The paper is concerned with the study of metaphor production in essays written by Russian and English native speakers in the framework of cognitive metaphor theory. It considers metaphorical competence as individual’s ability to recognize, understand and use metaphors in speech. The work analyzes the influence of visual metaphor on production and density of conventional and novel verbal metaphors. The main methods of research include experiment connected with image interpretation, metaphor identification procedure (MIPVU) and visual conventional metaphors identification procedure proposed by VisMet group. The research findings will be used in the project aimed at comparing metaphorical competence of native and non-native English speakers.