We go about our lives everyday and never really give a second thought to the power of light. With and adjustment of light we can create a mood of happiness, sadness, dread, excitement, and any slew of emotions that we are aiming for. Yet, we don't really stop to think about it. We move about our days and know that it is present, but don't stop to think about how it really effects us. You can take the exact same path to work day in and day out for years and just a change in the lighting can change how we feel about our day. Sure there are other factors that can attribute to this as well, but light is more powerful that we realize.
When I photograph people I shape my lights to tell a story. I can make a corporate CEO look powerful and domineering, or kind and approachable. I can make a room look happy and inviting or gloomy and full of despair. This powerful tool is the cornerstone for a photographer. Knowing how to control it and shape it is what can set an amateur apart from a master. I take great care when I am shaping my light to ensure that I am creating the correct mood intended for the message that I want the image to portray.
This is something you can test for yourself. When you're at home how do you normally light your rooms? Do you keep them all on full blast, or do you only turn on a few accent lights? Without realizing it we are creating the atmosphere to influence our emotions, and energy. Another way to see this effect is visit a park on a bright sunny day and take note of how you feel. Then visit that same location on an overcast day. How has your mood been altered?
It is important when you are designing the lighting for your life, be that at work, home, or anywhere that you have control over how the lighting is setup to pay attention to this. How you setup the lighting will directly influence how you feel; full of energy or tired, happy or melancholy.