Different Types of Stage Lighting

Different Types of Stage Lighting

As an Event Planner you want to make sure that your performers look good, after all that is going to reflect on you well.  Making them look good requires the right stage lighting when they are on stage.  Lighting can direct an audience’s focus, create a mood, and “sculpt” speakers and performers to make them stand out.  However, it is not as simple as flooding the stage with brightness, you should have an understanding of various stage lighting fixtures and placement options.  

6 Types of Stage Lighting Fixtures

When it comes to lighting the stage, and ultimately the subject on stage, there are numerous types of stage lighting to consider.  A good event production team can assist you to determine what lighting is best for your event and help you determine how to properly light a stage.  However, there are some stage lighting basics that you should be familiar with anyways:


Short for ellipsoidal reflector spotlight, they consist of a projector and a reflector which work together to direct light through a barrel and lens.  It emits a relatively narrow yet powerful beam to illuminate a speaker or performer.


The standard “bulb in a box” does just as it promises, floods the stage with light.  While floodlights are generally unfocused and not really controllable, they provide excellent stage illumination if that is what you are looking for.


If you have a subject that does not like to stand still then a followspot may be what you need.  A followspot light can be moved by an operator or software to track the person as they move about during their speech or performance.  



Fresnel lights were developed for lighthouses before being used as large spotlights at movie premieres and other events.  Now that they do such a great job at bending light at a subject they are making more appearances due to event production companies.  

Par Cans

Short for parabolic aluminized reflectors and called “cans” because the barrel of the original light resembles one. The highly versatile and cost-effective par can may be used to create either a narrow spot or a wide floodlight.  At events they are often used to fill parts of a stage a spotlight will not cover.

Strip Lights

Putting a dynamic speaker or performing on stage?  Strip lights are a good way to offer versatile, multi-colored, and effective illumination.  These strip lights come with a flexible circuit board that is usually covered with a hard gel that can be placed anywhere on a stage. 

 Now, all these types of lighting fixtures can seem overwhelming when planning  an event, but there is no need to worry when there are great production teams that will do that hard work for you!  These teams are great at working with you and your performers to ensure the event goes just how you imagined it to.

4 Methods of Lighting Fixture Placement

Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the types of lighting that are available, it is time to consider the placement of these fixtures.  This will depend on a number of variables, such as the look you hope to achieve, ceiling height, and the weight and throw distance of the fixture.  Here are four examples of lighting fixture placement.

Single-Point Lighting

The most simple type of placement, single-point lighting provides a natural look  like you might expect from the sun itself.  The light comes in placed in front of the object, and while it is an attention-getter it can also give the subject on stage a flat two-dimensional feel and look.  

Two-Point Lighting 

This lighting method places a light in front of and behind the subject on stage to give more a three-dimensional appearance.  Often, the light behind the speaker or performer will be a different color to add more dimension and sculpting.  

Three-Point Lighting

Using two lights in front of the subject on stage and one in back, this is where stage lighting techniques begin to get real.  A major benefit of three-point lighting is that most shadows are removed from the perspective of the audience.  

Four-Point Lighting 

Considering capturing the presentation or performance?  Four-point lighting is the way to go as it eliminates all shadows, which can look cool in person but be problematic on video or live streams.  Four-point lighting is the same as three-point lighting, with an additional light placed in front of the subject. 


Contact Art of The Event for Your Lighting Needs!

If you are looking to put on a state of the art event be sure to contact Art of The Event today!  Our production team has experience when it comes to setting up lighting fixtures to ensure that it compliments all performers.  Get started by calling us at 781-670-9292 or by filling out a contact form on our website.  We look forward to working with you!

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