Hal, I'm about as far from a photographer as a man could be, but I once read here that in lieu of a professional backdrop and lighting the best bet was photographing guns outside on a cloudy day. I've done that for years and it has always worked well for me.
Seems like once again I will have to agree with you.
I am far from a pro, and not even a great amature. Paying someone to do it for you that is a pro if they use auto ANY settings send him down the road.
Would rather shoot birds, even with a camera, than guns for sale. Done a fair share of it and it can be difficult to get it right. Hazy days usually give the best results to represent the wood grain IME.
Wait did you say a NID 4E?! No. Yes. No! Well maybe... On the short list but not right now. VA inspector is coming tomorrow morning for a refi on the house though LOL.
Flash is harsh and the finish usually interfers with a clear picture. Bouncing the flash off the ceiling helps a lot, and even then have to usually turn down the power a bit on the strobe. And that is with popcorn ceiling which diffuses light more than modern ceilings. Bright sunlight does it even worse.
Actually won a weekly photo challenge couple of years ago. Challenge was marketing.
Pure white background is usually the best to make your subject "float". Why most marketing pictures are taken with a white light box with lights being diffused at the subject. Leather with a high shine present the same issues that a gun with a finish on it does.
For guns a piece of rough canvas drop cloth for painting on a hazy day is hard to beat for showing detail. And pardon the pun, is a good canvas for a backdrop.
At least IMO. Which is worth what you paid for it. But no distractions. Just the facts.