Lighting Tip | How To Light A Dance Floor

How To Light A Dance Floor

This is a question I get asked pretty much everyday. How do you light a dance floor? There are a couple ways you can do this, but I am going to take 60 seconds to type out the exact way we light dance floors. Check out the diagram below to get a visual idea of the technique.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 2.25.25 PM.png

The fast answer is to SPLIT LIGHT the dance floor. The general idea would be to place one light on one corner/side of the dance floor and place your second light on the exact opposite side/corner. This style is awesome for a couple reasons. Besides the fact that it will make all of your dancing footage look amazing, it also serves a purpose. It get’s your lights off your cameras. Why is this important? This part is 100% stylistic but I love to have my lights off camera for two reasons. First, it makes it so no-one knows when you’re filming them. So, you’ll be able to get the most natural interactions of people instead of them knowing a camera is on them. Second, the lights blend in with the decor of the reception. Giving you a nicely lit dance floor all night long… regardless of how low the venue dims the lights!

How should you shoot this? Honestly, every spot on the dance floor will look awesome when lit like this. But, the sweet spots will be the opposite corners of the lights. You’ll get this very nice contrast of shadows and great looking subjects.

Speaking of shadows. When using off camera lights, try to get them as high as possible. This will make the shadows fall on the dance floor and not the person dancing behind them. It also stops your lights from being blocked when the bridal party lines up along the dance floor.

Another tip is to find the right balance between having your lights close enough to the dance floor and far enough away. You want them in a place that won’t create a tripping hazard. Remember, we want to add to the day not set traps for the guests.

The Gear

When it comes to lighting and stands there are so many options. These options will range from affordable to ridiculously expensive. But don’t worry, you don’t need to make a massive investment when you’re just learning lighting. Below is my go to starter kit for reception lighting. You’re going to want 2 of each!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Michael Hook