How to make a lighting design portfolio

A portfolio should show a selection of your best work that you have created either in your spare time, at school or at work. Invest in a large folder that can hold all of your work, so that it’s easy to carry around.

What should a lighting design portfolio contain?

  • Mood boards, research findings, rough drafts to show your process
  • Photographs and drawings/sketches
  • Photographs of final costume design
  • Evidence of any productions that you have designed for – include the programmes.
  • Production photographs of different lighting states
  • Any reviews or interviews that have included you in them
  • Any other examples of your work; paintings, clippings, diagrams, textiles

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Showing your process:

This can be in form of a sketchbook, something that contains all your research, rough sketches and lighting plots that got you to the finished design.

Lighting plots:

You can include lighting plots and cue sheets from previous performances, or if you have worked as a Lighting Technician to show your experience. However, try and mainly include your own design work.

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Choose good quality images in colour. Include photographs of the set under the stage lights, as well as without lighting. Also include shots with the Actors onstage under lighting designed by you as this can be a powerful way to show how your work impacted the performance.


Have these printed out and, if there is a particular section that mentions your work or your name, then highlight this so it stands out.

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Photo: Royal Opera House

Published: 04 March 2019


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