Re: Metering for Tabletop
Right, you still want to keep the highlights and shadows within a certain contrast range, so they will print properly. So a 3:1 ratio is a good start. You can use additional lights with various attachments (snoots, grids, spots, etc.) to highlight certain areas of the image. For example, you might use a gridded light to rimlight just a small part of one object (similar to a hairlight in portrait photography), or you might use multiple spot lights to draw attention to specific areas of the image.
It's easy enough to throw up two umbrellas, set your ratio, and shoot, but that sort of picture ends up being kinda flat and boring. Get a good studio lighting book and give it a go.