For the beginners...who want to start out and get somewhere...this is what I'd suggest you follow..
1. You have to start with a camera...so, now I'd say buy either a Canon or a Nikon...because down the road, if you want to upgrade your lenses and cameras, you will have plenty of great equipment options to make, especially when it comes to buying used gear......so start out with either a Nikon D70, or a Canon Digital Rebel......oh, and you should always keep your camera in "M" / Manual mode.....keep it out of the program modes if you ever want to learn anything...
btw, since you are using digital, it is 100 times faster and 100 times more economical to learn about photography than with film cameras....which is what I was using back in the day...I still have tons of shoe boxes filled with crappy pictures that I took while learning what the heck I was doing....which cost me tons of $.
2. You have to put a lens on your camera... with the above mentioned cameras, you can opt to buy them with the lens they offer....I'd say get it..which will be a fairly wide to short telephoto range lens.. Next, buy a lens like a 80-200...or a 75-300mm zoom.. They are very affordable, and if you are just learning, those two lenses will keep you pretty happy..
3. Pick up some reflectors...like "foam core" which are large white panels which are commenly used for framing pictures.......then, buy a shiny gold / silver reflector.....a pop-up style.. and learn how to add fill light from the sun into your subjects.. Sometimes, all I do is go outdoors with a camera and an assistant who holds a reflector....and you can get pretty much the same lighting results I get too.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Photo lesson No.1, Place a vase on a table and near a window....then photograph it from all around....and look at what happens with how the light reflects off of it.. then, place a reflector on the shadow side of it and photograph it... place the reflector close to the vase and then pull it further away...photographing everything and look at the differences between the shots.. Before finding "models" to work with, learn the basics and learn how to light a model ....as if she were a large vase...as apposed to having one come over while you try to learn how to photograph her....wasteing her time and your's..
4. Pick up a Stroboframe quick flip flash bracket...and an off shoe cord, and the top-of-the-line dedicated flash...like a Canon 580EX...and learn how to light subjects in Manual mode only.. Don't use any automatic flash modes......and learn how to "bounce flash"... Also, learn how to use "fill flash" rather than just blasting the hell out of your subject..so you can get more ambient light to add to the picture..
5. Buy an light meter that reads both flash and ambient light.. and base your exposures on that meter reading.. determin how to create ratios using flash and ambient light.
6. Buy a sturdy tripod....I'd suggest getting a gear head...I happen to enjoy using a gear head for everything from studio stills to location shots..with the exception of action photography...like models walking down a cat-walk...or shooting soccer....but what does that have to do with glamour photography.....not much..
7. Pick up either a White Lightning /Alien Bees or Bowens /Calumet Travel Light kit with three lights which come with stands, cords, a case, and usually some sort of light mods like a soft box and or umbrellas.. I think at this time, Calumet Travel lights are a great system for the beginner because what you have to grow in to later on.. There are other light kits which are good too but these have a decent amount of power for pratical application of glamour, and portrait photography..
8. Then, once you have all this in place, buy Adobe Photoshop CS or the current top end program.......elements is good to get you by with...and it comes free with your camera but you can do soooo much more with the real thing...it's kind of like compareing....uhmmm....never mind. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
9. Now that you have a decent understanding of lighting, exposure, and composition, now it's time for you to decide if you want to continue...and buy some much better lenses...or keep this as a hobby and just have fun with it.. If you want to continue at this, and perhaps make some money shooting...then you might want to look into buying a better camera...and some better lenses..
10. After No. 9, now buy some better lighting equipment....like grids, gels, barndoors, different types of soft boxes..ring flash, more powerful lights..like a 2400power pack..or some portable flashes that run on DC power that you can take into the middle of the forest that provide a lot of light and portability..
Finally, keep shooting....shoot all the time....always find something to photograph when you have free time..or learn about photography.....read books, page through magazines and try to figure out how the photographer took those pictures you see....and visit websites where you can contribute to photography discussions..
JP Window light only...the wall provided a great fill of it's own..