Chandni Patel has just got her first job as a lighting professional – here she shares what she has learned about breaking into the business…
Have you always wanted to pursue a career in lighting but just don’t know where to start? Do you dream about becoming a designer in this field one day?
I spent hours on end trying to pursue my career in lighting and initially, I felt like I was getting nowhere. From thinking about courses to emailing companies to attending conferences I did it all.
But the reality was I had no lighting experience or education in the field and I couldn’t justify spending £6,000 on a course.
So where am I now? Six months ago, I landed a job at it does Lighting as a trainee lighting designer and I’ve loved every second of it.
There have been endless benefits working for it does Lighting including intensive training and getting to go out and meet people in the industry.
Now, slowly moving up the ladder, I’m happy to share my knowledge and provide helpful tips to point you in the right direction.
This is my guide on how to break into lighting design:
1. Show your face
Immerse yourself around professionals and experts and start to become recognised by sharing your passion for light. No one will know who you are until you make an appearance. Take advantage of free conferences available in various locations around the UK and even abroad.
2. Get your name out
Start writing blogs and articles - you never know who might happen to read them. Pinpoint what it is you are interested in around the theme of light – this could be light art, architectural lighting, road lighting, decorative lighting, lighting for health and wellbeing and so on.
3. Learn what’s hot and what’s not
Visit lighting manufacturers and get a feel of what products are on the market. At the rate they are developing, it’s useful to understand the basic concepts underpinning a lighting product. This will help you to demonstrate your current understanding of the product marker to any potential employer.
4. Work out what you need
Look at the range of jobs available and outline what you need under your belt to get there. Start making a list of what you need to cross that finish line and use all your resources. There is nothing wrong with contacting a company and asking whether they would offer work experience – it shows you care.
5. Get techy
Download design packages which are free to use such as Dialux Evo and watch the step-by-step guides on how to model a lighting design. Base drawings are free to download off the web but look out for viruses! Most lighting software houses offer free trials so make the most of them and see how you get on.
6. Get connected
Get networking. LinkedIn is a brilliant platform to use as lighting is a huge topic on this platform as well as being a great for keeping in touch with what’s going on. Recruiters and employers are likely to see you so make sure your profile is suited and booted! Start getting noticed and connect with industry professionals.
7. Go that extra mile
Investing in memberships of societies and institutions will help you to keep up to date with the latest guides and publications and offers discounted rates on CPD sessions. Some memberships are cost effective and any employer would be impressed by someone who has integrated themselves in the industry.
8. Invest in your career
If you have the funds, try to access industry-recognised courses. Get yourself a recognised qualification which will impact your status and make yourself available for those job applications. Make sure the course you choose is relevant to what you want to pursue and get that certified piece of paper which shows you can do it!
Oh, and good luck!
- Chandni Patel is a trainee lighting designer at independent UK lighting design practice it does Lighting