I was doing some photography for an instruction manual today, which included some shots of all the little parts and pieces required for assembly. I have used a lighting tent before to shoot small objects, but suspending them appropriately in mid-air has always been a challenge. A lighting tent gives you a seamless background to shoot items against, and five surfaces to shoot lights through to create nice even lighting. My husband had an ingenious idea of placing the objects on a piece of glass. We went to Lowe's to get some kind of supports to hold the glass at an angle, and found two brackets which have 45-degree angled slits. The glass fits perfectly inside of the slots, and is held at the a great angle to show small objects. I used some glue dots left over from a scrapbooking project to attach the parts to the glass.
I used a 50mm prime lens at a wide aperture to make the background as blurry as possible, since there were some wrinkles in the fabric. You can see the amazing depth of field in the far edges of the brackets, which disappear into nothingness. It will be very easy to crop closely into the object, or remove the background entirely, as the project warrants. It is a pretty great technique. You don't even really need the lighting tent either, just something to keep the reflections off the glass, and a nice white (or black, depending on the object) background underneath.
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50mm f/1.4
50mm - ISO 100
1/200s - f/3.2