Everybody knows how to choose normal light bulbs for their home – as long as one is compatible, you can usually simply slot it right in and enjoy the light level it provides. Even if you have never bought or replaced a bulb yourself, it is easy to understand what goes into choosing one for your house.
However, not all lighting is just meant for keeping a space bright. There can be a lot of situations where specialty lighting is important, and understanding what you actually need makes a bigger difference than just looking at the raw numbers.
What are Specialty Lights?
Specialty light bulbs are any bulb that serves another function other than just lighting up a room. In extreme cases, this could be lighting used to sterilize medical supplies and food preparation equipment, but it could also mean ancillary lighting for photography studios or temporary Christmas lights.
However, this also means that specialty lighting is not as straightforward as a normal light bulb. You are not just looking at the raw power, color, and level of illumination of the bulb, but how suitable it might be for the other purposes and roles that it has to fill.
Of course, every home and business has its own needs, and there are going to be situations where lighting has to be used in an obscure or unique way. This often means spending a lot of time and effort picking out the best bulbs for each situation – but that time can be well-spent if it leads to better quality or greater comfort.
Common Speciality Light Uses
Lights can have thousands of uses in the average household, but only a handful will ever be relevant to each person’s life. Some, though, are going to crop up quite often across a lot of homes and businesses, intentionally or not.
Remember that specialty lights are meant for specialized purposes, so there is not a single specific way to use any light. They can be quite a niche subject that many people overlook or do not really consider, but they are a major part of optimizing a certain space for a particular role.
Photography can involve a lot of complicated light rigging work, and there are plenty of situations where a specific bulb can make a huge difference. The most obvious is for the photography itself, since having subtle lighting and defined shadows can completely change the way that a scene looks.
Indoor photography can benefit heavily from using different light styles, colors, softness levels, and positions. Even the smallest change of a single light’s color or location can completely alter the way that the raw photographs look, whether they are physical or digital.
Outside, this lighting can matter a lot too. Darker locations or night photography rely heavily on having appropriate light sources, and it sometimes takes multiple additional lights to make a shot look ‘more natural’ than if you were simply using natural light instead.
Less obvious is the fact that certain lamps can be important for darkrooms if you are developing your own physical photographs. Darkrooms are a good example of a space that relies on a specific color of light (red) to work properly, which can make careful bulb selection even more important.
Whether you are recording home movies, live streaming, or hosting important business conferences, there are some niche lighting options that you might have to consider when setting up a recording space. Directional light can look a lot more impactful on-camera compared to what we see with our own eyes.
This means that a dark corner of a room will look much darker on camera, even if your eyes have adjusted to seeing that corner clearly. Joining a work-related conference call where only half your face is visible can be a major misstep, so configuring proper lighting is important.
Many studios that record footage – whether that is for big-budget movies, ad campaigns, or small personal projects – need good lighting from multiple angles. This often means picking a specific combination of bulbs for each shot, which may need to be swapped out for different options after each scene.
Hobby and Development
Hobby work often necessitates some very precise lighting, whether that is model-building or painting on canvas. Some tools, like a printing press, might actually work better if they are kept in the right kind of lighting conditions since strong lights can fade the colors on whatever you create.
Beyond that, it can help to choose bulbs that let you control the lighting in the right ways for your hobby tasks. If you enjoy building model kits, for example, then having good lighting facing your workspace is the best way to avoid losing any important components or tools.
While your hobby might not be a major part of your life, it can also be a serious source of stress relief and relaxation. The more comfortable you can make yourself while you are indulging in your own hobbies, the easier it becomes to de-stress without being interrupted by poor lighting or a sudden change in visibility.
Businesses or companies that rely on medical equipment will often want to use large UV lamps as a sterilization tool. These can often be safer and easier than using chemical cleaners and can quickly ‘burn’ germs away from equipment that has to be re-used on a regular basis.
Aside from cleaning, specialized lights are sometimes important for therapeutic reasons or for making sure that a space is well-lit and comfortable for recovering patients. Some hospital wards are very careful with how a place is lit.
Beyond that, these lights are important for certain pieces of equipment as well. Particular pieces of surgery gear will have their own integrated lights to help manage germs while also giving surgeons a clear look at what they are working with, which can make a significant difference in the long term.
Some pets are highly sensitive to light, and that does not just mean nocturnal creatures. There are specific creatures that can actually be harmed by artificial lighting, especially in their younger years when they do not have a lot of control over where they are.
For example, turtle bulbs are quite a common option for beaches – artificial lights can harm newly hatched turtles and set their natural ‘compass’ off balance, meaning that they can go the wrong direction and end up further away from the ocean instead of reaching it. This might not sound important, but it can be a severe ecological problem.
There is also the fact that light is an important part of any habitat. An animal that requires certain plants to feed off will need to live in a space where those plants can grow, for example, which means that an animal pen or cage could require niche lighting combinations.
Naturally, some creatures are more comfortable in lower light levels, and they might not even come out to eat if the lights are too bright. Finding a good balance in their habitat lighting can be the difference between a stressed animal and a comfortable, happy pet.
Greenhouses and other plant-focused spaces can just be a casual hobby, but many people try to craft the perfect growing conditions for plants that they plan to use often. This can sometimes mean using specific kinds of UV lights or limiting the amount of artificial light pointing at their plants.
This might become even more important in rooms that do not receive much natural sunlight. For example, a window pointing directly west will only get sunlight during the morning but not the afternoon.
These lights can also be important in many businesses, including those that need to cultivate certain plants for sale or as part of another product. It is not impossible to see these at all-natural food stores or more industrialized farms since they can increase the yield of important ingredients.
Choosing Speciality Lights
There is no perfect way to choose lighting for any situation, but understanding your own needs can make things much easier. It is important to think about what you are looking for in your lighting and the kind of details or functions that will have the greatest impact.
For example, finding good lighting for a bedroom can be quite easy since you choose just a compatible bulb with a light level that you are comfortable with. However, if you need specialty lighting, suddenly, the color and the type of light a bulb emits can be a major factor too.
Be sure to look up the ideal conditions for whatever your specialty lighting is meant to help with, even if you think you already know what you need. It never hurts to be absolutely sure that you are buying the right thing, especially if you are choosing between expensive lights on a limited budget.
Taking the time to do some direct research can be the best way to narrow down your options, especially if you are looking for something incredibly niche. The more you know about the options that you have available, the easier it becomes to make an informed decision that you are not going to regret later on.