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video call lights

Video calling has become all the rage during recent months.

One of the most popular ways families and friends are dealing with self-isolation is by connecting with each other over apps like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangout. In fact, if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably seen more of your family over the past few weeks than during the last twelve months! People are holding quizzes, self-isolation discos, quarantine birthday parties, and discovering all kinds of brilliant, innovative ways to keep each other entertained while we all find our way through this. Even Sophie Ellis Bextor’s got involved by holding a kitchen disco on her Instagram page every Friday evening. You should check out some of the lighting she uses!

And that gave us the idea for this blog. Because the one problem with those video apps that put each of us in a little square so your pc screen looks like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch is it’s often really difficult to see each other properly PLUS it all looks a bit boring. We either switch on too many lights (which makes us look tired and really washed out) or we put on a light that isn’t positioned in the best way and spend the entire call sitting in shadow.

But here’s the good news: with just a little bit of careful lighting preparation, you can easily look video-chat fabulous!

Here are a few things to think about:


‘Shady face’ is when half your face is in shadow, so it looks like you’re doing a really bad ‘Phantom of the Opera’ impersonation. The best way to avoid it is by positioning one lamp, directly by your face, so the light on your face is constant and steady throughout the call.

Alternatively, you can achieve the same effect using your smartphone’s flashlight. Place the phone on a tripod or stand it on a flat, steady surface (like a desk or windowsill) so the flashlight is shining directly on your face and not from behind you. Try not to prop the phone against your pc or laptop because you’ll spend half the call readjusting it so it doesn’t fall over!


While your main light (which professional photographers call a key light) directly illuminates your features, a fill light can be used to provide a sense of depth and shape to your face. You don’t need to use a second light to achieve this. All you have to do is place a white tablecloth or sheet of white paper on the table in front of you to give your face a flattering ‘fill and bounce’


If you want your viewers to notice your very best features, place a tall desk lamp in line with and slightly behind your pc or laptop so it illuminates your favourite side of your face.


Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Natural daylight accentuates your skin tones and makes everything look more natural when you’re on camera. Set up your pc or laptop in a room where there’s a lot of window light but avoid sitting with your back to the window because the camera will overexpose and turn you into a silhouette. Simply sit facing the window and you’ll look perfect.

Also, balancing the natural light with a couple of properly placed soft white lamps will help to light up all areas of your room while not making you look overly bright on the video screen.


If you’re already the proud owner of our LED colour changing lights, you’ve got the perfect video lighting literally at your fingertips! Just select the colour to fit the mood – the spectrums of orange or red are great choices for high-energy party calls, yellow and blue spectrums are terrific for keeping you calm and concentrated during quiz nights, and the spectrums of green and pink will add a tranquil, comforting ambience when you just want to sit down with your loved ones and have a good chat. Stay tuned, because we might tell you more about the connection between colour and mood in a future blog!


If you’re holding a friends n’ family dance party, add to the fun by using LED colour changing bulbs and strip lights, LED string lights, or even rotating LED disco ball lights. If you don’t have any of those available (don’t worry, you’ll be able to get them when our shop reopens!) how about making a handmade disco ball by gluing some coloured sequins or cardboard silver squares to a paper lantern or some Styrofoam crafting balls? You’ll find plenty of How To’s online and it’s a great project for an afternoon when the sun isn’t shining. Plus, when you hang the disco ball up and it catches the light, you’ll be a video-call talking point!


Avoid using bare bulbs when you’re table-lighting a video call. Instead, use a lampshade or diffuser to soften the lighting so you don’t look harsh and ‘blown out.’

Choose your background carefully. You want your friends to be looking at you, not checking out what’s on the shelf or the bookcase behind you! Keep your background plain and simple, like a blank wall or a wall with just a single picture on it.

Avoid backlights because a) you’ll just be a silhouette on the screen, b) it will be really uncomfortable for other people to look at.

Don’t get too close. The cameras on smartphones and webcams are wide-angle so if you’re too close to them you’ll look distorted. Besides which, all the work you’ve put into carefully re-arranging your lights will have all gone to waste. Just sit back far enough for people to see your head and shoulders, but not so far away that you look like you’re in the next room!

And there you have it – our top tips for the perfect video-call get-together!

And the really good news is, when our shop eventually reopens, you’ll find a lot more exciting ways to light up your video chats and take them to the next level! In the meantime, here’s a story that made us smile and proves how lighting can cheer us up even in the grimmest of times…

Here’s a thought: why not take their example, bring your Christmas lights down from the loft, and use them in your video calls as well?!

Until next time, take very good care of yourselves, and each other. We’ll see you again very soon!  

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colour lighting mood

It’s easy to take lighting and colour for granted, but have you ever stopped to consider how much lighting and colour both affect our mood?

Let’s take an obvious example.

While we’ve all been in lockdown, which days have you found the easiest to cope with?

We’d guess it’s the days when the sun’s been shining. When the day has been grey and gloomy, the chances are that your mood has been grey and gloomy too.

