iPhone light meter will make your photos shine


Turn your iPhone into a trusted lighting assistant on photo shoots with the Luma Power.
Turn your iPhone into a trusted lighting assistant on photo shoots with the Luma Power.
Photo: Lumu Labs

A good photographer doesn’t say, I’ll fix it later in Photoshop. Lumu Labs understood this when they developed an accessory in 2013 that turns the iPhone into a light meter.

Though heralded by working photographers and tech journalists at the time, Lumu Labs wasn’t satisfied with the bulbous little device that hooks into the headphone jack. They continued to tinker and came up with the next generation of light meter that is like having a knowledgeable photo assistant in the palm of your hand.

The Lumu Power, currently shooting past its fundraising goal on Kickstarter, will plug into the iPhone’s Lightning port for quicker communication with the Lumu app that provides critical readings for exposure and shutter speed. Also new is a sensor on the back side of the Lumu Power’s domed light receptor that accurately measures color temperature and white balance.

Fits in the Lightning port.
Fits in the Lightning port.
Photo: Lumu Labs

The light meter has long been a critical tool to photographers. If you set your camera properly before snapping the shutter, there is less work to do in the darkroom (nowadays, Lightroom or Photoshop).

For photographers who work with ambient light in the field, a light meter can help a photographer determine exposures, especially if it is critical to have detail in the shadows without blown-out highlights. A studio photographer or any shooter that works with studio flash heads, the meter aids in determining how intense you want the light or the balance between flash and ambient light.

For many photographers, the growing sophistication with in-camera metering has been enough to put the light meter on the shelf, however, meticulous shooters, especially those that work in digital or with slide film, new meters assist with color temperature.

What is color temperature? An easy and non-technical way to understand color temperature is knowing that light produces different colors depending on the intensity of the light source. You may have noticed a greenish tint to a picture taken under fluorescent lighting. An orangish or warmer light comes from the incandescent light bulb, which is different than the light of the sun at high noon.

The rods and cones in our eyes compensate for these distinctions, but for photography, it’s important to adjust for these light colors so that the color white actually looks white.

Photographers are not the only light meter users and Lumu Power has seven different apps in the App Store for a number of professions, from horticulturalists to lighting designers and cinematic shooters.

Lumu Labs light meters, including the Power, have stainless steel housing and can also work with the iPad. The Lumu Power has a true color sensor on one side and a Photodiode that reads ambient and light from flash on the other.

Maybe shooting without having to learn the technical side of photography suits you and you are content with simply shooting with your iPhone and letting the software make all the decisions. But should you outgrow the smartphone and turn to more sophisticated cameras to express your point of view, the Lumu Power on your iPhone could be a handy tool.

The Luma Power can be ordered on Kickstarter for $199, about $100 less than the projected retail price.

  • nwcs

    It’s a cool idea and having a white balance reading is a nice extra. Hope it works out for them. A professional (and serious amateur) photographer would need more functionality than this especially when using strobes and remote triggers.

  • Craig Sullivan

    FYI. Color temp has nothing to do with light intensity. It has to do with the actual type of light source. For example a 20k tungsten lamp is incredibly bright. But it always emits tungsten (orange) light. Hmi fixtures always emit blue light (sunlight).