Working to a Brief 12: Beer Bottle

For our twelfth Working to a Brief assignment, Karl would like you to create a beer bottle shot that's good enough to drink.

The deadline for this brief is Sunday 12th March 2023.

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 show (live or as a replay) as it may feature additional useful information and advice! No further guidelines will be provided.

Working to a Brief 12 LAUNCH
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For advertising purposes, produce an enticing image of a beer bottle with an accompanying glass of beer on a wooden surface against a dark background, with appropriate props.


The image will promote a beer that the brewer wishes to present as natural, wholesome, refreshing and delicious.

Art directors' visual of beer ad

© Visual Education

Art Director's visual


Beer bottle; glass of beer; wooden surface; props appropriate to product.

Image layout

The sketch above illustrates the desired composition and layout for the image. The various elements should be arranged roughly as shown in the illustration. 

Note the landscape orientation of the image and the negative space left for a logo and/or text to be added to the advertisement.


The mood of the image should be warm, traditional and enticing, with a hint of indulgence.

The mood images below provide examples from which you can take inspiration.


Mood 1

Whisky photography

Mood 2


A key element of the image is the warm, golden light radiating through the beer in both the bottle and the glass.

A soft, warm light should illuminate the surface and props, and partially illuminate the dark background.

The label on the bottle should be lit in such a way that the brand name is easy to read.

A broad light should illuminate one side of the bottle and glass, creating a vertical strip of light on each, similar to the effect shown in the sketch above.

Flat-lay food photography example mood image

Mood 3

Flat-lay food photography example mood image

Mood 4


Both bottle and glass should be full of beer. The beer in the glass should have a frothy white head on it.

Bottle and glass should have beads of condensation on them to make the drinks look cold and refreshing.

The props positioned on the wooden surface should be appropriate to the name of the beer being advertised, or simply appropriate to the theme of brewing.

Annotated brief sketch

© Visual Education

Brief summary

  • Bottle of beer with glass of beer beside it
  • Frothy head on beer in glass
  • Condensation on bottle and glass
  • Warm glow radiating through beer
  • Vertical strip of light reflecting on one side 0f bottle and glass
  • Legible label
  • Wooden surface and dark background, warmly lit
  • Props appropriate to brand or beer in general
  • Landscape orientation with negative space to right

    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 12th March 2023. Karl will review all submissions in a follow-up live show on 22nd March.

    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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    1. Hi Karl,
      In my experience some clients do not have an art director, and might ask for creative direction. Especially smaller companies, but I also had a few bigger clients that asked for creative direction or who gave me some creative freedom (within their brand guidelines). In those cases I have relied on mood boards, but this is of course not as precise as an illustration. I am not sure if your experience is different because you are working with different types of clients, or perhaps there could also be some local differences. But in my experience I have more clients asking for creative direction, than clients providing me with a brief 😀

      1. Hi, yes with smaller clients they may ask for creative direction which is why creating a folder of mood board images or asking the client to provide examples of images they like is always a good idea as then you can both agree on the direction that the images should take.

    2. I am a bit curious about the process for making the illustrations for the brief. I am not very good at drawing by hand, so I have been thinking about what kind of software or tools I could use to make professional looking briefs in an easy way 🙂 Perhaps a topic for an upcoming class? 🙂

      1. Hi, what would be your reason for needing to make a brief? Generally the client would be providing you the brief? However you can take any image into Photoshop and use some of the filter tools to turn it into a sketch or painting look.

    3. One more question. I found glucose- great. But the only clear finish sprays I have found here all just ruin glass. Any options since I cannot find the “artist varnish?” If not I guess I will have to live with the not as pretty glucose spray. Thanks again.

      I cannot wait until we leave alaska in a few months so I have a real studio and stores again!

    4. I just found out about this section of the website as a newer member. I started trying to find things this week. I live in nowhere Alaska! Is the deadline midnight sunday UK time? I am waiting for glasses from Amazon and other props. Stores here are useless. Thanks. I just painted my hardboard! It not cheap here! HA!

      1. Hi Casey, sounds cold where you live! Hi the deadline is UK time midnight but if you need and extra day or so I’ll allow it this time as the review show isn’t until the 22nd but I have to go through all the entries and check them in advance.

    5. Hi Karl — the brief asks for “a vertical strip of light reflecting on one side of bottle and glass.” I’ve created this image using the techniques you’ve shown in classes and I can get a nice, even strip of light all the way down both the bottle and the glass, but because the glass is curved underneath, the strip of light going all the way down the glass looks unrealistic. Its position is too far from the edge of the table to be picking up light that can’t be seen by the viewer, which may be why in the drawing the light strip only goes halfway down the glass on the left side. Should I remove the lower half of the strip on the glass to stay more realistic, or should I follow the description of the brief explicitly which asks for the strip on “bottle and glass?”

      1. Hi, yes it wouldn’t make sense to get a strip of light all the way down the glass, just the bottle but the brief doesn’t say it has to go ‘all the way down’? The goal is to deliver an advertising worthy image.

    6. DavidMorgan

      Hi there. For info – if I click on the image for the ‘White Wine Photography’ video, it takes me to the blue muffin working-to-a-brief launch video. Strange but true. However, if I click on the ‘watch now’ button, it takes me correctly to the wine shoot video.



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