It would be very pretentious of me to declare that looking at the photographs and diagrams below will teach you how to light. That said, looking at the photographs and setups and trying to understand the motivation behind the lighting will give you a good start when dealing with similar lighting dilemmas.
You can always come back to this post to see how a particular image was lit to make a similar setup or to use it as a stepping stone for your own. Then enjoy the photos below.
Glowing / Steve Bennett
Vases / Ragoem
Know Your Job / Zeke Kamm
The Lighting for this self portrait by Zeke Kamm is a pretty standard setup for these kind of shots. Umbrella as a key light and a bare strobe for some separation. The interesting bit, though is the way Zeke slows the shutter down to let some motion blur into the feast. (I tried to locate the assistant, for more details, but he would not talk).
Martini from Hell / Vlad Solomon
This Martini glass is a single light shot (no pan intended). It uses the fact that translucent objects can be lit by a back-light, keep form, and take the color of the light. Hence a single light with red gel is used. The fire is real and achieved by "floating" a bit of lighter fluid on the surface of the martini.
Manon / Benoit Linard
Photographer Benoit Linard lit Manon in a classical way - a softbox from camera left, and a bare strobe from far right. sounds familiar? This setup is very similar to the one used by Zeke for his gangster image above. The list is soft since the small softbox is positioned very close to the model.
Autumn Red / Steve Bennett
This detailed and sharp image of a leaf was made with a very simple setup. A strobe shot into a box with
paper top. While similar box are usually used as light tents or makeshift softboxes, Steve uses it as a light table.
restricted light snoots / fiberstrobe
I don't even know how to start describing this setup. This sophisticated piece of DIY includes locline with threaded fibers to direct light and an assortment of yogurt cups and snoot accessories to have your strobe mimic several separate light sources.