Have you noticed your eyes are squinting lately when you are trying to read something? Is your vision not as good as it used to be? Do you consider the fact that the lighting you are using or that is available to you has a strong effect on how you look and how you are able to see? Stage managers of Broadway productions know that lighting is one of the most powerful tools to set the mood and create emotions in the audience. Lighting is one of the things we normally take completely for granted, yet it is a very powerful force and can be harnessed for our betterment by those that take the time to give this issue attention.
The next time you walk into a room, pay attention to the lighting. Is it harsh fluorescent that makes everyone look a bit ghostly? Or is it soft incandescent that gives everyone a bit of warm glow?
You can see the effects of the use of lighting in very fine restaurants. The best examples have subdued lighting as the background atmosphere and directional lighting to highlight items of interest or to allow you to be able to read the menu and view your guest. The best restaurants use a combination of both, atmospheric and directional lighting, and even have sophisticated computer operated systems that adjust the lighting ever so slightly over the course of the day and the evening. Lousy restaurants may suddenly have a lighting shift in the middle of a meal especially as the meal proceeds if you entered the restaurant around dusk. That is not the idea. You want to have lighting around you that supports you, allows you to be able to do what you need to do, and makes you look really good.
There are places where you cannot control the lighting directly but you can control the positioning of the lighting to your advantage. If for example you are having a business meeting and you are trying to maintain power and control, if there is a bright light source like a uncovered window, your best choice is to sit with your back to the light source, so that it back-lights you and everyone else has to contend with the light in their eyes when they look at you. If you are silhouetted by the bright light source behind you, you appear to be almost saint-like when others look at you and they cannot help but to pay attention to you and give you more power in the relational dynamics between the persons at the meeting.
You can also use specialty lighting in your office to achieve some interesting results. If you need strong lighting to read, it is appropriate to have a reading lamp that is focused directly on the papers on your desk. But do not leave this lamp on when having a meeting with another person in your office, especially if it leaves you cast in shadow as this will make you appear sinister. Now that you have some hints on how lighting can be used for effect, pay more attention to this detail, make lighting a part of your fashion choices and you will find yourself bemused by the subtle yet powerful effects caused by lighting.