That’s because, even though lockdown prevented us from going outdoors and enjoying the sunshine as much as we’d like, just seeing and feeling that golden light streaming through our window makes us feel so much better.

Light affects us in all kinds of unexpected ways, both physically and mentally.


Bright light can make us feel more active and energetic, while lower intensity light can make us feel more relaxed and able to focus. If the colour of light is particularly intense (saturated), it can amplify our emotions. If the light is more muted, our emotions will feel more muted too.

Light also sets our circadian rhythm, which is our internal body clock.

Our circadian rhythm follows the natural course of daylight. When we do this successfully, waking up with the light and going to bed when it gets dark, we’re able to concentrate much more efficiently during the day, we feel healthier and happier, and we enjoy much better high-quality sleep.

But if our circadian rhythm is disrupted (which can happen when we watch late night TV or read our tablet or smartphone just before going to bed) we can feel sluggish and fuzzy the whole of the next day. It can even have a negative impact on our mood and appetite. Why? Because electronic devices like TV’s, smartphones and tablets emit a high-energy blue light that acts as a stimulus to the brain. In fact, a lot of research has been done on the similarities between blue light and caffeine, and Swedish scientists have said that blue light can keep you more awake than coffee!

Finally, the hue (i.e. colour or shade) of light can have a massive effect on our mood and wellbeing too. Want to know a little bit more about colour? Here are some of the basics!


Green is a colour that has strong associations with nature and the natural world. It has a calming, soothing effect that aids concentration and can even help to relieve pain. It’s no surprise that, when people are about to appear on a TV show, they’re usually taken to a green room before the programme starts so they can calm their nerves. In lighting and interior design, green represents health, harmony, and ambition.

Red is a colour that’s associated with warmth and comfort. It’s also a vibrant, intense colour that can make you feel powerful and confident. Using red light in the evening can make us feel happier and lead to a better night’s sleep because it encourages our pineal gland to release melatonin. In lighting and interior design, red represents warmth, romance, passion, and friendship.

Blue is a colour that’s tranquil and peaceful. In a workplace, blue décor and blue-hued lighting can increase productivity, and make people feel more calm and secure. Blue is also a very grounding and spiritual colour that’s been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature. Intense blue can lift our spirits and fill us with emotional energy. In lighting and interior design, blue demonstrates confidence, tranquillity, and good health.

Yellow is a colour with a lot of different characteristics. It’s bright and cheerful, and it can make people feel happy and energised. It’s great for social situations, or brainstorming sessions when you need everyone to feel wide awake and stimulated. However, over-exposure to yellow can make people more aggressive and ill-tempered. Research has shown that babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. In lighting and interior design, yellow alleviates depression (when it’s used carefully!), promotes warmth and happiness, and it’s a great attention-getter.

Purple is a soothing, mysterious colour that’s linked to wealth, wisdom and spirituality. Light purple can inspire us and make us more creative as well as reduce emotional and mental stress, but dark purple can lower our mood. In lighting and interior design, purple represents ambition, creativity, and free-thinking.

Orange is a warming colour that’s great for creativity. If you want to feel enthusiastic about a new idea or need to put your imagination to work, orange is a great colour to choose for your lighting and decor. It’s also a colour that’s linked with change, so orange-hued lighting is fantastic for lifting your mood or helping you think and feel differently about a situation. In lighting and interior design, orange portrays warmth, prosperity, energy, and happiness.

Pink is a confusing colour. Although it’s traditionally associated with love, romance, and femininity, and can have quite a nurturing, calming effect, some people can become agitated by pink if they’re exposed to it for too long. Of all colours, pink is the one that draws the most varied responses. It can be considered vibrant and creative, or cloying and childish. Some sports teams even paint the rival team’s locker room pink to make them less aggressive, so it could be an excellent colour to use if you want to win an argument!

White is a colour that’s linked to purity, innocence, and cleanliness. White lighting is often used to add highlights in a room or to make an interior seem more spacious. It’s also a popular colour to use in home and office design, because it gives off a feeling of freshness, and can create the perfect ‘clean slate’ so you can gradually layer other colours on top of it. It’s a great colour for starting on a new project, or for conveying a sense of new beginnings.

Black is a colour that a lot of people associate with darkness and depression. However, the Chinese art of feng shui – which has grown increasingly popular among architects and interior designers – believes that black represents power and prosperity and can also bring calm and creativity. In lighting and interior design, black portrays strength, elegance, prestige, and mystery.

Which of these is your favourite colour?

Which of these colours represents how you’re feeling right now?

If you could change the lighting colour in your home (which is easy once you’ve installed our fabulous LED colour-changing light bulbs), what colour or shade would you choose next?

Not sure? Not a problem!

