What's a lightbox?
A lightbox is a tool that you should seriously consider if you intend to take product photos regularly. Depending on the size of your products, lightboxes can be purchased for as little as 6,000 yen, and will make your photos look that much more professional. In its simplest form, a lightbox is a white cloth box into which your item is placed. Your light sources are then arranged around the box, and regardless of where they might be placed, you'll get excellent 'surround' light with no visible light sources. It spreads the light from a single lightbulb around a greater area, thereby removing the shadow you're likely to get from a single source. Note that this might even allow you to take photographs in natural daylight, while still hopefully removing any undesirable shadows.
The photograph on the right shows what typically happens when you try to take a product shot with a camera flash. You lose picture clarity, the colours are messed up, and the photo generally looks rubbish. Since you want to present your product in the best possible light (pun intended), use a lightbox, and make sure you can turn off the flash on your camera. The difference can be startling!
Lightboxes can take many forms, depending on your budget:
1. The first photo below shows my own handmade lightbox, for which I simply used a foldable storage box from my local Nafco, and swapped the existing yellow material for some thin white cotton. Plastic rods are sewn into the seams, keeping the cube fairly rigid. A sheet of thick plastic is placed in the bottom of the cube, and a simple 'X' of plastic rod ensures the box stays up. The extra support rods also allow you to blu-tak your background paper in place (see next section). This lightbox was used for all product shots on this page, and does a competent job, I think?
2. The second photo is the basic lightbox that you might find in a big-city electrical/camera store (e.g. Fukuoka's BicCamera). It's essentially the same as my handmade box, except that the front opening is smaller. This form also folds up into a two-dimensional square, and is available in various sizes.
3. This is a fancier version, and includes a light source and a rod for clipping your background sheet in place. It costs 17,000 yen. Note that you would still need additional lighting to create a suitably bright image. This model also folds up for convenient storage, but if you have space then it might to sensible to create a permanent photography area. All you need is a low table for the lightbox, and some clip-lights and multiplugs. Saves time setting up every time.
Try Yahoo Stores and other similar internet shops for good, cheap equipment. You can also view this guide to building your own inexpensive lightbox.