I feel the need to share with you one of my recent purchases. It has turned out to be one of the best photography buys I have ever made. The cost of this wonderful purchase (made from Amazon) was £6.49 plus post and packing. This purchase was something I knew I should buy but which I kept putting off because I wasn't sure it would make a big difference to my photography. I won't keep you guessing any longer; it was a light bulb. Not just any light bulb however, it was a daylight balanced light bulb.
Now you might be forgiven for asking why is this a great purchase, so allow me to explain. I'm sure you will be familiar with the theory of light colour temperature (if not read my tutorial) and how the colour of light is affected by its temperature. Light found in shaded areas or at altitude tends to have a high temperature and appears bluish. Whilst light from the sun at sunset or a tungsten light bulb has a low colour temperature and appears more orange.
Consider now what impact editing your images under a standard light bulb has. The light from the bulb appears orange but your brain ignores this and tells you it's white. The light however is reflecting from your screen and prints and so you end up judging the colour incorrectly. The daylight balanced bulb overcomes this problem by producing a white light that is usually between 5,600K and 7,000k i.e. white under normal conditions. This allows you to accurately judge colour corrections you apply to your images.
What has driven this home to me is that the other night I was making some prints that had been purchased. Under my daylight bulb they appeared perfectly balanced yet as I walked out of the room and into an area with standard lighting, they appeared for a few moments to be far too warm, at least until my eyes adjusted. Stepping back into my editing room they now looked too cold until my eyes adjusted. Next I decided to check some images I had previously been editing on the screen and found they looked too warm where previously they were fine. Checking them again in daylight I found they were in fact too warm and I needed to adjust them.
So, spend a little money and buy yourself a daylight balanced light bulb. It might be the best investment you make.
In case you're interested here is the link to the 30w version which is the equivalent of 150w: