David and I recently purchased a studio setup - backdrops + stand, umbrellas + stand for flashes, and a few yards of different types of cloth for the floor. This is something I've been wanting to do for ages, but we were finally motivated due to the birth of the fifth grandchild on my side of the family - we're the unofficial photographers for the family and with this many kids, we were all spending too much money going to professional photo studios.
The results? Holy cow. It's amazing what a little light and a simple backdrop can do for a picture. Getting excellent photos was remarkably straightforward (with two light sources - we have two flashes that we mounted on stands and pointed at umbrellas).
A few examples (my apologies if they don't load/are slow):
A: B: C:
A) My 2 week old niece, laying on a boppy underneath velvet, photographer standing on a chair
B) My son (15 years from now he's going to kill me)
C) My son and his cousin (now they're both going to kill me)
For any amateurs out there with a little cash to burn (not counting some of the other requirements such as one or more external flashes, plus a wireless flash controller), I highly recommend investing in a home studio. Now our main challenge is coming up with interesting and unique poses - when most of the photos turn out so well, they almost get boring. (I say “almost” because hey, he's my son, so he's never boring.)