Jun 042012
 

Food lighting 300x200 Food Photography Lighting Tips to Savor Ever wonder how food photographers can have you salivating at the first glimpse of a strawberry? A lot of what makes food look so tasty in pictures is the way photographers use the light. Observe the seafood medley to the right. How does the photographer achieve such a clean yet colorful image? Often times it isn’t enough simply to place a plate by the window and snap a few frames—it takes planning! Here are a few ways to use the light to document your next culinary masterpiece:

Consider the time.

The brightness of the light you use should depend on what meal you’re photographing. Use a light bulb with a measure of 1,000+ lumens if you’re taking shots of breakfast foods like these cappuccino doughnuts. An evening meal on the other hand should be photographed in lower light, channeling the elegant ambiance of the dinner hour.

Cappuccino Doughnuts Ann Stratton 300x300 Food Photography Lighting Tips to Savor

Cappuccino Doughnuts courtesy of Ann Stratton from CountryLiving.com

Continue reading »

May 252012
 

bookcase lights 220x300 Use Bookshelf Lights to Help Tell Your StoryWhether they shelve books, artwork, or heirlooms, bookcases are a great way to feature your unique interests. However, it can be easy to let your special things fall into the shadows if they’re not properly lit. Here are a few different ways to spotlight your most precious items:

Strips and Microfluorescents

If you prefer to highlight your entire bookshelf, running a Xenon Low Voltage Light Strip or a microfluorescent light fixture along each shelf will do the trick. Just make sure you install the lights in a place they can’t be seen—that way they’ll draw attention to what is important and really make your display pop. As an added bonus, they’ll also provide a significant light source to the entire room.

Puck Lights and Recessed Lights

Do you have a favorite painting, sculpture, or photograph sitting on your bookcase? Feature it with a small puck light attached to the shelf above. This finishing touch draws attention to the item and adds diverse visual interest to the entire bookshelf. If your bookcases are freestanding and have curiosities on top, you can use recessed lighting to attract the eye above. Installing recessed lights is also an easy way to emphasize a bookshelf without illuminating the whole room, although this option will highlight the shelf more than its contents.

Need more ideas on how to display your favorite belongings? Check out these thoughtful shelf decorating tips by HGTV’s Leah Hennen!

 

May 092012
 

Jewelry doesn’t sparkle and shine on its own – the reason a gem looks radiant is because of the way it reflects light! That being said, lighting is integral to retail design in a jewelry store. You want your displays to entice customers and show off your products in all their brilliance! Hopefully, we can help. This post will lay out options for various jewelry lighting displays.

Jewelry Lighting 3 A Guide To Retail Jewelry LightingThe Illuminated Wall Display:

Planning on featuring jewelry within shelving units alongside a wall of your store? It’s a great way to display a large amount of inventory, but it’s important to make sure items don’t get lost in the shadows.

For the most dramatic effect, use puck lights to call attention to individual pieces, as seen in the photo to the right. Puck lighting above jewelry creates beautiful silhouettes and puts a spotlight on each piece.

If you love the look of evenly illuminated in-wall shelving displays, there is a way to avoid the spotlight effect. For a more subtle glow, install light fixtures on the inside edges of your shelves. See these photos for an example of this type of display case installation. You can accomplish this using our Xenon Low Voltage Light Strip or any of our microfluorescent fixtures. Continue reading »

Apr 252012
 

bedroom 300x191 Lighting to Bring Out the Best in Any Bedroom Color SchemeWe are pleased to offer you, our readers, another guest post with great lighting tips for bringing out the best in your bedroom color scheme.

Have you ever noticed how different lighting types affect the color of your room? From the warm colors of the standard incandescent light bulb (which is being phased out) to the cool colors of fluorescent, the type of lighting you select affects your color scheme – for better or for worse. After investing in bedding, drapes, and accessories for your bedroom, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the lighting. Select the wrong lighting and you’ll ruin the mood; select the right lighting and your bedroom’s color scheme will pop!

