What is the Role of a Lighting Designer?

Lighting designers craft blueprints for the use of light in a variety of situations and spaces. The role of a Lighting Designer can range from the simple task of improving visibility to the execution of complex cinematography.


Lighting designers use properties such as colour, texture, and intensity to create a mood, bring objects to life, or add beauty to a subject at hand.


They have a good knowledge of the ways and means needed to create subtle effects that enhance the surroundings. Lighting Designers work in a variety of fields, including Cinema, Stage, Architectural, Residential, Outdoor, and Landscape.


Cinematography and Stage



Because the human eye picks up much more contrast and detail than even the world’s best cameras, cinematic productions require extra lighting in almost every scene. Cinematic lighting also adds texture, depth, and a natural feel to film, TV, and commercial productions.


During filming, lighting technicians use techniques such as Backlighting, Key Lighting, and Fill Lighting to evoke mood, shift attention from one area of the screen to another, or indicate time of day and location.


For stage productions, lighting engineers need to know the script inside and out. They must attend rehearsals and know where each actor will be at any given time. Both stage and cinematic lighting designers work closely with directors and set designers.


Architectural and Residential



Architectural lighting designers work with natural and man-made light to improve functionality, create atmosphere, and highlight interior and exterior structural features. Architectural Lighting Designers wear many hats.


In a hotel, for example, a lighting designer might be called upon to add a romantic mood to the on-site restaurant, luxury feel to the common spaces and a festive atmosphere to a ballroom.


Places that require high levels of safety and low levels of ambient light (museums, aquariums, movie theatres) pose a particular challenge for lighting professionals. Architects work closely with Lighting Designers during the construction and renovation of both commercial and residential properties.


While most homeowners decide their own lighting schemes, owners of high-end properties with a wine cellar or home theatre, for instance, often require more sophisticated lighting and the unique skills of a lighting professional.


Outdoor and Landscape



Outdoor Lighting Designers work with natural and man-made light to create a safe and attractive outdoor environment. An outdoor lighting engineer may be called upon to beautify a courtyard with mood lighting, find economical ways to illuminate a quiet walking path, or even light up a soccer stadium for night games.


Landscape Lighting Designers create lighting plans for residential and commercial properties that add functionality or showcase landscape features like shrubs, statues, and man-made ponds.


Light Asia



Through workshops that teach and inspire students, the non-profit - Light Asia - reinforces the importance of lighting design as an engineering discipline. Light Asia lets experienced lighting professionals share their professional knowledge with the next generation of designers.


By organising worldwide events, Light Asia creates new opportunities for both students and lighting professionals alike.