Lighting Hire Terminology for Event Organisers

Whether you’re organising a friend’s wedding, you’re a venue manager or a professional event organiser, you will need to specify lighting for your events. When talking to lighting hire companies it can be helpful to understand some basic lighting terminology so that you can clearly explain what you need.


Uplighters are usually LED lights that are placed at the base of a wall, pillar, piece of architecture or stage backdrop to create a vibrant was of colour which is often reflected by the surface into the space giving  a lovely glow in the room. Uplighter hire usually starts from around £10 per uplighter to around £40 but the price depends on the quality and brightness required. Wireless uplighter are more expensive to hire and usually start at around £20 per day. Uplighter can be used indoors and outdoors.

Pinspot Lighting

If you’re organising a dinner or drinks reception, pinspots are often used in conjunction with uplighters. Uplighters around the perimeter of a venue introduce some beautiful colour but it is by turning off the venue’s main lights and then highlighting each table (whether that's for a sit down dinner of poseur tables for a drinks reception) with an individual pinspot that you can really start to create and own the atmosphere of your event. A pinspot creates a lovely pool of light in the centre of each table.

Gobo Projection / Gobo Lighting

A gobo is a metal or glass template that is inserted into a light. The light shines through the template and the image that is printed or cut onto the template is projected on the surface that the light is shining at.

Gobo projection  / gobo lighting is often used for projecting event or brand logos onto walls ceilings and floors either indoors or outdoors. However, gobos are also found in most event lights and it is these gobos that are used to project patterns of all kinds at event.

Moving Head Lights

A moving head light is an intelligent lighting fixture that can move (pan and tilt) to create exciting lighting effects at your event. Moving head lights come in three main varieties:

Moving head profiles are used to project defined, but wide beams of light in haze or for projecting patterns and logos from gobos. Profile moving head fixtures are often used for lighting presenters or entertainers on stage.

Moving head beams have a narrower and more defined beam of light than profiles and are more often used for effects.

Moving head washes have a much wider beam angle than profiles and beams and don’t have the option for inserting gobos. Washes are generally less focussed and have a soft edge to the beam. Washes are usually used for colouring large areas of stages and venues. Washes are often chosen when haze isn’t used as the vivid colour wash and the appearance of the lights themselves can contribute more effectively than profiles and beams to the overall effect especially in the content of music concerts, gala dinners and awards ceremonies.


Haze can be water or oil based and is the term used to describe a light mist that is put into the air around the stage or the whole venue. By introducing this mist, the beams coming from lights can be clearly seen. It’s a bit like seeing the sun shining through the window – you only see the beam of light from the sun if there are some dust particles for it to reflect off. Haze is used on all event types from conferences to weddings, awards ceremonies and gala dinners.

Follow Spots

A follow spot is a light that is operated by a lighting technician and can be pointed and focussed on moving people or objects. Followspots are used for a whole variety of reasons including:

  • Lighting performers on stage
  • Highlighting winners in the audience and as they walk to stage in awards ceremonies
  • Lighting moving pieces of stage set

IP Rated Lighting

The IP Rating of a light defines how waterproof (or not) it is. This is important to consider when using lights outdoors.