Product photography is often shot on a white background. The simplest way for a photographer to do this is to place the product in a setting that has high contrast (I usually create a light-box of sorts). For a lot of white background photography for online sales, the key isn't to add a high level of shadow and highlights, but just enough that there is texture to the item. This texture helps demonstrate the feel of the material and add a bit too the image.
Being able to accurately and effectively do product photography is something that takes time to learn. There has to be a proficiency in off-camera strobes in order to have enough control when making these images. I usually am able to photograph a smaller product with only a couple speed-lights and some bounce cards (white cardboard to bounce light off of).