Uplighting at Weddings

uplighting

By Chase Jewell, “Sound and Lighting Tutor”

Uplighting is architectural accent lighting where you focus on finding the architectural features such as columns or molding in an event room and bring attention to them. Uplighting also relates to turning a plain wall into a focal point by using fanning, raking or just lights only. I’ll explain what fanning and raking are in a moment.

Under Table Accent Lighting

This is a visually appealing effect that is best used in combination with other lighting effects. Brides will love it if at weddings, you light the head table with under table accent lighting along with some back lighting on the wall behind them. I suggest that you also use it with other key tables such as the bridal party’s table, and the parents of the bride or groom’s table.

Just use one of your uplights for each designated table pointing straight up. This will create a great wash effect under the table and cause the tablecloth to glow. You could also affix a par fixture to the center of the table and point it down. This will make it look like the table is floating on the light.

Uplighting Options

A lot of DJs spread their fixtures along walls. While this creates a great wash effect throughout the entire room, it can also take the focus of the room away from spots where it really should be. If using this method I recommend placing your fixtures 5 to 10 feet apart, and using an even number of fixtures on a non focal point wall.

Another option you have is to only place uplighting behind the head table using an odd number of lights with the center light behind the guests of honor. Doing it this way, you’ll put the focus directly on the bride and groom and accent the wall behind them.

You can also use fanning. This term means you put your uplights into groups of three and place them right next to each other. Point one straight up and angle the other two away from the center beam. This creates a great wash effect for the room, and also puts focus on a wall that would otherwise have none.

The last uplighting technique I’ll mention is raking. This term means you angle your lights either all in one direction toward plain walls, or alternate them angled in different directions to create joining and crossing beams on the walls. This both washes more surface area of the walls and also creates a wash effect for all lighter color objects in the room.

Selling Uplighting to Clients

The best way to sell uplighting to your clients is to show them video of past uplighting you have done at weddings. Explain the options as you go but do not overwhelm them with too many choices. If you don’t have any video you can use pictures but by all means get some footage as quickly as possible if you plan to sell uplighting as a regular add-on to your DJ services. Be sure to add all new event footage to your youtube.com channel.

How much you charge for uplighting at weddings depends on the number of effects chosen by the clients. At my company we charge $300 for up to ten lights and $600 for up to twenty lights. I love how much uplighting at weddings adds to my bottom line!

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Technical Consultant