One of the many benefits of smart LED colour-changing lightbulbs is that you’ve got 16 million different colours to choose from, so you’ll never run out of options! You can control their brightness, colour, and transition settings via an app on your smartphone or tablet, or merely by instructing your home-office assistant to do it for you. Just imagine that; all the colours of the rainbow available to you every moment of every day, always ready to lift your mood and create the perfect ambience whenever you need it! Think about how much easier lockdown could be, if you had smart LED colour-changing bulbs installed in your home right now.

But if you’re not that lucky, here’s the really good news…


We can’t wait to see you and assist you with all your home or office lighting and lighting accessory needs. So, if you’d like to know more about LED colour-changing light bulbs or any of the other home lighting or Smart tech innovations we’ve talked about over the last few months, please come in and say hello and we’ll be delighted to personally show you all the incredible deals and options we’ve got available.

We’ll feature more details about our reopening in our next blog. If anything changes because the government alters its plans, we’ll post the information as early as possible on our website and social media. However, all being well, we’re looking forward to welcoming you back to Oliver Lamps from the 1st of July onwards! In the meantime, if you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028 or drop us an email at [email protected]

Take care, keep safe, and we’ll see you very soon!

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Get ready for our reopening!

Our Show room

We’re really excited to be reopening on Wednesday July 1st.

We don’t know about you, but it feels like the lockdown lasted forever!

Over the past few days we’ve been working hard to make our shop COVID-19 safe, while ensuring our lovely customers will still be able to browse as comfortably as possible. Passers-by might even have seen us putting stickers on the pavement outside the front door, and carefully rearranging everything inside so that social distancing rules will always be observed. We’ve thought long and hard about our reopening, and throughout the entire quarantine period we’ve been careful to follow only the very best medical advice.

Ever since COVID-19 began, the health and wellbeing of our customers and team has been more important to us than anything else. Even though lockdown has eased and life is slowly returning back to normal(ish) again, that’s still the case. We want all our visitors to walk into our shop knowing they’re in safe hands, so you can enjoy your experience and make the most of all the wonderful lighting and interior design concepts we have on offer.

As a result, you might notice a few changes in our opening hours.

On Wednesday July 1st and Thursday July 2nd, we’ll be open as usual. However, just like many other businesses that are starting to find their feet again, we’re extremely mindful that a lot of people are currently feeling anxious about the easing of the lockdown. As a result, we’re going to keep a close eye on customer demand and adjust our days and hours to match whatever suits you all best. This means that on some days our opening hours may be different, and on occasional days we may not even be open at all.

We hope you’ll bear with us while everything settles down. This is a challenge a lot of businesses are facing right now, and we don’t want to inconvenience anybody. Because our shop is quite limited in size (we like to describe it as “small but perfectly formed”!) we’ve had to reduce the number of team members that are working on site so we can maximise space and keep everybody safe, which also has an impact on how we can run things.

So, if you want to visit us from July 3rd onwards, please give us a quick call before you leave home, just to make sure we’re open. Rest assured that we’ll get back to business-as-usual as quickly as we can.

And now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the fabulousness that’s waiting for you when you get here!

Our bargain priced GU10 spots were such a big hit during our grand opening in January that we thought we’d celebrate our reopening by doing it all again! For the first few days (or until our supply runs out) we’ll be selling GU10 spots at the unbeatable price of £1.50 per lamp, or 5 for £5.

We’ve also got a fully loaded sale table waiting for you to dive in and grab some incredible deals!

Reopening week visitors will also have first choice of the amazing new stock that came in just before lockdown, especially our wide variety of gorgeous table lamps. We’ve got sleek industrial designs, classy antique styles, and many more. They’re all beautiful, and we’re so happy we’ve finally been able to unbox them and put them on display for you to take home!

In fact, before you come to the shop, why not look back over some of the blogs we’ve published over the past few months and remind yourself of some of the brilliant things you can do when you come to Oliver Lamps? Remember our recent articles about how colour changing LED lights can brighten your mood and jazz up your video calls with family and friends? Well, now we’re reopening you can take a look for yourself and choose the colourful LED lighting system that will totally transform your home and quiz nights! Or what about our pieces on desk lamps and children’s nightlights? You’ll love all the different choices we’ve currently got in stock! Do you recall our blogs about the perfect outdoor lighting for your house and garden and smart tech that will make your home safer? Now that the summer’s here, this is the optimum time to come to Oliver Lamps and make all that a reality! Want to get creative with your interior design as well as your lighting? In that case, you won’t want to miss our especially chosen selection of stylish soft furnishings! Or maybe all you need right now are some batteries for your remote controls? We’ve even got those too, at really reasonable prices.

If you’re a regular reader you might remember how, before the lockdown, we said we hoped to start working with other small businesses in the local area, especially those that produce hand crafted products. Well, we’re making small steps towards that by stocking some wonderful artisan soaps and toiletries. Considering what’s been happening over the past few months, that feels like terrific timing!

Finally, please remember that we’re always here to help or take your orders via phone and email, even on the days when our shop isn’t open. Just give us a call on 01328 855028 or email [email protected].

Stay safe, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you soon!