Working to a Brief: Assignment 4 REVIEW

In this live show, Karl reviews each of the submissions for our fourth ‘Working to a Brief’ challenge and announces the most ‘on-brief’ winning image.

For this brief, members were tasked with creating a rim-lit product shot of a pair of earphones on a black background (you can find the full brief here). This particular brief may have appeared simple at first glance, but challenges included controlling the rim light, positioning the products and achieving sufficient depth of field.

Karl offers his feedback on each of the images, as well as tips and advice for shooting products like this.

These projects provide a unique opportunity for photographers to practice executing a professional brief.

To watch Karl tackle this brief himself, check out EarPods Live Product Shoot.

Find out more about Working to a Brief.


  1. Thanks for your time reviewing all this, Karl! Just order an EIZO for Homeoffice. The slight color cast of my image was not visible on a (calibrated) Mac at home. Really shocking when I checked it at the studio monitor. Besides that, I enjoyed the challenge a lot! Keep up the good work, cheers, Mike

  2. Very fair and good review of all images. thank you Karl.
    I made it to folder 3, not bad! I learned a lot – and I can see clearly why and what I can improve.

    Thanks , you rule!

  3. This was my first ever entry for working to a brief, and it taught me a lot of lessons. I really wasn’t aware of the shortcomings of my photo at the time of its submission, but your feedback rightly pointed out things to improve which cannot be argued against.

    The lesson above others was the observation that the needed improvements had nothing to do with the quality of my present camera, the lens I used, the speedlight, my computer, or its post production software – any of these various hi-tech products and their latest versions with so much advertising and sales promotion about them is really not the key for better results.

    What can make the difference is the knowledge and skills in how to use them, and what to avoid while doing it. The learning curve is not on sale as packages sold from the shelves and vitrines of photography equipment retailers, but progress requires experiences from assignments like this one plus utilising the education material on this website. Also, one’s own personal involvement and effort cannot be replaced by what can be learned from others.

    Thank you, Karl, I look forward to the next Working To A Brief assignment!

    1. Hi Hannu, you hit the nail on the head with that very precise observation. Thanks for putting the time in to take part.

  4. EthanDavis

    This was a tough challenge. Took a lot of time to perfect my image! Congrats to the other winner and thank you Karl for the opportunity. 🙂

    1. Hi Ethan, thank you for entering, it’s a great image. Although it still stands because I accepted CGI we’d appreciate it if you could mention it on submission as with CGI it’s better if I can point out to other members the benefits of no dust, finger prints etc and no focus stacking. But great image and result!

      1. EthanDavis

        Hey Karl, I did actually shoot the earphone but felt it didn’t have the clarity that normal apple images have. So I then turned to CGI, its actually quite funny that you talk about the no dust, because to make CGI products specifically, look real you need to add micro imperfections which is a main factor which distinguishes good CGI artists vs bad ones. As well as this, slight bends and smudges are also added so there’s a lot that goes into it. As well as modelling and lighting. I do consider myself a photographer first though! If you do wish to know more for a YouTube video or something on here feel free to ask away!

        1. Well great job all the same the final result looked great. It will be interesting to see how I manage shooting the real thing! I will definitely speak to your more about the process once we’re out of this mess i’m sure there’s lots of great info about the process that you can talk about.

  5. Hello Karl,

    That was a nice explanation of the AirPods Brief Yesterday. I think it was a can totally agree with your decision to give away two 1st prices. They deserved it both.
    But as I heard that they would get a .9 ND filter, I remembered the video of the Brief in January in which you said that 1st price would be a £ 400,00 Lee Filter ND kit, with your nice face on it on the back.
    To be sure a re viewed the brief video and I had it right in my mind.

    1. Hi Martin, I’ll check that video and get back to you. If that’s what we said then that’s at least one of what we will give away.

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