1. Decide ahead of time if you want low, mid, or high key lighting. This depends on the mood you want for the scene. These cameras record a 4:2:0 color space so, unlike recording in RAW, 4:4:4 or even 4:2:2 recording you don’t have the ability to do big color grading changes in post when shooting with first generation DSLR cameras. For an explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling
2. If you want contrast try to leave some detail in the shadow and highlight areas. Expose your image toward the middle of the gray scale. You can pull the blacks down easier then you can pull them up when you edit. Your camera’s meter and histogram can help you evaluate this. For more info see http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Digital_Imaging/dynamic_range_01.htm
3. Bring white foam core, white sheets (clean please) and black cloth (black duvatene) and 2 inch spring clamps. Blocking unwanted light with black cloth or diffusing bright window light with a white sheet and bouncing it off of foam core will help get your base level light up, thus narrowing your exposure into a range your camera can handle.
Cameras can’t handle contrast the way our eyes do. You have to sculpt light if you want your shot to look great!