What Are the Types of Event Lighting?

types of lighting

Good lighting augments the overall ambience and feeling of an event. But unfortunately, it is one aspect that is often overlooked. It is understandable too. 

From creating the list of people to invite, deciding the date and venue, to finding the right organizers, there is a lot on the plate to ponder on and finalize. 

Let us say it out loud – a few or more production glitches may sometimes be okay to the audience, but poor lighting and audio result in a dent that is hard to rectify. 

In contrast, focusing on adding lighting that goes well with the occasion and the ambience can transform an ordinary event into an extraordinary one without you having to pay thousands of dollars more. 

This article discusses the different types of lighting and their importance. 

Types of events that require lighting effects

Though most event types require good lighting, it is vital to understand that the kind of lighting differs based on the occasion for which they are used.

For each type of event, addressing the specific lighting needs is crucial, and you can explore a comprehensive range of lighting solutions tailored to different types of lighting used for events.

Here are the event types that you’ll come across:- 

  • Virtual Event 
  • Sports Event
  • Sales Incentive Event
  • Special Event
  • Launching Event 
  • Fashion Shows
  • Exhibition Roadshow
  • Meeting Conference
  • Concert Live Performance 
  • Award Night Gala 

Why is lighting for an event important? 

Humans put a lot of emphasis on what they see and how they see it. Being visual creatures, we need the right technology to help us find the correct elements to focus on. 

With the right event lighting equipment and setup, we find it easier to pay attention to the most critical aspects during any event. 

Here is how lighting can contribute to any event and enhance its overall effectiveness – 

Illuminate and focus

No. No. No. Illuminate does not mean that you throw light on everything. It also does not mean turning the light to signal that the event is up and running. 

Instead, illumination refers to creating a  centre of focus and ensuring that your audience focuses on what you want them to at a certain point in time.

Good lighting helps to focus on what needs to be showcased and hide elements from attention when required. 

Focus is the keyword here. 

Lighting can make something the biggest attraction or the single-most distraction, depending on how you want to portray it. 

For example, on an Award Gala Night, the star who receives an award is the biggest attraction for the moment. So, the lighting is focused on them as soon as their name is announced and continues till they receive the award and stay on the podium. But as soon as they part, the lighting is shifted to the host. 

It helps maintain audience engagement and keeps them in the loop without feeling tired or unnecessarily distracted. 

Set tone and atmosphere

The right lighting sets the tone for what is to follow. Hype helps in improving engagement, and it is no different when it comes to events. So, selecting the right tone and atmosphere is a key enabler in creating a lasting impression on your audience. 

An experienced lighting system rental service partner will help set up an ecosystem tweaked according to the venue and the event needs. It helps in delivering the wow factor that contributes to making the event a success. 

For this to happen in a real-life scenario, the lighting organizer has to be smart and dynamic. The core idea is not to use the same setup for all event types and keep tweaking it according to the general mood. If they can crack the code, it will help in creating immediate and stunning results. 

Evoke and influence emotions

Emotions are something that we can influence using multiple elements around us and lighting is one such factor. 

Your outsourced lighting organization can help set up the effects depending on the event type and how they want the audience to feel. 

For example, if they want the audience to be cheerful, a mix of bright colours is usually the way. In contrast, the colour blue denotes calmness and creates a cooling effect. Similarly, green resembles nature, and white is for purity and cleanliness. 

Lighting is often combined with audio to evoke certain emotions and reinstate how you want your audience to feel.

Also read: Lighting Systems- How Do They Work (+Latest Technologies)

What are the different types of lighting?

Now that you know how lighting can contribute to a setup, the next step is understanding the different types. 

Interestingly, light setups can be differentiated based on their function. 

So, before we discuss some exciting event lighting ideas, let us delve into the three different lighting types ‌you are most likely to come across – 

Functional or decorative lighting

As the name suggests, the purpose of functional lighting is to enable the audience to see the key feature of the event or the moment. It could be the presenter, performers, or a product. 


