Be sure to clean the lens cover: Most people just turn on the camera app and shoot, but a phone is handled almost in a ruthless manner, compared to even the most humble camera, so chances are the "front element" is blurry due to fingertip grease. Remember that in case of phones this front element is just a protective glass (or polycarbonate, etc) so don't be frantic about it: any cotton swab will do the trick.
If it's a notebook chances are it's black. ( Is this the case? ) Most cameras are calibrated to meter light so they achieve 18% gray (more or less). But the case of a black object taking up most of the scene may get the cameras metering a little confused, trying to make black look gray (light-wise, not color-wise speaking). This is why I suggest also:
- Using a fixed ISO: I tend to use 200 or 400, and get fairly good
- Change the "Exposure Value". sometimes up, sometimes down, it
depends on the particular lighting when you are taking the
- Make sure you select "fine" or "superfine" in the picture
- If the photo turns out with wrong color: change the white
balance according to your shooting conditions. If you use the cloudy
day window set up, as suggested chances are the "Cloudy" setting will
All these parameters are reachable from the default camera app's setting menu in the Samsung Galaxy S II.
Almost any cameraphone, and even point and shoot cameras will yield grainy photos in low light, and for these devices, even a typical office may be low lighting, that they automatically try to overcome, some by increase exposure time (tends to produce moved or blurry photos) or increasing ISO sensitivity (Tends to produce grainy or "dotted" pictures). This is why I recommend using a fixed ISO. But if you shoot in low light, the phone will increase exposure time, so I also recommend to use some object to support your phone while taking the photo (Since you cant use a tripod, strictly speaking) Any object that keep you from shaking the phone will do: like a glass bottle, a coffee cup, a pile of books... etc.
Borrowing the suggestion given in another answer: Use a ply of thin white cardboard to create an infinite background, this trick alone will make your product look a lot better, but also gives a good reference to calibrate your settings on the phone since it HAS TO LOOK WHITE, not gray, not bluish gray, not orange-ish gray, etc. (Since it's a product shot, not a creative picture) The background should look gray only where the product projects its shadow.