Even with just one small light unit (daylight flourescent tube), it's giving pretty good results. I may add a second light but just a minor tweak in Photoshop to get the white background really white and the colours are really quite true to life. I'm calling the beads photographed "Melted Tigers" and "Drizzled Toffee", I expect you can guess which one is which.
Here's what it looks like. It's all very low tech and inexpensive.
The flourescent light fitting has been screwed to a piece of white contiboard which is held in place with a batten of softwood fixed to the wall of the studio. The light fitting and bulb is being diffused with a piece of A3 photocopying paper secured with masking tape so I don't get a long rectangular reflection on shiny beads.
The base is another piece of contiboard resting on top of two drawer units which is temporarily ontop of a large Really Useful big box - this is to bring the item being photographed closer to the light but also has the advantage of meaning I don't have to bend down to take pictures. We will put another batten in soon to tidy it up and replace the box. The beads have been placed on top of some really white photocopying paper but I can put any background in there that I like.
I'm going to screw in eyelets as well to the left and right so I can string things across to photograph 3-D earrings and those that really don't photograph well on a flat surface.
From now onwards, there can be no more excuses like "I can't take photographs because ...."
- it's raining
- it's too cold
- it's too bright
- it's too dark
- the bench is covered with bird poo and I can't be bothered to clean it off