Where Do I Focus My Lights?

You may have just read the headline to this article and thought “duh!  At the stage!” as the answer to the question “Where do I focus my lights?”

And while that’s a great start, what do you do once you’ve got the stage covered?  And more importantly, do you have to light every square inch of the stage?

When it comes down to pointing your lights into their focuses, you may be able to do more than you think with the lights you have.

Today, I want to share with you 5 places that you can point your lights, including a few you may not have  thought of.

Where Do I Focus My Lights?

Before you get totally immersed in the fun, I want to go over the ground rules.  This guide is applicable to both moving lights and non-moving lights.

Because moving lights can move, they are able to carry multiple (or all) of the positions below during a show.  But other than that, the information applies to both types of fixtures.

The Stage

Band performs on stageThe A-1 most important place to light in any show in the stage.

Now, as I mentioned above, you don’t necessarily have to light the whole stage if you and the performers agree to the out-of-bounds zones.  This can be useful if you’re doing a show on a big stage where you just don’t need all that space.  Then you’ve freed up some lights to cover other parts of the room.

When I’m focusing my lighting, I aim to cover the stage fully, but if I have extra lights, that is a blessing which I can use to light the 4 other places in the room.

Your Set

Set LightingNo matter what kind of event you’re lighting, the set around the stage is the 2nd most important space to light as you focus your lighting.

Sets can be some of the most fun objects to light, especially when they have 3-dimensional form.

Never done anything with sets?  Check out this post for some really simple ideas to get started!

Of course, if there’s no set, just keep swimming down the page.

The Audience

Placing a few light beams into the audience can give you a wonderful effect during any song that requires audience participation.

You can also use some blue or other deep colored lights over the audience during ballads to make them feel closer and more intimate to the band on stage.

The Ceiling

Ceiling LightingSimilar to putting lights in the audience, pointing lights at the ceiling can give you a very dynamic audience effect for times when the band wants to see the audience.

It’s much more theatrical feeling than turning on the house lights!


That’s right, one of the very best places to position your lights is nowhere at all!

What I really mean is that you don’t have to keep every light turned on for your whole show.

Experiment with turning some of your fixtures off at times, and see the results of the concept called dynamic range (just like in audio).  Even if you only have a few lights to use, it can be a really cool moment when you go from 1 light to 6 being on at once – use it to your advantage!

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