For info on the roadshow dates, details of the assignments, PDF's of useful stuff, technical gubbins, and critiques of submitted work, subscribe here.

2008 Assignment Critiques - Meghan Giboin and Chris Black


Music Brief/Stevenson College Edinburgh.

All of Meghan and Chris' work.

My Critique:


  • Technically perfect, very good use of lighting, atmospheric. Good to see ambient/flash mix used well and not overcooked.

  • They found a great subject - old enough to have been in the music business for 25 years, and very stylish too. No false beards here!

  • They used a good range of shots/locations. There are 4 distinct settings for the shots, enough to give the feature some depth.

  • There's really great use of contrasting colour in the cover portrait (2). You can't beat a bit of red/green contrast!

  • They followed the DPS advice well (1), lots of space on half the frame for dropping copy and headers onto.

  • Great mood in some of the indoor ones - particularly the last 3 (4,5,6) - very pleased to see some portraits where face is not so visible.

Not So Good:

  • A little too dark on the sky/fill portrait shot (3), needs a dab more light, also watch for reflections in glasses - am being very picky indeed here!

  • Would possibly crop in a bit on the garage shot (2)- just to lose the wall on the left.

  • Purely a point of procedure, but as I've mentioned in some of the general brief advice, if you're going to hand in work that's been grayscaled/desaturated etc, it's good practice to hand in "plain" ones as well, just in case the art director doesn't like what you've done. On a similar petty note, the file naming was a bit confusing and inconsistent - not something we really penalise people for, but as with other issues of procedure, our guidelines were there for a reason.

On the whole, one of the strongest entries we saw, and probably the best attempt at the Music brief.

From Rich:

This is a really strong set of portraits that fit the brief spot on. If I received these for a feature I was laying out I would be chuffed. I think you were either very fortunate to know someone who fitted the bill or did your research very well. Great colours and emotion and lovely compositions

On a professional criticism I would have liked to see more landscape options for an opening DPS and I would have liked to see colour versions of your black and white shots but otherwise I think I could have made a great feature from this. Well done

From Emma:

Well no problems working out which brief this team are answering. Congratulations Meghan & Chris, great choice of model and brilliant propping here. It all feels right.

The variety of shots used help illustrate a larger story. We have the man at home and on location, in B&W and in colour, engaging with the camera and caught in the moment of playing. The model is of the right age and with the choice of clothes here you’ve really given him a sense of character.

I’m a sucker for the details and with the cigar, whisky and Jazzy instruments these feel like very considered shots. If you dropped them on my desk I’d be happy with a job well done.

Perhaps something you’ve missed a trick on though is showing us some incidentals. It would have been good to have a shot of just his instrument (so to speak) or perhaps cropping in on his hands as he plays the piano? Also would a man 25yrs into his career still need to read from his score? But these are fairly minor points, more things to expand on than criticisms.

I don’t generally like to play favourites but Meghan & Chris get yourselves to the top of the class!

From Marco:

Hurrah! Not brief 2.

Nice job overall. The feel is absolutely spot on and by far the best choice of model to fulfill the brief (though to be fair this wouldn’t be an issue on the real job so is neither here nor there in pure terms of images). Also very good styling.

Shot 4 is my favourite shot but the complete set is very moody and nice with the pleasant contrast of the garage door shot to jazz up (see what I did there?) the overall feel. On the downside I would suggest that there is room for improvement on the technical side – more work on getting the balanced light on the sky shot would have lifted it a notch higher. I would also have liked to see some harsher and more selective contrast work on the b+w images. Even my favourite shot (4) could do with just a tiny touch of post-production in photoshop to get a little more detail back into the model’s face. But I’m being picky. Very nice job.


Post a Comment