8 Event Lighting Tips and Tricks5 min read

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Whether you’re using your own equipment, taking advantage of lighting rental options, or using a combination approach, when you are preparing the lighting for an event, you’ll have a lot of details to manage. If you don’t tackle it all the right way, it can quickly become overwhelming, even for experienced lighting designers.

Luckily, by embracing the right event lighting tips and tricks, you can set yourself up for success. If you want to make sure you’re in the best position possible, here are eight event lighting tips and tricks that can help.

1. Ask Any Question That Comes to Mind

Whether you were hired to handle the lighting for an event or are managing the lighting for your own production, questions are your best friend. They let you find out the critical details, ensuring you can obtain the right lighting rental equipment, position rigs properly, and more.

Think about every detail you may need to know. Then, identify a question that will get you that information. Some example questions you may want to ask include:

  • What is the purpose of this event?
  • Am I dealing with a limited budget?
  • What are the features of the event space?
  • Is there any lighting equipment or rigging in place, or will I need to bring or install it all?
  • Are there any room features that could impact lighting placement?
  • Does the event have a color scheme or overall theme?
  • Will the entire event focus on a single point – like a stage – or are multiple areas involved?
  • Can the venue provide lighting? If not, do I have enough of my own, or will I need lighting rental equipment?
  • Are there other vendors who will also be setting up equipment that I may need to account for?

That should give you an idea of the kinds of questions that can be beneficial.

2. Design Your Lighting Layout in Advance

lighting at an indoor event

When you’re lighting an event, you don’t want to arrive without a solid plan. In many cases, lighting design software can help you determine lighting placements with ease. However, if you need to go the non-technical route, a drawing or sketch can also work.

The purpose of the layout plan is to help you account for other items in the space. You can outline the position of furniture, doors, equipment, and anything else that may limit where you can place lighting, preventing mistakes that may impact the installation.

3. Whenever Possible, Go with LEDs

Generally speaking, LEDs are the best option for lighting events. They generate less heat and cost less to run. Plus, many can support a range of colors, allowing you to customize the look of your lighting whenever the need arises.

4. Showcase Areas of Interest

Each event will have unique areas of interest. For some, it may simply be a stage. For others, it could include dance floors, buffet tables, and seating areas.

Determine what the areas of interest are for the event. Then position your in-house, personal, or rental lighting to draw attention to those spaces.

Walkways are usually important to highlight, too. They ensure people can move through the space with greater ease, making it simple to identify preset paths for foot traffic. Make sure you don’t overlook them when planning your lighting

5. Embrace the Power of Color

Colored lighting can have a major impact on the look and feel of any event. When used strategically, you can create a sense of optimism, imbue a moment with drama, and much more.

Plus, colored LED lights can make it easy for attendees to see clearly without being overly bright. You can create gentle glows, ensuring the space feels comfortable without overwhelming anyone.

Finally, you can actually use color to guide people through spaces. You can identify walkways, eating areas, and other spaces solely through smart color choices. Once people notice the pattern, it can help them navigate the site with greater ease.

6. Light the Whole Experience

Events may take place mainly in a specific room or building, but the attendee experience extends beyond that. For them, their arrival in the parking lot or down a lead-up hallway may signal the start of the event in their eyes.

Consider how you can use lighting to set the tone on the journey into the event space. You may want to spotlight the entrance, project a logo with a gobo, or take other steps to build up anticipation, making the entire approach more engaging.

7. Take Advantage of Lighting Effects

Simple effects like patterned gobos, color transitions, and similar options can be incredibly impactful. If a lit area seems bland, consider whether an effect can give it extra life. Sometimes, even a simple design can be surprisingly effective.

8. Have Fun with It

When you’re designing the lighting for an event, don’t be afraid to have a little fun. At times, an unconventional choice could be the highlight of the design. The thing is, you won’t know unless you try.

Don’t be afraid to explore different options during the planning phases. Test out effects, colors, and more, allowing you to create a unique tone that makes the event special. That way, you can bring something different to the table, ensuring the event is genuinely a standout moment for the attendees, hosts, and you.

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