As another example of what you can accomplish on a budget I offer the following… I was asked to photograph my brother in-laws beautiful baby daughter who was only a few weeks old. They were wanting the black background look that we had seen so skillfully executed by other photographers. Trouble is, I have no studio, no studio lights, not even an external flash, so what to do? Wal-Mart to the rescue! We bought 3 or 4 black bedsheets for the backdrop and floor, went over to the hardware area and bought 4 of those clamp on work lights, along with 4 of the brightest compact fluorescent bulbs they carried.
In a darkened room I rigged up a way to hold up the backdrop, spread more sheets in the foreground to get some seperation, set up the lights, and went to work. I had to dial up the ISO on the camera, and have the lights close, but I was able to get workable shutter speeds using the camera on a tripod. I suppose you could add some more lights to help with this. Frankly, the originals out of the camera look terrible, but after converting the RAW files to monochrome in Lightroom they suddenly looked pretty darn good. Sure, a studio would be better, or at least a makeshift studio with some ‘real’ lights or flash units, but you can get by without.