Lighting foundations

Learn the core lighting foundations that will set the stage for excellent lighting at your church.

Overview: The three fundamental stage lighting foundations of front wash, back light, and atmospheric. Each serves a specific purpose in working together to create a visually appealing, well lit stage and engaging worship atmosphere. Read on to learn about the foundational elements…



1. Front Wash:

Illuminating the Subject: Front wash lighting is positioned up and out in front of the stage at about a 45 degree angle. Its primary purpose is to illuminate the worship team, pastor and others on the stage. This lighting source (the most important lighting source!) ensures that the congregation (and cameras) can see those on stage clearly. This is the #1 most important foundation and it should be your top priority.

Visual Connection: It establishes a visual connection between the congregation, pastor and worship team, making it easier for attendees to connect with the message or music. Proper front lighting helps convey facial expressions and body language, enhancing the overall worship experience.

Highlighting Praise and Worship: Front wash lighting is essential during praise and worship sessions, allowing worshippers to see the faces of the musicians and singers.



2. Back Light:

Separating Subjects from Background: Backlighting is placed up and behind key positions on your stage (such as the pulpit and worship team area) and serves to separate them from the background. This creates a sense of depth and three-dimensionality, making people stand out from the stage environment.

Visual Emphasis: Backlighting can emphasize the presence of those on camera so that the video image is less flat. If you live stream, then back light is your #2 priority after front wash.

Creativity: Backlighting can also be used to cast color and light onto the stage adding to worship moments and giving you additional creative options when creating lighting designs.



3. Atmosphere Lighting:

Creating an Ambient Environment: Atmosphere lighting encompasses additional lighting locations such as wall wash, floor kick, side fill, pixel strip lights, gobo fx.

Worship Enhancement: Atmosphere lighting can incorporate specific color palettes, transitions, and effects that align with the the worship music set and sermon. It also adds visual interest to keep people engaged.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Atmosphere lighting is versatile and can adapt to different segments of the service, helping to create a dynamic and engaging environment. It can shift from serene and contemplative to uplifting and celebratory, depending on the moment. This is where creativity comes into play when programming your worship sets.


There you have it… three foundational lighting elements that work together to enhance the overall worship experience. They help convey the message, create ambiance, and foster a sense of connection between the congregation and those on stage. Well-executed stage lighting can evoke emotions, emphasize the significance of the moment, and provide a visually engaging backdrop.