Well it finally got to the point where I realised I needed to make some changes. I go onto etsy and madeit and I see all of this amazing handmade stuff, photographed so professionally - perfect lighting, no fuzz, no shadows, no glare...then I look at my stuff and it's just okay. Okay just doesn't cut it.
I'd LOVE a new camera (I'm currently using a 4.5 year old canon which my husband assures me is perfectly fine) but finances don't permit, so it was research time.
After a bit of googling I found a post that someone had put on a jewellery photography site about DIY light boxes. It involves a 3 sided box covered in white paper with 3 halogen lamps for light and tissue paper to add some sort of softening effect. All very doable but still a little too complex for this little duck. So instead I grabbed a little box, covered the inside with printer paper and bought myself a desk lamp. The real lesson came at Bunnings when I was trying to figure out which globe to buy - I now know the difference between warm white and natural light globes.
It has been a day of learning, but my pictures are certainly improving.
Before: an attempt to shoot in the afternoon sun
After: with my new makeshift lightbox. Still looks a little dark...maybe I do need another lamp?!
Edit: I discovered that I have a "auto adjust colours" option on irfanview! Yay!
Edit (again) 23/7/11: Okay, so nothing beats natural light. This was about 3 in the afternoon, with the blinds open, on my coffee table! I'm not messing with a good thing anymore, just have to hope that the sun keeps behaving itself!