Warm versus Cool

In general, “warm” light sources bring out the warm colors such as orange, red, and yellow, while “cool” lighting intensifies cool colors such as blue. This concept is referred to as color temperature, which is measured in units called “kelvin” or “K.” For example, warm incandescent light bulbs typically equal about 2,700K, soft white light falls in the 3,000K range, cool white is about 4,100K, and daylight is about 6,500K. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 25, 2012 at 10:45 am
Apr 232012
 

senior citizens 300x199 Lighting Tips for the ElderlyWe are pleased to present this guest post from Daniel Frank, a blogger for Stannah Stairlifts, about the unique lighting needs for everyone as we age.

Lighting is vital for our health and well-being, and it becomes particularly important the older we get. As we age, two things happen to our eyes. The ability of our pupils to dilate decreases, which effectively makes them smaller, and our lenses become thicker. This means our retinas receive less light, and more of the light that gets through our pupils is absorbed or refracted before it gets to the retina, making an image softer.

This poses some serious safety risks as tripping hazards and other obstacles may not be as obvious as they would be to a younger person. The effects of glare on bright surfaces are also worsened as we get older, making detailed tasks such as drawing or sewing harder. However, there are some fairly simple lighting solutions to this “age old” problem. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 23, 2012 at 10:00 am
Apr 192012
 

xenonproject 3 300x224 5 Ways Lighting Improves the Homeowners Life

We are pleased to have this guest post from Christine Cooney, a writer at The House Designers, about the five benefits homeowners can get from proper lighting. Thanks so much Christine!

We are creatures that are made to live in the light, not the darkness. The lack of sunlight can leave the homeowner facing a number of negative effects, ranging from poor mood to the lack of energy needed to face the day. However, properly lit homes can counter these ailments, allowing individuals to live in a more productive, happier environment.

If you’re living in a dark, poorly-lit home, you should immediately start considering the advantages of proper lighting. The following are a few of the many benefits that lighting provides for the individual homeowner:

1. Increased Productivity
Many homeowners have a home office, from which they may spend hours at a time, staring at a computer screen. However, the lack of balance between artificial and natural light can strain eyes and lead to serious health issues. In addition, poor lighting can affect your attitude towards work, leading to decreased productivity. In order to make sure that the home office is used to full effect, it is vital to make sure it is well lit as possible. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 19, 2012 at 10:00 am
Mar 262012
 

illuminated artwork How To Get The Most Out of the Artwork In Your HomeWant to call more attention to the beautiful artwork gracing the walls of your home? When it comes to enhancing textures, showing off detail, and making colors more vibrant, it’s all about getting the lighting right.

In general, you should light up artwork three times brighter than the rest of the room. It might be a good idea to put your artwork lighting on a dimmer so that you can install lamps with high lumen output and then tweak the light levels.

To avoid glare, place your picture lights or adjustable recessed trims at a 30 degree angle from the painting or photograph. For very large frames (such as the one in the photo above), increase the angle to about 35 degrees so that you won’t cast a shadow. For paintings with texture, decrease the angle to about 25 degrees to accentuate.

Typically, for smaller pieces of artwork, it’s best to install one light per frame. It creates a cohesive effect and ensures that each piece receives enough illumination. However, for a mural or piece of artwork that extends horizontally on the wall, you will probably want to install multiple lights. The general rule is to use one display light for every 2-3 feet of wall space.

You also have to take into account potential UV and heat damage from your lighting – particularly with oil paintings. To avoid UV damage, stick with LED lighting, which does not emit any ultraviolet or infrared radiation. To avoid heat damage, use the “hand test”  with picture lights – simply place your hand in between the artwork and the light fixture. If you can feel any heat, it may be damaging to an oil painting. Fluorescent and LED lights are both great options for minimal heat exposure. Halogen display lights tend to give off a great deal of heat.

