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I recently had some light fixtures replaced, and in the process discovered what a complete difference the type of bulb you use will make.
Now, I knew that different types of light bulbs would throw out different colors of light, but this was a really dramatic example, so I took a picture.
The two bulbs on either end are regular compact fluorescent bulbs. The one in the middle is a "daylight" bulb that supposedly mimics the color of normal sunlight.
Using the sunlight bulbs makes a dramatic difference in the colors that we're seeing in the house. And it can probably make a dramatic difference in the colors on a cake.
I assume that everyone has had the same experience that I have, where you have a flower or icing that's perfectly matched to a color, then you get it to the venue and it looks different. This is why. The venue probably has a different type of lighting than your workspace does, so it affects how the cake looks.
Since there's no good way to mimic the light in every venue for each cake, and the human eye will adjust and see colors in relation to the other things around them in whatever space they're in, there's no reason to try to mimic the lighting in venues in your work area. But just for your own information, the daylight bulbs are much nicer than the yellower light the fluorescent bulbs create. Look for bulbs that say "daylight" on them the next time you're buying replacements and see what I mean.
And in the meantime, tell customers that you can't guarantee 100% accurate matches on colors. It just isn't going to happen all the time!
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com