  • On IE8, be sure to click on the Compatibility button next to the URL field at the top of the browser. This will reload the page and allow you to move the various camera/flash/bg icons onto the worksheet (John Matthieu).


Thank you for commenting

Thanks all for the recent comments. And sorry for the delay approving them. This site is receiving a lot of spams…

@Dan Donovan. Good idea. This is noted.

@Alexander John. You can use the diagrams on your own website, as long it is part of a content publicly available. Credits are optional but very much appreciated. Just link back to this website.

@Grum. Thanks for the suggestion. This could be added in the Creator v3 in a next release.

@Amy Barnard. Thanks for the nice words. Donations what they are, just donations. They just contribute to paying expenses related to keeping this tool online. But even $1 can be helpful. But giving a nice comments is also another way to donate (to the mind).

@VIVI. lo siento, esto no es posible. Esto es demasiado complicado para este proyecto. Usted puede intentar otra herramienta aquí, el estudio virtual de iluminación: http://www.zvork.fr/vls/

@George Delgado. Please use the Creator v3. There is a text tool.

@Sam. Please try the Creator v3.

Ability To Draw

I would really like the ability to draw elements of the diagram. For instance, when I scout a location of a commercial shoot, I would like to draw elements of that location. Then I would add the objects to complete the diagram.

Also, I checked out the note creator on the iPad version. It would be ideal if the there was no background color behind the notes. This way just the text would be visible and not the box.

Thank you so much for your hard work on the diagram creator. I will be a paying customer with just the ability to draw!

Wow, this is wonderful. I have a quick question.

Can you use the diagrams that you make on your website?

Do you have to give you guys credit? If yes? How?

This is an amazing learning tool! This will be perfect to teach my readers!



end-user objects

In order to save yourself having to second guess every object that people want to see in these diagrams, how about providing a basic set of scalable and distortable block shapes that people can use to make their own objects.
Perhaps these could then be saved to a public library even...


I can only say that it is very useful that's clear is fashion photographer in Bucharest Romania and helped me test sami studio lights thanks

Amazing Tool

I am currently a student at Brooks Institute, and for the first time a lighting diagram was needed for a project. We will need to do them for every assignment from now on. I had no idea how to get started and when I googled "lighting diagram creator," your site popped up. I am sooooo grateful and excited about using this tool. It's user friendly and so much fun to work with. I look forward to using it as a student and in the future as a professional. Thank you so much for the effort you've put into creating such a wonderful tool, and for allowing non-commercial photographers to use it for free. I will be happy to make donations any time I use this for a job I'm getting paid for.


queria saber si existe la posibilidad de ver el posible resultado en la fotografia segun la iluminacion utilizada estilo boceto de la posible fotografia.

Lighting Diagram Creator

A text Tool would be a great addition to note meter readings and other details as well as general commentary


This has been a very handy tool through out my studies at university, however there is one thing; The light sources are quite big and makes the diagram hard to read. The p70's or bowls are massive and the beauty dishes are far too big. Just some feed back other then that its an awesome tool.

automobiles and airplanes

For an upcoming project I will be photographing people in automobiles and airplanes.

Is there any way I can illustrate the layout of various vehicle interiors? And the seating designs / layouts?

It seems much of the design of this software assumes photographs will be created in a studio, not on location.

Thank you.

Terry Thomas
Director of Photography
Atlanta, Georgia USA

Great tool


This is a great tool. I had another site in my bookmarks but it is no longer active. Plus it used annoying drop down menus, whereas you can see yours and just click on the item you want. You have more items to chose from too.

What would be a great addition is a product table, or one of your back-drops without the stands made smaller. as the one we use at tech is white perspex and resembles your curved backdrops.

Thanks for the great Tool, i will be using it a lot for my assignments.

Cheers Tony

Lighting Diagrams

This is a very interesting program but for me, it would be more useful if it would simulate the results based on light output, type of modifier used and placement. However I realize this would require a lot more programing but that would be awesome!

I noticed that the strip lights remain horizontal instead of being able to rotate them vertically.

Need more furnitures

Great work. but this may need more furnitures such as beds, tables... etc. also curtains and windows would be nice addition too..

I can learn a little more

Very good tools to "we" had no way to learn in "Institutions, School or participate in training" and a poc ENFORMA intuitive and reading books, magazines, but what you "give" helps us to understand more the Meanwhile photography technique.
I encuentroa height conocimientosde many of you, peroagradezco to be watching and learning the "world"
from Argentina
Atte. Aldo


Super herramienta! los estudiantes entienden mucho mas con los diagramas y los diferentes accesorios.
felicitaciones y gracias por aportar tanto a la academia, ademas que para nuestrao trabajo diario es perfecto.


