DJs can offer a lot of add-ons, but one of the most popular features that clients ask about is lighting. While I do offer some lighting options (see choices here), I have only a limited scope, as I realize I'm being hired to provide great music. (For folks looking for more choices in lighting, there are many companies out there that will rent them to you.) In either case, how do you know your choices, and will lighting be right for your event?
When it comes to lighting, there are two general types:
dance floor lighting: I call these "party lights," because that is their intent -- to add a party atmosphere to your event. Such lights include T-bar lights (multicolored lights that flash/pulse to music), disco balls, laser lights, etc. Dance floor lighting is also not limited to just the dance floor, either; they can climb the walls or the ceiling too! Party lights are a lot of fun, but come with a few warnings as well, namely if you want your event to have that clubby feel. Dance floor lights can really get people on their feet and into the dancing mood, but others find it a distraction. (Note: Proceed with caution if using a strobe or some laser lights, as they have been known to induce seizures or, in the worst cases, cause temporary blindness.)
presentation lighting: This type of lighting is more prevalent at weddings, and includes uplighting and GOBOs. Uplighting is probably the most frequent type of lighting you will see at weddings. They have many uses -- they can "warm up" a room that might otherwise be too drab or dark without them, they can represent your wedding colors (these are called "static lights," as they don't change color), and they can also be a type of dance floor lighting (see above), changing colors as the party gets underway.
If considering uplights, first think about the actual room or space you're using for your event; if it's outdoors, or a room with a lot of windows, then uplights will not be effective because of all the light that's already present, or the transparency of the glass. Also, think about how many lights you'd need; I generally like to space the lights out every three-to-four feet so that there is a nice overlap of lighting. However, if you're only looking for a dash of color, a few well placed uplights can work well too. This also depends on the location of the power outlets. You may want to consider wireless uplights if you are worried your venue does not have enough power outlets for the number of lights you want, although this will likely run you at least twice the amount as wired uplights. (I only carry wired uplights currently.)
GOBOs are lights that are most often used to project a message onto a wall or the dance floor itself, like the bride and groom's initials or name (see example). I do not offer this type of light for a few reasons, namely, that they are expensive for all parties involved because of the customization and the additional time and equipment required to hang/position the light that projects the image. And, if people are coming to your wedding, they would hopefully know your name already! In my mind, lighting should not detract from the music -- or anything else going on at your event, for that matter! -- and DJs who offer a plethora of options are trying to compensate. Instead, lights should serve to enhance the DJ's work.