Keep a Lighting File, Version 2.0

Back in Lighting 101 I wrote about the importance of keeping a lighting file. And having made the jump to the iPhone, keeping a lighting file is now way easier -- and more accessible.

Hit the jump for more on this -- and two iPhone apps that are great for location shooters.

Now that the 3G is out and I have (finally) taken the plunge, I will no longer have to put up with every other photographer I know telling me to get one of these things.

Alright, already, you guys were right -- it is made for photographers. I considered the idea of putting my portfolio on the phone, then ditched it in favor of uploading several different versions of my portfolio. That way, I can immediately choose which set of photos are best suited for the person who is about to see them.

In addition, I have merged the lighting file into something I have labeled as an "inspiration folder". It's filled with my favorite shots from guys like Dan Winters, Gregory Heisler and Peter Yang, along with a few dozen of my absolute favorites from the Strobist reader gallery.

I come across ideas that I want to save all of the time. Recently, I have started shooting them right into the iPhone with the built-in camera. This, of course, sticks them right into your camera roll along with all of the blurred photos of the cat snapped by your kids between games of JawBreaker. (Okay, I am addicted to that one, too.)

As smooth as he iPhone interface is, iTunes won't let you treat the camera roll as an accessible image folder as far as I can tell. But if you launch iPhoto (which I normally hate) while the phone is attached, it'll let you import the photos directly.

Then just export them to your designated iPhone-synching photo folder on your computer and they will pop up wherever you wish to put them.

Even more than the idea of a physical lighting file, I love the that, (a) I can snap a cool magazine page whenever I see it, and (b) I always have the photos with me. I have had an inspiration folder on my laptop for a couple of years now. Now I keep the photos with me everywhere I go. Way better.

The photo up top, BTW, is from this month's Fast Company magazine and was shot by Brent Humphreys. You may remember him as having shot the WIRED Magazine cover that was blogged with lighting diagrams.

I just spent fifteen minutes looking through his portfolio, and I think I just found some more inspiration.

Do you have an inspiration folder? Who is in it?

Photo-Friendly Apps

I spend a lot of time on email and Google reader, which lets me easily follow a couple dozen blogs very efficiently. One button and the are all queued up, ready to read.

But two other apps stand out as being particularly useful to location shooters: Weather Bug and Photocalc.

Why Weather Bug? Because, unlike the standard weather app, Weather Bug gives you the ability to see local weather radar. So you know how much time you have left before you are gonna have to bail from an outdoor shoot during transitional weather. And it is free, too.

And Photocalc, which is loaded up with mostly useless navel-gazing photo calculators to justify the $2.99 price tag, has one thing that is very useful: It grabs your location and will display the exact time of sunrise and sunset in your area.

That's a big help when you are doing the sunset backdrop thing and your subject is asking you what time to show up.

It also has a mini-spreadsheet-style guide number calculator, shown above, which will help to train your mind for faster flash power estimation.

If you want to learn more about Photocalc before foregoing 3/4 of a cup of Starbucks to buy it, check out WIRED blogger (and longtime Strobist reader) Charlie Sorrel's review.


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