In conjunction with the post below, I wanted to make note of another tip that I think is worth mentioning. Whenever you go on a shoot, whether it's for fun, for a client, for your family, for whatever, you have to be able to adapt to and make the most of your surroundings. I am a grad student....in the sciences. I don't have access to a studio, nor do I care to rent out one (I'd rather just drop my $$ on gear). So what do we do then in order to get studio-ish shots?? One word: improvise! The shots below were simply taken in my apartment, but you'd probably never guess if you didn't know me. I just rearranged a little for the shoot, took some pictures off the wall, gave my model some props I had lying around and started shooting. Neat what you can do with an old photo frame that woulda been thrown out, one of my guitars, and my office chair. Sure, when you improvise you are also going to increase your need for photoshop....some hooks needed to taken out of the wall, a couple blemishes on the chair, etc, but Photoshop CS5's "content aware fill" makes this unbelievably simple. If that doesn't take care of it, the spot healing brush or the healing brush should do the trick. I also increased the contract a little to brighten the wall (yes I could have blown out the entire wall in photoshop but I kinda like the look of it left the way it is). From expensive cameras to lenses to studios, not all of us have access to all the stuff the big boys do, but you can make some "big boy" shots with a little creativity and making the most out of what you've got. The digital medium is great for experimenting since you don't have to buy film and pay for processing, so get out there, do a little improvisation and experimenting and see what you get!