We gave you a vocabulary lesson about gels and gobos last week with our Lighting Your Event post. This week, we’re turning our eyes and ears to a couple amazing lighting designers for some great advice. Todd Finch is the President of MAGNUM, a production company based in Atlanta, and Julian Bradley is the Owner of ESP Lighting, a company that specializes in LED lights in the Denver area.

WM EVENTS: What is the most common misconception about event lighting?
TODD FINCH: That it is expensive. Just like anything, it can be expensive, but you can also use it in subtle ways that don’t cost a fortune. Simple uplights of color add a big effect, which is not expensive. It more like an accessory.
JULIAN BRADLEY: That it’s too expensive. Even some basic well positioned light fixtures can add a huge amount of excitement and energy to an event.

Kilpatrick Townsend Lounge WM Events William Fogler Julian Bradley Denver Colorado

WM: How can people get the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to lighting?
TF: Color. Uplights add nice splashes of color that linen or chairs or other things just can’t do. It really takes the otherwise ‘neutral’ space and brands it with the event colors. Similarly, gobo/pattern with color and texture can do the same. Many of the event spaces are neutral for a reason. If you want it yours, add color. (The pink at the High Museum was a great example of this!)
JB: Plan as far ahead as possible or be prepared to pay more for “last minute”. A creative, well thought out lighting design that fits within your budget will take time to create. MORE TIME = BETTER DESIGN.

William Fogler, WM Events PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

WM: What is your biggest frustration as a lighting designer?
TF: The ‘budget question’. Anytime a ‘design’ comes into play, a budget matters… large or small, it is a perimeter that must be taken into consideration. I think we are so conditioned in other areas of our life to shop price, negotiate down, don’t show all your cards, etc., but when it comes to ‘designing’, designers are really on your side- building a vision of what you want, what you envision and what you can afford.
JB: Champagne dreams with only beer budgets to pay for them.

Billups Wedding Renewal WM Events William Fogler

WM: What is the biggest help you can get from a client about their event?
TF: Know as many of the outside perimeters as you can- time frames, logistics with other vendors, other design elements. Tahe more information the better. Designers can always throw out the information that is not relative, but having more can bring to light a key piece that helps lead you to the end result.
JB: Great question! I would say prior to consulting with any designer, start by writing down some basic details or ideas about your event and then work up from there. Put in as much thought as possible into the type of event you want to have or what kind of event is it. A serious corporate meeting that requires the speakers on stage evenly lit in white light?  OR  A celebration that needs a more creative approach? Have the venue and the event date been confirmed yet? Do you have any favorite colors that you would like to see used at your event? Will there be dancing? Or a performance that will need to be lit?  The more details a client can provide earlier on – the more realistic I can be with creative suggestions, price quotes, etc.

Kids II Atrium WM Events William Fogler PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

We hope that helps you prepare for the lighting portion of your next party or wedding. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you. Don’t hesitate to call us, using the number on the contact page, or leave a comment section below.


-William Fogler
WM Events

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.