Working to a Brief 1: Cider Advert

As part of our past ‘Working to A Photography Brief - Challenge’ live show, Karl has provided members with a comprehensive photography brief*  to execute. 

Although the deadline for the submissions are now closed and we are no longer accepting entries,  you are welcome to still take part in it and tag us in your results! 

All submissions will be judged and the winner will receive a Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre tripod valued at $500!

All the information you need to complete the brief can be found in the live show and below. No further guidelines will be provided.

Example of a creative photography brief

Working To A Photography Brief

Now available to watch on replay

In this live show, Karl will be providing a photography brief that members can try to execute as best as possible.

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Create a single advertising-image of apples that will be used as the base shot for a printed poster for a cider advert*. This image is the base plate layer for a final cider shot where the cider bottle will be shot separately and be put into this shot in post production.


Highlight the fresh crispness of the apples to clearly convey a sense of taste and quality of the product to the client’s ever-expanding market base.


Red apples, rustic wooden chopping board (or wooden base).

Example of art director's sketch for photography brief
Art director's sketch.

Image Layout

Please refer to the art director’s sketch for position of apples on board (this already includes space for advert copy and the cider bottle). If possible, additional space should be provided on the left, right and top compared to what is shown in the provided sketch.

The camera angle should be low and no higher than the height of the full apple.

Please note the position of the horizon of the chopping board or rustic wood surface — this must not be deviated from.


The overall mood of the shot is to be natural and rustic with generally warm tones.

Mood board image showing lighting for photography brief
Mood 1
Mood board image for photography brief
Mood 2
Mood board image showing perspective for photography brief
Mood 3


A rustic lighting style, similar to natural window light, is required (this may be achieved using studio light or natural light). The lighting must be soft and from the left with the outer areas of the shot to be vignetted in later or flagged in the lighting stage. There should be no specular highlights on the apples.

Image titled ‘mood 1’ best describes the lighting required

Image titled ‘mood 2’ the specular highlights are too strong, in Mood 3 is better but Mood 1 with no specular highlights would be preferable.

Image titled ‘mood 3’ best describes the low angle of view and feeling of the background required


The background must remain warm, relatively dark in brown to neutral tones similar to those of the mood board images. The background must not be black.


Apples should be red and of good shape and colour. Stems should be visible and a leaf is permissible, but not necessary. Apples should be positioned so that the stem faces to the left. The smaller apple should be used as the cut apple to enhance perspective.

The main apple must be completely sharp and it would be better if both apples were sharp. Note that the back horizon should not be sharp.

If the apple is waxy please wash with washing up liquid to remove the wax and reduce the specular highlights with dulling spray or other methods. Lemon juice may be used to prevent the cut apple from discolouring.


Please refer to 'Lighting' section and mood boards for lighting on the apples.

Brief Summary

  • Red Apples
  • Soft light from left to look like natural window light
  • Rustic style mood as per mood boards
  • Low angle of view - camera must not be higher than top of full apple
  • Good shape cut on half apple - use smaller apple for the half due to perspective
  • Leaf not needed but stem needed on both apples
  • Stems must be pointing in to left of shot
  • Use lemon juice to stop half apple discolouring
  • Main apple must be pin sharp but better if both apples are sharp
  • Back horizon not sharp
  • Darker on edges of shot with vignette or flags
  •  No small specular highlights on apple
  • Keep highlights under control
  • Shot on nice wood or appropriate chopping board

*Please note that this brief is for a fictional company and is for example purposes only, for our members to learn from. This is not a professional brief and all requirements are purely for educational purposes.

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Submit Your Image

The deadline for submission of your final image is 12:00 BST on 1st June 2020. These will be judged by Karl and the winner of the Manfrotto tripod will be announced in a special live show on June 2nd.

To view the entry form login or non-members sign-up here to join Visual Education.

Recommended Content

To learn more about photography and commercial projects, below is a selection of content that you may find interesting. You'll also find a complete breakdown of the commercial workflow in our Business of Photography course.


  1. Thanks for this challenge, Karl. Though just finding it after the fact, I’m looking forward to using the challenge to build experience in the advert arena. Thanks for the excellent insight.

  2. DavidMorgan

    Thanks for the critique, Karl, and I’m pleased to have got it almost right. Certainly a testing experience of problem-solving, and working out someone else’s vision. More of these challenges would be great.

    PS, I’m still eating my way through the apple supply that I got in ….

    1. Ha ha hope they were tasty. I’ll definitely be creating more of the ‘working to a brief’ challenges

  3. Hi Karl, I loved doing this brief, hope to do some more of these briefs.. nervously awaiting you’re professional opinion..



  4. Hi Karl, thanks for this project I just missed the deadline my fault. None the less I hope you continue these kind of projects. I found it extremely helpful and it was a great learning experience. I have a nicely completed image that I’m quite happy with.

    kind regards,

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