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What does a Lighting Designer do?

Learn all about Lighting Designer duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Lighting Designer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A lighting designer is responsible for the design and implementation of lighting systems for theatrical productions, concerts, television shows, films, and other live events. They work closely with directors, producers, and other members of the creative team to create a lighting design that enhances the visual elements of the production. Lighting designers also collaborate with electricians and other technical staff to ensure that the lighting system is installed correctly and safely.

Lighting Designer job duties include:

  • Research and select lighting equipment that meets the needs of the production
  • Work with the Director and other designers to determine the overall look of the production
  • Design the lighting plot, specifying the type, position, and number of lights needed
  • Hang and focus lights according to the lighting plot
  • Operate lights during rehearsals and performances
  • Make adjustments to the lights as needed during rehearsals and performances
  • Keep track of inventory of all lighting equipment
  • Maintain all lighting equipment in good working condition
  • Load and unload lighting equipment for transport to and from rehearsal and performance venues

Lighting Designer Job Requirements

Most lighting designers have a bachelor's degree in fine arts, theatre arts, architecture, or engineering. Many designers also complete an internship with a professional lighting designer or company. There are no specific certification requirements for lighting designers, but many designers choose to become certified by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP). To become certified, designers must pass an examination that tests their knowledge of lighting design principles and practices. In addition to formal education and certification, most lighting designers have several years of experience working in the theatre or another live entertainment venue.

Lighting Designer Skills

  • Lighting design
  • CAD
  • Electrical engineering
  • Lighting control
  • Dimming
  • Color mixing
  • Fixture selection
  • Gobo selection
  • Lens selection
  • Beam angle
  • Field angle

Related: Top Lighting Designer Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Lighting Designer

There are many ways to become a lighting designer. One way is to study theatre arts in college and then get a job working as a lighting technician in a theatre or other venue. Another way is to work as an electrician or lighting technician and then learn about lighting design by taking classes or workshops. There are also many software programs that can teach you about lighting design.

No matter what route you take, it is important to have a strong understanding of the basics of lighting design. This includes an understanding of light itself, how it works, and how it can be used to create different effects. You should also have a good sense of composition and be able to visualize how light will fall on a space and how it will interact with the objects in that space.

Once you have a strong foundation in the basics of lighting design, you can start to experiment with different techniques and styles. You may want to specialize in a particular type of lighting design, such as architectural lighting or stage lighting. Or you may want to explore different genres, such as film lighting or television lighting. The sky is the limit when it comes to lighting design, so let your creativity shine!

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