Stage lighting often is best learned through hands-on experience. Whether you are new to stage lighting or simply helping out on a local event, there are a few tricks the professionals use that may help make your first event successful.


Face First

Determine your front (face) lighting needs before any other lighting. These lights let the audience see what's going on, so if you are low on lights or power sources, this is where you need to focus your design.

Plan Power

Know your power sources and limitations well in advance of the event. Ask the venue's electrician or building supervisor for any information on the circuits you will be using. Some venues use standard 2,400-watt circuits while others may have 4,000 or 6,000-watt capabilities.

Check Online

Find out the brand and model of lighting console you will be using for the performance and visit the manufacturer's website. Most manufacturers offer free PDF user's guides so you can familiarize yourself with the light board before you need to use it.


Frequently check with others working on the same production to ensure your lighting works with the scenic and costume elements. For example, green costumes and paint require bright, warm light to appear true to color, and reds appear brown under red light.

Color Tips

Choose pale-pink general lighting when working with a wide variety of skin tones; try soft amber if the performers all have pale skin. Try to balance warm and cool colors to provide a variety of options to change the look periodically and avoid tiring the audience members' eyes.