Having some photography background behind me, the one thing that I really don't like are bad pics. In my opinion, the actual picture of a miniature compliments it so much and adds so much to the overall effect, that it's really worth the extra mile to make a good one.
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to upgrade your photo workshop is a lightbox. I found the instructions to make one, along with a description, somewhere on the internet, so unfortunately I can't give proper credit. Nonetheless, I'll post my own quick tutorial on how to make one:
1) Take an empty cardborad box. The ones that are used to hold stacks of printing paper work really well.
2) Cut out 3 holes - 1 on each side and 1 on top.
3) Cover those holes with semi transparent paper. Attach it with masking tape. I found that 2 stacks of sandwich wrapping paper works perfectly.
What this does, is help you distribute light evenly accross the whole miniature and depending on your light sources, cuts away the shades.
The advantage of using the kind of box that I described is that it will fit a printed out background perfectly because of its natural A4 format. As displayed on the pics, you then just place the background inside in a way that it curves and put your model on top of it. Then you attach the light sources appropriately and voila - a mini photo studio in your room :)
Unfortunately, I don't have any professional lights so I can only use lamps from my home, but that is still better then just putting your model on the desk and photographing it (with the keyboard in the background (sic!) ).