Man, oh man I am loving my new cherry seamless paper background!
For this particular shot (at left) I used a Canon 580EX II flash shooting through an umbrella for my main light. This flash was set on manual and was set for f/8, around 1/8th power, I believe. To get that nice halo effect around my subject I used another 580EX II on the background but that was set up a bit different. To contain the light in a small circle I had a Honl 1/8" grid mounted on the flash. OK, $45 seems a bit pricey for a hunk of plastic but the thing works fantastic and it is quite well made, even though it is only a few cents worth of plastic. To attach it to the flash head you need a bit of velcro. You can either go to your neighbourhood hardware store and pick up a big roll of velcro or you can grab the fancy Honl speed strap to hold it in place. Either will do but I'm sure you can guess which option is the least expensive.
The spill from the main light illuminates the background well enough and the gridded background light creates the brighter halo effect around the subject. For this shot I wanted a bit more drama so I neglected to bounce light on the shadow side.
The next picture of the bowls is a bit of a different setup. This time there was a bare flash illuminating the background to keep it evenly lit. The bowls themselves are lit with a Canon 580EX II shooting through an umbrella, again manually set for about f/8.To minimize the shadows on the right side of the bowls a small piece of white foam core was used to push back a bit of light.
The final shot below I added a second light to the right of my subject for a bit of fill. The fill light was set about one and a half stops below the main light so it was around f/4.5. The fill light was also pushed through an umbrella. All the flashes were triggered with Pocketwizards. You can see a picture of the setup up shot here.
Oh yah, I am lovin' that cherry background.