I love being able to use this tool its really fun as well as helpful for me in learning photography, who knew it could be soooooo fun!! :D

great job!!!


Lo que necesitaba

Para los que estamos iniciando el camino de la fotografia tener de donde aprender es indispensable. gracias!!

Lighting Diagram Creator

This works OK in chrome.

After the bugs are out and suggestions implemented, I'd have a freebie and a paid version (obviously with more wiz-bang) so that you development time is compensated.

Good Luck - Great Work.

Great idea -- but needs improvement

Thank you for all your hard work on this wonderful tool. But may I suggest a couple of bug fixes and possible improvements.

1 -- In Safari, the "Clear the Diagram" button doesn't work -- please fix!

2. -- Is it possible for each photographer to create and then store some basic set-ups as pre-sets? Not all, but many lighting set-ups I use are essentially variations of certain basic studio and location arrangements, and having these as custom presets, i.e., as starting points, with the appropriate array of lights, reflectors, etc. already there would speed diagram creation in those cases.

2. -- The green arrows that adjust the angle of objects are good -- but would be better yet if they allowed finer control of the exact angle.

3 -- The ability to scale the size of the subjects, reflectors. and other icons would be extremely useful.

I realize you've tried to provide a variety of icons to indicate large and small softboxes. But you have not yet done so for reflectors -- and I have many different size reflectors, ranging from two-inch table-top reflectors for food and product shots to a 6 x 6 foot silver/white reflector for group shots. The menu of lighting objects you've provided is already getting so crowded as to be hard to use. I suggest providing some basic icons with the ability for each user to scale them larger and smaller by clicking and dragging on a size control tab for each object, similar to the other control tools that already come with the objects

4 -- And as other have noted, the ability to add notes would be great -- but perhaps you can do that in the Photoshop version. which I haven't tried yet.

5 -- Also, I'd love it if you could select an object from the menu and then simply drag it into position onto the diagram. The way it is now: first, you have to click on the menu item; then move your cursor onto where the icon appears at upper left on diagram; and then from there move the icon into its final position. Wouldn't it be faster, easier and more efficient to simply drag it off the menu and position it in one simple movement?

6 -- Maybe it's a glitch in Safari, or maybe I just missed something obvious, but once I clicked an object's "switch layer level" button, I sort of lost control of it and couldn't figure out how to access the different layers. Am I doing something wrong? Or do I have to go into Photoshop to get to the layers?

7. -- After I add a snoot icon to a speedlight icon, there ought to be some way to join these two icons together on the diagram so I can move move them together as one unit, and in that way can more quickly modify the diagram to reflect different positioning during a shoot. I'd also like to see individual icons for barndoors, various size grid spots, and other common modifiers I put on my speedlights and monolights

One can think of other similar icon combinations -- umbrellas with monolights, for example -- that should be join-able on the diagram. Again, this may be possible with the layer function, which I may have not understood.

In any event, thank you!


Thanks for the post about the tool.
Also to let you know that you can use the free picture editing software coming from the Linux world: GIMP. GIMP is able to open PSD files and used combined with the online tool you could do a screen capture and add comments etc... to it

iPhone App

If you decide to create the iPhone app, please let me know. For one I'd buy it, and I would love to help you with the usability for it. Great product! Thanks for sharing!


Awesome resource...my photography and video students just love it.


Felicidades!!!!!!!!!!! Una gran idea.

Amazing, but...

This is absolutely amazing, a real time saver. My one complaint is that, unless I've missed it, there isn't any kind of ring flash icon. This would be a cool addition.


this app is really useful, but it would be even better if you could make diagrams from the side (like when you look at it normaly) not just from above. it helps understanding the placement of your sources in 3D space, especially the heights of your equipments!!
keep up the good work !

New idea.. probably been asked for already.


love this app its great. One suggestions for an improvement it would be great if you could annotate the power of each flash in stops.

Keep up the good work.

Kind regards.

Lighting Lesson

Thank you for sharing this valuable lessons in lighting. I learnt a lot. Now, I know how to take an image in a studio.

lighting diagram


This is great, really good, however, I can't get mine to save all of my diagram. Sometimes it saves nothing, others only a little. Why is this?


Please can we have a grid added, maybe a couple of types of grid, big squares and small squares.
Thank you


Very coool tool!!!
Thanx for sharing!



could you please add a Grid to the creator. I wanted to to a diagram where I used a grid but I could not find one.

