Phototables are great, but if you dont want to spend the money on one (eBay does have some reasonably priced ones), there’s a DIY-way around it. What you need is a white 25 litre plastiq container (those used to transport water and moonshine), a razorblade knife and a light.
- Cut a (square) hole in the container big enough to put your desired objects into the container.
- Light up the container from the outside.
- Take your photo on a tripod through the hole in the container.
Because of the opacity of the container and the curved edges you get a very smooth background with hardly any shadown. This is perfect for shooting stuff you need to mask out in Photoshop later, or when shooting fancy (or plain ugly!) objects.
There is no one-trick solution to how to set up lights but since the box is built in 10 minutes or less you should have plenty of time to experiment with the light(s).