trade show lighting solutions

  • What is Specular Lighting and When Is It Good?

    pin point light sources

    Specular lighting is a reflective light which causes highlights upon the object(s) it is lighting-that bright spot that you see on the object from the reflective light is what is known as specular light.

    OK, so now you are asking me, "why is this important to me?".  You might not care about the fact that specular lighting falls off of the surface faster than diffused lighting (as my son used to say when he was a teenager, "who cares, mom?"). But, you will want to know that it does add significant detail to the object. Whether or not your application has to do with retail, design, or just making your living space look better, this is certainly relevant information (if it isn't, it should be!).  Even in computer graphics, using the principles of specular lighting is important because it "provides a strong visual cue for the shape of an object and its location with respect to light sources in the scene" (Wikipedia). If specular lighting principles were not used in computer graphic design the images would appear to be very flat, lacking detail and dimension.

    Hold on to that thought.

    Now, take it and apply it to real life surroundings. A good way to illustrate specular is to point out examples of what isn't specular lighting. Diffused light sources are NOT specular. Take the image of the sparkly necklace pictured above. If it were lit with diffused light source, it would not have the depth, dimension and more importantly (in this case), the SPARKLE that it has. There would be less detail because the light source does not give a good separation from the background to the foreground. So, if you wanted to light a room so that it had depth, detail, and drama, would you use a single light source such as an overhead fluorescent fixture? Absolutely not. Fluorescent light sources can never be specular-nor any other light bulb that is coated. Light bulbs that are coated create a diffused light-therefore the object that it is lighting will not have as much depth and detail. Any light bulb that is clear would be a specular light source. The sun is a specular light source (it is not diffused light unless it is very overcast).

    Shadows are just important to good lighting just as much as the light source is. Shadows create depth. When viewing an object, the eye automatically goes to the brightest spot in the light field. Very much so like the effect a spotlight creates in theatrical lighting.

    specular lighting example specular lighting example

    Pictured above is a dish of foil wrapped chocolate-notice how you can see all the details in the image (if you can't, then find your reading glasses and put them on, for heaven's sake!). The corrugated edges of the paper, all the folds and wrinkles in the foil, and the distinct edges of the glass-it is this depth and detail that I am referring to that a specular light source will yield when used properly. In this example, the image was lit with a very small lighting fixture: our LED under cabinet light strip.

    So, if you want depth, detail, attention to what is being lit, go with a specular light source-which is any light bulb that does not have a coating on the glass. Be sure to check out our other blog articles for more helpful information and visit and subscribe to our You Tube Channel (which has even more helpful information than you could ever imagine). "Like' us on our Face Book page-which will help you keep track of what's new at Total Lighting Supply.

    And, as always, we welcome your comments-we love hearing from you!

    Posted in:

    Tags: led, LED under cabinet lighitng, trade show lighting solutions, led showcase light fixture, lighting basics, how to do proper lighting, retail lighting, home lighitng design, showcase lighting

  • The "KISS" Method: Keep It Super Simple

    Many of you are familiar with the "KISS" method? Keep it super simple (well, there is another version out there-the "keep it simple s-----", but we won't use that language here!) Sometimes simple is the best. One of our clients that does large trade shows in the fashion industry came to us with a dilemma. They had three days to light a huge color banner of one of their models for a trade show in Austin, Texas. The trade show facility vendor wanted to rent them $1800 in LED lighting for the three days they were there- which was way outside of their budget. They needed the banner to stand out and be seen, but the quoted rental fee definitely put it out of reach. The owner of the fashion company called and talked with our lead lighting designer, Mark Scott. Mark has been in the lighting industry for 30 years and has wonderful and creative solutions to just about any lighting dilemma. His simple solution got the banner to stand out with even, bright light all for under $300 total. The client also got to keep the lighting fixtures for their next upcoming show too. Sometimes a simple solution is the way to go. So, what was the simple solution? They used two 500watt wide flood Par64 fixtures with bulbs, and one PAR64 flood to highlight the banner on the top left so it would be slightly brighter there.

    Easy solution, and boy did that banner stand out-it was easily seen from the other side of the convention center. No matter what your project is, from kitchens to landscape lighting, good lighting can make all the difference in the world. The staff at Total Lighting Supply are not about just selling part numbers on box, they are about getting you the light you need to make your project sparkle.

    Looking up at the par lights above the trade show booth

     

    Full view of the poster (well lit, we might add!)

    We here at Total Lighting Supply are on a mission to demystify lighting aspects one bulb, one fixture at a time.

    Want to be demystified even more? Go to our You Tube Channel and check out the informational videos that we've made for you.

    Posted in:

    Tags: trade show lighting solutions, trade show lighting

2 Item(s)