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What Is a Lighting Designer and How to Become One

Lighting Designer

What Is a Lighting Designer?

A lighting designer (LD) designs the lighting setup for a stage production. It’s your job to create a “light plot” that dictates when and where specific lighting is needed on stage. Your typical job duties involve determining areas the light is needed, creating light cues for lighting changes, and collaborating with lighting technicians and electricians. Other common responsibilities are to edit the plan during rehearsals. Some lighting designers also manage the lighting budget. The job doesn’t usually entail actually running the lighting during performances.

How to Become a Lighting Designer

A lighting designer (LD) needs at least a bachelor’s degree, typically in lighting design or theater production. You must know how to perform all common theater lighting responsibilities, including how to set and focus the lighting in the right area according to the performance. Most employers prefer those with experience in a lighting assistant position. Many lighting designers go on to earn a master’s degree in lighting design. Other important qualifications include excellent artistic, creative, and technical skills. The career sometimes requires basic knowledge of construction as well as electrical safety.