Sometimes people will come to me to have me professionally photograph their jewelry lines or small items that they are producing. However there are a lot of individual artisans out there that cannot afford to hire a professional and still want nice looking photos. Here are some suggestions.
1. Use poster board as a backdrop. the white background is smooth and easy to photograph and will not detract from the look of the item.
2. Use external lighting. For a truly professional look you want to use studio lighting but you can get away with setting up some make shift studio lighting of your own. Go buy some silver work lights at home depot and some Halogen bulbs. Position the lights on either side of the item and don't use the flash on the camera and I guarantee you will be happier than if you used the on camera flash.
3.Go buy a plexi-glass frame from Staples and place it under the object. This way you get a slight reflection to add some visual interest but not to mirror the image exactly.
If you have the money, a professional has the equipment to really knock it out of the park ; If you don't these tips will help you to produce images you can be proud of and to sell more product!