While wandering through the craft store yesterday I hit upon a solution to hold my beads and little fishies still while I take photos of them.
Neutral colored decorative sand in a glass dish! You can position the items any way you wish and they stay in place.
You don't want grains of sand that are too small or they will stick to your items. But at the size shown here, the grains easily brush off when you need to reposition the item for the next picture.