Mar 222012
 

Wall Sconce How To Hang Wall Sconces

Wall sconces have the power to transform a gloomy hallway to a gorgeous corridor, making them a pretty popular light fixture. However, there’s a little less familiarity when it comes to knowing exactly where a wall sconce should be hung.

Wondering about how high the wall sconce should be hung from the floor – and how far apart multiple sconces should be placed from one another? You’ve come to the right place.

The beauty of a wall sconce is in the soft lighting that emanates from the shade and spills out from below onto the ground. The part of the wall sconce that is not too pretty is the view from above. You don’t want to see the top of the light fixture, with the light bulb screwed in – that would defeat the whole purpose of having a sconce!  So, when you determine the hanging height from the ground, measure so that the average person will still have the wall sconce in their natural line of sight, but will not be able to look down into the wall sconce from above.

Typically, contractors install wall sconces between 5.5 feet to 6 feet above floor level. However, if the average height of people living in your home is well above 6 feet – or below 5.5, you may want to adjust accordingly! If you choose a long or very large wall sconce, you may want to install them a bit higher up on the wall as well.

Now, for distance between light fixtures: If you are installing in a long hallway, space wall sconces about eight to ten feet apart. Other applications call for shorter spacing distances. For example, many people install wall sconces on either side of the vanity in the bathroom. In this type of functional use, spacing distance doesn’t matter as much.

Any more questions about wall sconces? Comment below!

Feb 282012
 

the human solution ergonomic workstation 300x300 Tips for Setting up an Ergonomic WorkspaceToday’s post is from Mike Moody of The Human Solution, an office furniture company specializing in ergonomic solutions. Mike writes about finding a chair, keyboard tray, and desk that will maximize productivity and minimize injuries. If you’ve ever experienced back pain after a long day at the office, this post is for you. At the end of the post, Mike recommends using an LED task light as part of your ergonomic workspace (as do we)! Enjoy …

Implementing an ergonomic workstation at your home or office can lead to a healthier, more comfortable, and more efficient workspace. Most people work more than 40 hours per week, and most of that work is done seated at a desk in front of a computer. It’s important to optimize your workstation to suit your body, your movements, and your work style in order to prevent injuries and discomfort and promote good health and productivity. Here are some tips for setting up an ergonomic workspace:

Find the Right Ergonomic Chair:
A good ergonomic chair will provide superior support and comfort for several hours each day. All ergonomic chairs should have these minimum requirements:

Seat Height Adjustment – You should be able to adjust your seat height. For optimum comfort, your knees should be kept lower than your hips, and your feet should be able to rest comfortably on the floor.

Lumbar Support – Ergonomic chairs should offer strong adjustable lumbar support. Ideally the lumbar support is independently height adjustable, and on some chairs, the depth and/or pressure of the lumbar support is also adjustable. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 28, 2012 at 10:18 am
Jan 312012
 

Harsh computer screen How to Counter the Effects of a Harsh Computer ScreenNot all lighting is easy on the eyes. Flickering fluorescent lamps give you a headache, powerful rays from the sun make you search for sunglasses, the harsh computer screen at night leaves you seeing spots.

It probably didn’t come as a surprise last month when we published results of a recent study revealing certain artificial indoor lighting has a negative impact on sleep cycles.

The study found that light with a cool color temperature affects a certain blue-sensitive photoreceptor that targets our biological clock. So, to avoid losing sleep because of your lights, we recommended sticking to lighting with a warm color temperature (2800-3200K) after dusk – and dimming the lights before bed!

However, that recommendation didn’t address the bulk of the problem: the glare from computer screens, smartphones, and tablets. If you’re like most people, you check your e-mail and catch up on news articles in the hour or two before you go to bed. The color temperature from those devices will kill your efforts to stay away from sleep-inhibiting lighting. Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 31, 2012 at 10:27 am