Light stands can be had fairly inexpensively at most camera stores,
if you go for the base line model. They will last you forever - I am
still using ones I purchased almost 30 years ago as a college
student. The type of bulb I use depends on the camera, and on the
film if the camera is not digital. My Nikon digital lets me adjust
settings for various light sources, so I can use pretty much any bulb
when taking photos with that. For diffusion, you can either create a
box in which to put your piece, or you can clip something over the
light to diffuse it there - such as a frosted piece of plexiglass, or
the already mentioned cheesecloth, or waxed paper, or whatever you
come up with. You will just have to experiment on what gives you the
effect you want.
I get MUCH better pictures with my camera than I do with a scanner.
It has more in it, and I can adjust the lighting much
better. Scanners give glare on shiny pieces!
I’m still not totally happy with my backgrounds though.
While I completely agree that you will get the best photos by using
a professional, we are not all at a level where that expense is
justified. If you have the time and the interest, it is possible to
get decent photos doing it yourself.
If you decide to use a professional, do be sure it is one with lots
of experience with jewelry! I have been a professional photographer,
but not in jewelry - and I assure you it is QUITE different from
other fields of photography! Ask for references, look at actual
photos and slides, etc. Be sure the “look” they have in their photos
is what you had in mind. Any good photographer will not mind showing
you these things!
Good luck to all.
Beth in SC