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Lighting essentials for the perfect music photoshoot

Some musicians view lighting as an afterthought — but they shouldn’t. In reality, it’s an essential piece of your live rig. It sets the mood and injects drama and excitement into your performance. Beyond that, it projects an air of professionalism. It’s one of the things that separates gigging musicians from garage-playing wannabees. Building a lighting system doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. With just a few lighting essentials in your arsenal, you’ll be able to transform your next gig from something average to something amazing.

If you don’t know the meaning of these pro lighting terms, check out our article on Basic Lighting Terms for Musicians.

Pop-up Lighting Kits

If you’re looking for the perfect entry point into stage lighting, you can’t go wrong with the Chauvet DJ GigBAR Flex. This 3-in-one kit includes three crucial lighting effects — a pair of PAR heads, a pair of derbies, and a built-in strobe. Run a pre-programmed sequence via DMX control, or place it in sound-activated mode for an instant pro-level light show. You can also connect the GigBAR Flex to other fixtures as your lighting rig grows. All lighting effects are LED based, so they run cool and efficiently, and they can be carried and deployed by a single person. This kit includes almost everything you need — just add a tripod stand like the On-Stage Stands SS7761B, and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a bit more bang for your buck, the 4-in-one Chauvet DJ GigBAR 2 ups the ante with a built-in laser effect and included stand.

Wireless DMX

If you’re trying to avoid a mess of cables, Chauvet’s D-Fi USB fixtures can be a serious asset. These fixtures employ a USB transceiver that receives wireless DMX from a D-Fi Hub and FlareCON Air, giving you wireless command of your light show with a DMX controller or your smartphone. The Chauvet DJ 4BAR LT USB supplies you with four pod PAR lights, along with a tripod mount, footswitch, and carry bag. The Chauvet DJ 4BAR USB includes four individual wash lights, each loaded with 108 individual red, green, and blue LEDs, along with a stand and carry bag. The Chauvet DJ 4BAR Flex T USB wash lighting system provides you with four remote-controlled, independently adjustable tri-color LED heads. The Chauvet DJ 4BAR Tri USB gives you the same, along with a tripod stand.

If you want to take your 4BAR fixture to the next level, you can ramp up the energy with a Chauvet DJ 4PLAY moonflower bar. This fixture fortifies your lighting rig with four integrated moonflower effect lights, each with one red, green, and blue LED, for a total of 16 ultra-high-intensity LEDs. You can also use the Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick Pack to add eye-catching visuals to your light show. Place these linear battery-powered LED sticks behind the band, and benefit from added presence and extra energy. Freedom Stick arrays are D-Fi compatible and include a handy carrying case.

Another great wireless DMX solution is ADJ’s WiFLY series. These systems employ a WiFLY EXR Battery and Airstream DMX Bridge, granting you wireless control over your rig from a DMX controller or through Wi-Fi. Sweetwater stocks an impressive range of WiFLY fixtures. The ADJ WiFLY PAR QA5 is a quad-color LED PAR-style fixture with sound-activation mode, automatic programs, DMX macros, and RFC remote compatibility. The ADJ WiFLY Bar QA5 is a quad-color LED bar-style fixture with a similar feature set. Also available is the ADJ WiFLY EXR Dotz PAR — a slick-looking wash lighting fixture with a 36-watt, chip-on-board, flicker-/shadow-free tri-color LED.

PAR Packs

PAR lights are a staple of stage lighting. These fixtures feature a metal housing, mounting bracket, reflector, and socket that accommodate a range of lamp types. You can mount an array of these on an overhead truss like the On-Stage Stands LS7730 and use them to illuminate specific performers or areas of the stage.

If you want a great all-in-one PAR solution, the ADJ Mega Flat Hex Pak is a good choice. It includes four of ADJ’s Mega Hex PAR LED fixtures, all the cables you’ll need, and a wireless remote. This system is a cinch to store and transport and includes a convenient carrying bag. If you’re building a larger rig, the ADJ Mega Flat Pak Plus 8 features eight of ADJ’s Mega PAR Profile Plus RGB LED fixtures, a full set of DMX cables, and a high-quality bag. Another amazing deal is the Chauvet DJ SlimPACK Q12 USB — it boasts four SlimPAR Q12 USB LED PAR fixtures, complete with DMX cables and a bag.

Portable Battery-powered Solutions

It’s not always possible to run cables everywhere you need some light. That’s where wireless/battery PARs come in. These convenient lighting fixtures can be placed almost anywhere. Chauvet DJ’s Freedom PAR Quad-4 supplies up to 20 hours of full, rich, detailed light with minimal multicolor shadows, thanks to four quad-color LEDs. The Chauvet DJ Freedom PAR Tri-6 gives you six tri-color LEDs and boasts similar battery life. Both of these fixtures are compatible with Chauvet’s D-Fi wireless protocol and their IRC wireless remote. If you really want to save money, check out the Chauvet DJ Freedom PAR Quad-4 RGBA Wireless PAR 6-pack — it includes six Freedom PAR Quad-4s, a FlareCON Air, and a protective travel case for a great price!

Chauvet also makes a series of lights that can be controlled via Bluetooth using an app — it doesn’t come any easier than that! The Chauvet DJ SlimPAR T12 BT is a compact wash light with 12 tri-color LEDs that permits on-the-fly dynamic lighting changes from up to 150 feet away. All you need is your smartphone and Chauvet’s BTAir app! The Chauvet DJ SlimPAR Q12 BT offers similar functionality in a 12 quad-color LED configuration. The small footprint of these fixtures makes placing them inside a truss child’s play. They also include a hanging bracket and mounting hardware. The Chauvet DJ COLORband T3 BT is also available. This 40-foot LED bar makes the perfect supplement for your wireless PAR fixtures, delivering spectacular chase effects, dynamic backlighting, and more.

Wedding performers and mobile DJs need quick, easy, and portable lighting solutions. If this describes you, Sweetwater has exactly what you’re looking for. These battery-powered rigs are a breeze to throw around a room to wash walls or drape them with color. They’re also wireless, and you can control them with wireless DMX or with your smart device.

The ADJ Element QA is built around six 5-watt quad-color LEDs, which include an amber filament in addition to the standard red, green, and blue ones. The ADJ Element Hex adds white and UV filaments as well. These easy-to-use fixtures can create a vast range of colors, including warmer pastels and richer oranges. Both include support for WiFly wireless DMX control, and best of all, they’re battery powered and portable. Want to save money? Get the ADJ Element Hex Bundle 6-pack — it includes six Element Hex fixtures, one ADJ WiFLY, and a rolling case at a discounted price.

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