A couple of weeks ago I gave a lighting lecture to my class. The idea was to take a simple scene and light it three different ways. I almost always use spotlights exclusively in Maya. This is mainly due to the controls they have but also because I have been rendering primarily with Renderman and depth map shadows for the past year and a half. There are certainly instances where one might want to use other lights but for these demos I used all spotlights. The renders are a bit on the low quality side because you don't want to wait too long for the scene to render when doing a live demo. These are all rendered in Mental Ray for Maya.
The first scene is lit with one spotlight with an image mapped to the color to simulate the shapes you get from the glass of a light bulb and the flashlight.
The second is lit to look like a studio light setup.
And the third is supposed to be lit from a window. Again I mapped an image to the spotlight.