Thank you


iPhone app

I love this flash app and have been using for some of my stuff! The other day a buddy of mine and I thought why not to make something for iPhone. So, for some that might be interested, there is also another alternative on iPhone called Strobox that you can create lighting diagrams with. You can check it out more on http://app.strobox.com . Hope this helps some of you as well!

Lighting Diagrams

I am a senior photography student a Troy University in Troy, Alabama and I am very impressed with your lighting diagram application that you have. All of my portfolios must have lighting diagrams with them and this makes things so much easier and faster than having to draw them. Thank you for making this, it is greatly appreciated!

Kathryn Lindley



I just found this site will surfing the net. Great initiative.
I would love to use this kind of tool for other projects (home decor).


Iphone/Iphone touch

I would really like to see a app for the iphone. I am sure some of us would be willing to buy it.

Downwards pointing icons

Brilliant ! This is going to be great for documenting classes at our local photo club.
How about some icons for modifiers pointing downwards ? eg top view of a beauty/raster ?


Im too lazy to see if this has been suggested before, there should be an option to add notes to each item and notes in blank areas.
im sure that has been suggested before.

I made a small donation, thanks for taking the time to create this invaluable tool.


dotted lines

It would be handy if one could choose what part to photograph with a dotted line; ie subject in the centre, wide/narrow angle, subjext to the side, etc.


Great initiative. A lot of us needed something like this. Its really easy to keep track of your lighting now. :)

Thanks for your feedback

Thanks all for your feedback.

I'm currently busy with the two other versions of the downloadable diagram sheets (different color schemes) and the community part of this website. All requested new features will be reviewed and implemented when possible.
Please note that this project is handle by only one person, so be patient :-)

Lighting Diagram

This is Great. I would like to see this developed more to add more Commercial photo studio applications.
I would love the ability to add soft boxes, umbrellas etc.
Did I say that this is Great? I look forward to see where you go with this.



Car - prop/subject

Would it be possible to have a car as part of the models?

Nice job on this one!

Great idea and great job on this. Makes everyone work look more pro this way.
Keep it up!


I use FireFox and had no trouble using and dragging objects. Everything worked fine for me. It is a great and very useful program. Nice job!

Lighting Diagram

It does not work with IE 8.


I am unable to drag the objects to there position. Am I stupid?

Background Suggestion

Consider adding a cyc corner background? No rush. Just add to list if it appeals.
Were there V-Flat reflectors? I was going fast.

Thanks for this. Nice thinking and nice work.

Compatibility with IE 8

Someone already commented that items will not drag in IE8. I found this to be true as well. The work around is to turn on IE8's "compatibility View" feature. (It's the button that look like a broken/torn sheet next to the address bar.)

Looks great. Keep up the good work.


Terrific tool

Could you make it possible to

1) size up/down the symbols

2) have continuous rather than step-wise symbol rotation

Thanks so much

Overall Usefullnes

Absolutely brilliant! In order of overall usefulness:
1) Sliced bread
2) Strobist Website
3) Lighting Diagram Creator

Overall Usefulness

Absolutely brilliant! In order of overall usefulness:
1) Sliced Bread
2) Strobist Website
3) Lighting Diagram Creator

Thanks A Lot!

i am pleased to use this. simple and i think will help me and my hobbyist friends arrange and plan some shoot!
thanks a lot for doing this. will check regularly for updates!

Drag Failed

Objects would not drag in IE 8.0.6001.18702

Reflector Rotation

From my point of view this could be the most useful tool on the Internet! Great work, thank you.

The only feature that I found lacking when doing basic layouts was the ability to rotate reflectors in another plane. For example I wanted to lay a reflector flat on the floor and point a speedlight down at it.

Thanks again, Paul.


great thing-----

happy greatings from germany


I liked it, but my suggestion is to add measures, or a little tool for measure distance between elements.

diagram comment

When diagrams must be published quite small, complicated details can be hard to read. For instance the detail of the lights on stands and the umbrellas are not the same style of drawings as the softboxes. Continuity. I often give lighting seminars, and have found the simpler, the better. I'd like to see sizing of units (as has already been commented), and also grids, barn doors, single flats, etc. I don't understand your lighting types. Lots of people use hot lights, small flashes or mono lights. Perhaps it would be helpful to distinguish among those. I also would not mind having to label lights for type and output, if the drawing were totally generic.


Would it not be an idea to show what type of umbrella is in use by arrows indicate what happens to the light ?

for example,
you can use a straight arrow to show light going through the umbrella (shoot thru)
and different arrow to show light being bounced back.

Silver arrow indicates a silver surface reflecting light, gold a gold surface e.t.c.

Great tool - it's an honour to know you !

