Valerie Kennard creates beautiful designer jewellery, specialising in pearls, semi-precious stones, gold and silver. Valerie had some earlier shots taken by a different photographer that had the jewellery shot on a pale grey gloss background. My initial challenge was to find a similar shade of grey and for the surface to be gloss, so paper was ruled out straight away. Eventually I found a company making material very similar to Formica but in a gloss finish. Using the sheet of gloss grey we worked on some sample shots to check that the colour matched the existing photographs.

I had my doubts about using a grey background as I thought it would look boring, but was amazed to find the grey was ideal for shooting the very pale pearls. Using angled, low lighting it was possible to enhance the shadows and reflections.