I've been using a couple of these for larger work, and hanging a single overhead for smaller stuff. They are cheap and work well, they use a high output 5500k CFL bulb that is rated for ~10,000 hours and doesn't heat up like old tungsten. They're easy to white balance for and with either a veritone or seamless grey backdrop, easy to shoot good images with... With the increased availability of photo lights and the decrease in their cost, there is almost no reason not to have a modest photo setup. If you're serious about documenting, applying to shows, schools, or for publication, there is no other way to go.
Those are really nice shots of equally nice work! I'm really excited about those lights! They come with the baffle, the bulb AND the stand?? Is that a graduated-color backdrop or have you achieved that effect with light positioning? It's very dramatic without being distracting. What type of camera equipment are you using? I noticed that those lights are about 20"x27". Do they come apart and collapse for storage? And are you just using a naked bulb overhead? If so, what type -- daylight or full spectrum or....?
Oops, sorry. I just read the reviews for the light set and saw that they do collapse for storage. Are you using a light cube as well, or just the lights and a backdrop? Or is the light cube unnecessary? Do you extinguish other lights and rely soley on the lightsets from Adorama?
To answer your questions in order
-They come with the softbox ("baffle"), tripod, and lamp
-The backdrop I am using is not gradated like a varitone
backdrop, its thunder grey backdrop paper on a roll.
. It is what I learned to shoot with, but Ill be moving to varitone for small work in the near future as its easier to get that gradation without adjusting the paper position/lighting position.
-I shoot with an olympus e300, its not state of the art, but it takes fine images and I use it almost exclusively for shooting work. It probably goes without saying that a tripod is a must. I get as close to the work as I physically can so that I can minimize things like lens distortion that happen when using optical zoom--its also easier to shoot in low light this way. I shoot with my camera in full manual mode, I set the f-stop, exposure, and focus and adjust them to taste... My camera (and many digital cameras) allows me to control it from a laptop so I can see in somewhat real time the results of my shooting on a reasonably sized screen... I don't always do this, but its a nice feature.
-I shoot my small work (cups, bowls, plates, jars, basically anything under 24" in any direction) using a single softbox suspended over the work. All other light sources are extinguished as my camera is white balanced for the lights in the soft-boxes--introducing light of another temperature can throw this off and give you an undesired "tint" on your photos.
Anything larger I shoot with one overhead and one or two front facing soft boxes depending on the situation and scale of the piece... I always use a remote to trigger the camera so as not to jar it, if you don't have a remote or a cable release on your camera, use the timer setting...
I do not use a lightcube, a light cube is essentially a softbox that your work goes inside of--if you are using reasonably well diffused softboxes, I cant see what the benefit of a lightcube would be. If you have the extra cash (and its really not that much more...) a couple lights, soft boxes, and tripods will be MUCH more versatile than the lightcube, in my opinion.
Hope that this was helpful