I'm no photography expert, and tend to glaze over when friends start getting too technical. I have been trying to shoot kits, and figures, with my camera for about 5 years. I thought maybe some of what I've learned may help. So here is my little guide to quick and dirty, but decent looking WIP images.
My equipment is pretty cheap barring the camera.
A piece of curved grey art card as a background, one daylight bulb, and a supressor mounted on the flash.
For wip photos I set the shutter speed to 1000, and the aperture to about F6.3 (also don't forget to set it to macro!)
Gives it a decent brightness, but makes it so I can shoot it hand held and not worry about wobble.
The backdrop for wips is just leant against an object, while the model holds the card in place. I use the daylight lamp to illuminate the backdrop, helping to eliminate shadows. A nice plain shade helps to make the model pop and I've found a mid-grey bounces a decent amount of light back up at the figure.
My supressor is just an old envelope held over the flash, you can darken it by adding more paper, and a larger envelope diffuses the light over a larger area.
The result. Not bad for something that takes 30 seconds to set up, and cost about 50p.
For final pictures I tend to drop the flash, lower the shutter speed, and open the aperture. This means I have to use a tripod and a timer, also it takes a bit longer to set up.