Working to a Brief 11: Cosmetic Swatches

For our eleventh ‘Working to a Brief’ assignment, Karl would like you to produce an eye-catching image of cosmetic swatches and swirls.

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! 

You’ll find all the details you need to complete the brief below, as well as in the accompanying live show. We highly recommend watching this live show (or replay) as it may feature additional useful information and advice! No further guidelines will be provided.

Working to a Brief 11 LAUNCH

Thursday 8th September 2022 - 15:00 BST / 10:00 EDT
Watch Live Show Replay


Produce an appealing image of cosmetic swatches and swirls on a white background, suitable for high-end editorial use.


To showcase and promote the cosmetic products by creating a feeling of beauty, indulgence, luxury, and sophistication.
Annotated brief sketch

© Karl Taylor


You will need a range of cosmetic products comprising various different textures and colours.

Be sure to include:
  • powder (e.g. eye shadow, blush, bronzer, etc.)
  • paste (e.g. lipstick)
  • liquid (e.g. nail varnish)

Image layout

There are no strict guidelines regarding layout or composition, so you are free to use your creativity to achieve your desired layout.

You may refer to our Pinterest board for guidance and inspiration.


The mood of the images should be bright, clean, colourful and luxurious. 

The mood images below provide some good examples from which you can take inspiration. You may also refer to our Pinterest board.

© Karl Taylor

Mood 1

© Karl Taylor

Mood 2


For the glossy cosmetic surfaces, your lighting should create a high-gloss effect.

For the dry, powdery materials, your lighting should accentuate their rough textures.

Overall, you should achieve a high-contrast, punchy lighting effect that makes the image vivid and eye-catching.


The swatches and swirls should be photographed on a clean white background.
© Karl Taylor

Mood 3

© Karl Taylor

Mood 4

Brief summary

  • Cosmetic swatches and swirls in different colours
  • Combination of liquids, pastes and powders
  • White background
  • No strict guidelines on layout or composition
  • High-contrast, punchy lighting accentuating different textures (glossy, dry, etc.)
  • Refer to our Pinterest board for inspiration

    This brief is for example purposes only. This is not a professional commercial brief and all requirements are purely for educational purposes.

    Please note all images will remain copyright to the original photographer, but Visual Education reserves the right to publish them within its website and on social media.

    Submit Your Image

    The deadline for entry is Sunday 1st January 2023. Karl will review all submissions in a follow-up live show on 18th January 2023 (please note the new date).

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

    © Visual Education. All rights reserved. No content on this page may be used or shared by third parties.

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