Re: Item resizing

One of the reasons I have not done the resizing is because some images are already very small and I got them as bitmaps and not vectors. So I'm not sure that the quality will be there. And I need to create a tool for the rotating/resizing process.
But I will consider this for future versions of the tool.

Item resizing

I found item resizing to be the the only feature missing from your application. You could do this in predefined steps, the same way you have done for item rotation.

Great job. Thank you for offering back to the community.


It would be great to have a PNG export feature as opposed to JPEG, since PNGs are lossless and optimized for this sort of thing. Great tool overall; I'm sure it'll come in handy.

Great job, great tool

Hey thanks for this great tool and the reference on the Strobist Flickr page. I really enjoyed using the tool to recreate a simple lighting setup. As a beginner, it's really useful in helping me to flesh-out lighting ideas and then share it with others.

Things to be added, if I may:
- more surfaces, a la' tabletops, counters, etc.
- more subjects/objects like vases, cups & mugs, cats, dogs, fruit, etc.

But otherwise this is an excellent tool, especially the export to JPEG feature - fantastic.

Thanks again, keep up the good work!!

Thank you

Thanks guys for your comments and very interesting suggestions.
I will add those ASAP.

@Gerard. More props will be added too. But for testing the light as seen by camera will not be possible. This would be having an online 3D rendering engine in PHP which is far from being my skill.

More props

Great tool, congratulations!!!

But, what about tables and other stuffs like glasses, bottles, etc. to do product (merchandising) photography?

And it would be grate if at the end after setting up lights and others you can "test" how the lighting would appear at the camera.

So long, thanks.

Diagrams Database

Great tool. Next step would have a Knowledge database, where we could share with others the setups that works for us with examples.

Something like the JPG export button but called Database (or something similar), then appear a simple form asking some questions (name, used for, sample image, ...). And for complete the feature list a search tool and comments/votes from other users.

Best wishes,

Feature Request

Great looking tool!
It would be great if we could see the images of all of the objects off on the side. I guess I'm used to Visio and other such tools.




My only suggestion is to add "sun" and "cloudy" to the list of lighting possibilities for folks who shoot outside.


Lighting Diagram Creator

This is a great tool.

It would be fantastic if you could add a black reflector and the ability to add text for labelling :-)



Hi Huy

Fantastic market niche you have found, love it already!

Just my £0.02:
I think you shall consider to fix the few minor bugs, make it available on a clean dedicated website and add find a good domain name. You should be all set to rule the world of lighting diagrams soon :) Once it became the standard for most strobits out there, you get paid back e.g. via the targeted google ads you have on that site (similar to Strobist).

On the long run, maybe allow different diagram sizes and ultimately save/load existing diagrams. Have fun!

PS: I have not forgotten (a) about the London strobist meetups, (b) the Cambridge strobist meetup we discussed at the Strobist seminar recently and (c) the charity photo project we discussed. However, until end of September I am rather busy finishing of my PhD work, so not much will happen until then. But I am still interested to invite you guys over to Cambridge for a city and strobist tour and I'd love to join some of your meetups in London.

All the best,

Re: Mics

Nice idea Andreas.
I've put it in the todo list.


adding different kind of microphones would aid us sound engineers a whole lot. see, we tend to plot our recordings in a similar way, but havent had any proper tools.

a great initiative i must say!

Debuging script

Hi Suzy,
Thanks so much for the offer. The scripts in used are described in the changelog, there is a link in this page.
But unfortunately I have to take this tool down for a little moment as Kevin does not allow me to use his PSD content.
In the mean time here are the direct links to the javascript on my website:
Javascript control library:

Mover Behaviour library that uses the JCL for moving DIV objects

My own lib using the above ones:

Which javascript libs?

can i ask which javascript lib's and scripts you are using?
i might be able to help you smooth out those bugs.


Great tool!

I think this is great. My only suggestions would be #1 the addition of a text boxes or a way to add text. Such as this strobe is 4' from the subject at a 45, or subject is 5' from backdrop. #2 the addition of a title or project. #3 a way to print or save as a file. Like I said great job and good luck.

A hit in the making

This works OK in chrome.

After the bugs are out and suggestions implemented, I'd have a freebie and a paid version (obviously with more wiz-bang) so that you development time is compensated.

Good Luck - Great Work.

I Like It!

This is a really good idea. I would even go as far as to suggest that something like this could be a "standard" used to document strobist info. Here are a few things we still need (pretty please):

- some from of container into which comments/documentation can be added
- an export/print function
- something to capture the image and upload to flickr
- save/edit/store????

Otherwise this is a fabulous tool. Thanks for your considerable efforts.

Don Kennedy
Mind Designs Inc.