Putting Together a Beginners Photography Kit
A photography kit is essential for anyone serious about the craft. Think of your kit as your tool box. It should be small and easy to transport, while full of the equipment you need to get the job done right. If you're beginning to take up photography as a hobby, then you are probably hesitant to spend a ton of money on equipment. That's okay. There are plenty of affordable ways to begin a creative hobby in photography.
The camera is the heart of your kit. Everything you get should revolve around what the camera is capable of. You don't need to drop a couple thousand dollars on the latest SLR that can also shoot HD video. Cameras like the Cannon Power Shot are great for beginners. These cameras have plenty of automatic controls and modes to help you out in situations where your technical skills are not quite there, like shooting fireworks at night.
You don't want a camera that does everything automatically, though. You want something that allows you to switch into manual control because that's how you're going to learn and grow as a photographer.
When your skills become more advanced and you know you have a passion for the craft, then you should invest in a more complex and expensive camera. But, for now while you're a beginner, you should stick to the basics.
Because you're beginning to learn photography, you should keep a notebook in your kit so you can keep accurate records of what you shot and what the settings were. This way you can compare them later and see how each small change affects the image.
A Photoflood Lighting Kit
These are about as basic as a lighting kit can get. You can buy a three light kit for about $100. They come with stands and a reflector to maximize your light. Typically, they can handle up to 500 watt bulbs.
The easiest way to control the intensity of the lights is with dimmers. They're not expensive, but when you purchase them, make sure they're rated to handle the wattage of your bulbs. If not then they won't work.
You will need these because there isn't always a plug nearby the spot you want to place your light.
Foamcore is similar to poster board. It makes an excellent poorman's bounce card.
A tripod is always a good thing to have, especially when shooting at slow shutter speeds. When the shutter speed is slowed down, then the slightest movement during exposure will cause a blurred image. This is a huge problem when shooting handheld, so include a tripod in your kit.