These are usually hung from a distance or mounted on an overhead structure. There are several different lightings that fall into this category, including venue’s lighting, backlighting, spotlights, and washes.

The purpose of decorative lighting is to evoke certain emotions from the audience which resonate with the event’s theme. In addition, they are also focused on decor and other elements to set the entire event’s tone from the very onset. 

Static or moving lights

Depending on the equipment’s ability to move and how it is utilized in a given setup, lighting can be dynamic or static. It can also vary depending on the specific event type and the utility. 

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The example of static lighting in an event ranges from PAR lights and Gobos to backlights and fixed spotlights. 

However, most modern event lighting solutions have started preferring moving or intelligent lights for most of their tasks. 

These are usually fitted to a moving object manually or are intelligently controlled. Today, professional event managers also have moving lights with gobo plates that emulate static ones and create different colour tones. 

Outdoor or indoor event lighting

These are the easiest to decipher, but the bifurcation is not relevant for the types of fixtures that can be used. Instead, outdoor or indoor lighting can usually be used interchangeably depending on the focus, and if you have the mechanism. 

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Indoor lights are more versatile and provide the user with a plethora of options. These can be used to easily emulate multiple  moods to keep in sync with the event theme. You can install decorative lights or functional lights in creative ways to augment the overall indoor ambience. 

But outdoor lighting depends on several external factors, such as the time of the day and weather. Most outdoor lighting setups don’t work because of natural light. Once the natural light bids goodbye, the opportunities for outdoor lighting are endless. 

Event lighting ideas

Event lighting is a highly subjective but diverse field that presents many opportunities to the event lighting design theme. Here are the different types of lighting ideas ‌that when used can enhance the feel of your event:  – 

  • LED uplights – These use LED lights to brighten up your corporate events, and create columns of lights to conjure an optical illusion of wider spaces.
  • Wall Washer – As the name suggests, these completely wash walls with light. 
  • Ellipsoidal spotlight – These emit a sharp circle of light on a specific surface, and are best used to highlight an object or human being.
  • PAR light – The idea has been borrowed from the car industry and has an array of sharp LEDs to illuminate an area. 
  • Follow spot
  • Gobos – Short for GOes Between Optics, these are static or dynamic lighting used to project a logo or a pattern. 
  • Balloon lighting – These are customizable, inflated lights, that can be used in a variety of scenarios. 
  • 3D Mapping –  A relatively new invention, these can be used to project anything on to a surface and change the entire feel of an event. 
  • Architectural lighting – These are used to augment the overall look and feel of the decor, and focuses on ergonomics, aesthetic appeal, and energy efficiency. 
  • Illuminated beverages – These are light-filled ice cubes or cups that are excellent for dinners and other similar events.
  • Profile lighting – These are employed in events to enhance a particular spot. Profile lighting is also used as decorative lighting method to create contrasts in order to attract viewers’ attention.

For more information, read “20 Jaw-dropping creative lighting design ideas for events

How to choose a professional event lighting company?

A certified professional is more likely to understand your specific needs and create a setup that matches or exceeds your expectations. 

But to ensure that, you must first know how to choose a professional event lighting system rental service

Here are some tips that can come in handy – 

  • Create a lighting plan with a focus on plotting the main lighting points.
  • Have a budget in mind, and make sure you go for quality over price.
  • Figure out the equipment you need depending on the event type and the setup you have in mind.
  • Make sure that the event lighting is in line with the theme of the event.
  • Look for customizability while choosing amongst the suitable professional event lighting companies.
  • Read the reviews of the professional event lighting service and go through their samples with a keen eye for details.

Wrap up

Event lighting hire service is one of the most underrated and underutilized aspects of an event. People who believe that it can be managed independently are often left disappointed by the end of the event. 

But before choosing the right event lighting rental service for yourself, make sure you have the basics covered and perform enough due diligence. It would help evoke desired emotions and set the stage on fire. 

Contact us at Doremi for your professional lighting system rental supplier for events.

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