Ok - I confess! I work in a tiny 12x12 area of my 6 foot table. The photography on the right is a regular example of what my workspace looks like EVERY SINGLE DAY. So how do I take pictures of what I'm doing for classes and tutorials as I work? Really, it's as easy as a milk jug and the retouch tool on my photo application. Here's what you do:
1) Wash an empty milk jug and cut off the handle and the top opening. Then trim away the base and square up the side edges. This will give you an opaque 'shield' that you can bend open slightly to go around your work space.
2) Place the 'shield' around what you want to photograph and take your picture. The shield blocks the clutter behind it while diffusing any light and lessening harsh shadows.
3) Edit the photo to remove the line between what you're photographing and the 'shield.' This can get a bit tricky if you have something that is near that line - like the cane slice I left in on the left side as an example - but after you know what to look for and what to avoid, it gives you a nice trick to blocking clutter from your photographs while diffusing harsh shadows.
And now - back to working in my mess! STAY CREATIVE, EVERYONE!!