First I will start with the simple studio which will improve your pictures on a budget and help you learn the basics.
3' x 3' ¼" plexi glass
(4) 2 quart mason jars
(1) 3' x 3' piece of white board
(2) 250 Watt flood lights with clamps
Place the white board on the ground with the mason jars in each corner and the plexi glass on top. Place the two floods on the back of the chairs and aim then at the gun placed in the center of the plexi. (The chairs should be on either side of the plexi) The shadow will be eliminated by moving the lights to various positions. Getting rid of the shadows is critical in taking good photos of guns! You may also want to add a third or fourth light.
Shoot at the highest resolution possible with your camera, take many pictures of each side of the gun. Take either written or mental notes about the effect of moving the lights closer to the subject or further away and what that does to your exposure.
A good photo editing program is a must. I use the one that came with my camera, Adobe Photo Elements 2.0. I look through the photos I have taken and select the best ones, enhancing them with the program and reducing the size to post on the web. I find 72 dpi is max with about 1050 pixels.
Next is the professional studio:
Smith-Victor K43 light kit-The kit
has (3) 600 watt lights and stands in a sturdy rolling plastic box, everything
listed here fits in the box.
(2) additional Smith-Victor Q-250 SG's which are 250 watt lights
(2) additional Smith-Victor RS8 light stands
(5) 32" White Satin umbrellas-The Eclypse by Photogenic
(2) Multi plug outlets with breakers capable of handling 1,500 watts each
For this I use a glass table with the white board underneath. To eliminate the shadows, the lights are set up with one 600 watt light at one end of the table, two 250 watt lights on each side next to that light and the other two 600 watt lights next to them which leaves me a spot at the head of the table to work. The light is bounced off of 32" white, umbrellas with black outer covers, this prevents any harsh reflective light from causing a glare on the finish of the gun. I angle each of the lights/umbrellas to reflect the light to the same point on the surface of the table. If your camera is capable, set your color balance to the temperature of the lights.
I edit the images the same way as in the beginner studio. It takes a lot of practice but soon you will be able to take professional type images.