I've also started using a mini tripod I bought from eBay a few years ago which was immediately shoved into a draw when it arrived. I took one look at it and thought I just couldn't be bothered faffing about with it but I've now started using it together with the timer on my camera so I don't have to worry about having the shakes when I'm taking photos. Those photography guides do make sense after all!
Now I just have to find something I'm happy with for my copper jewellery as the grey is a bit dark for it sometimes depending on the colour of the beads. If any of you have any tips for backgrounds for copper jewellery I would be very grateful!