I have finally created a lighting notebook. There is so much useful information available on the internet, and it’s so disorganized, that I really just wanted to create a place where all the useful information could be easily accessible for me. I had a few prerequisites that I wanted when creating the notebook.
1. It has to be “digital”, and not a physical notebook. This was for a few reasons. I have horrible handwriting, and didn’t want to have to deal with me not being able to read my own! I also wanted to have access to it from multiple locations, which brings me to number two.
2. I need to be able to use it from multiple locations and devices. Be it my Ipad, Iphone, laptop etc.
3. It has to be easily modified. I’m constantly scouring the internet looking for a particular lighting setup, or tips on composition, etc. I want to be able to add images and techniques without a hassle and having to use 5 applications to do it.
So that’s it. After fiddling around with several applications, this is what I ended up doing. Check it out after the jump….
I essentially am using two main applications to maintain my notebook. The first is Microsoft OneNote 2010. This is exactly what it sounds like, a notebook application. It essentially allows you to type out notes, paste images, and insert pretty much anything you want to into separate “notebook pages”. You can create separate categories within each notebook, so it stays very organized. The best part of the application is if you sign up for a free Microsoft Live account, you can sync up the Notebook to the cloud and access it anywhere, including your mobile devices. Beautiful. The down side to this is that it isn’t a free application, it’s 70 bucks to buy it separately from Office. There are free alternatives to OneNote, such as Evernote too, so you could always use that. I just find OneNote to be a little easier to use.
The second application I use is SnagIt, which is basically a fancy screen print application. Windows 7 also has a snipping tool, just without some of the bells and whistles that SnagIt does. I have SnagIt mapped to my print screen key, and pretty much just copy out anything I see that may help me in the future. I mostly use it on the various website I visit, but I’ve used it more and more on e-books that I’ve purchased. I love being able to reference the most important part of any given book in a minute. It beats looking through all the books I have, swearing that I can’t find it!
As of now, I have two Notebooks, one titled DaveMazz Lighting Notebook and the other DaveMazz Photography Posing Guide. I have each broken down into separate sections, sections are chapters. For example, in my Lighting Notebook, I have sections called Portrait Lighting Diagrams, One Speedlight Portraits, High Speed Sync and Dimming the Sun HSS. Each of these sections have 4-5 pages on the topic. The One Speedlight Portraits section has pages for Shoot Through Umbrella techniques, Reflective Umbrella techniques etc. I just copied and pasted pages from an e-book I had. This is a very good reference for when I’m shooting or doing some testing.
As for portability, I almost exclusively use it on my Ipad. You can download a free, limited use version of OneNote for your Ipad. You can also access it from any web browser using Microsoft’s SkyDrive, which you get free when you sign up for a Live account.
There are some downsides to my notebook though. For one, because it’s digital, it’s more time-consuming to make notes. That is easily the thing I miss the most about a physical pen and paper notebook. As of now, I still just write out my notes for a session, then transfer them over to OneNote at a later time. Another downside is the limited space per page. I don’t really put anything on a page that can’t be read on my Ipad without scrolling. Not a big deal, but something to think about.
This has worked out great for me, and I’ll continue to use it until I find something better…..