1. Rely on daylight as a light source when you can.
2. Build your own light box for jewelry and still-life shoots.
Light boxes are the best way to get 360* white light. Perfect for jewelry, translucent objects, and other small still-life shoots. Learn how to build your own inexpensive light box here.
3. Chinese lanterns are a cheap but superb solution for soft lighting.
4. Use poster board to achieve a "seamless" background look for small subjects.
Getting that photo studio look of having a corner-free and edgeless background can be accomplished on a small scale by using a regular piece of poster board and slightly bending it without creating a crease. Take a look at this example.
5. Remember composition when creatively arranging your subject(s).
Smart composition can really take an average photo to the next level. Check out some really useful composition tips here to help you get started.
6. Make sure you have enough room to use a telephoto lens to get natural foreground and background separation.
7. Take advantage of in-camera settings to achieve different looks.
One of the most accessible manual settings to manipulate is shutter speed. Using a longer shutter speed will allow the camera to capture the scene (but more particularly the light in a scene) for a longer period. Use a long shutter speed to achieve the "light writing" effect pictured here.