My Equipment

Research is good, but don't over do it. I did. It was a waste of my time and my money. Now I know I should have spent my time learning about lighting, rather than learning about lenses.

My personal experience is, that the limit thats keeping me become better is not the camera or the lens. It is me. I would be very happy, if one day I could say: I REALLY need better photo equipment to accomplish what I want to do. The hard part is to decide what I really want to do.

Camera and lens
I am really at the beginning of the learning curve and any basic dslr would be perfectly adequate for me to learn. These cameras are being replaced by a more capable model every 1-2 years. The funny thing is that in two years I am still not capable enough to fully utilize my camera, so why would I buy an even more capable camera? Guess innovation is key for keeping the consumer society alive.

Lights and Modifiers
So far I have only been shooting my portraits in natural light or with desklamps. I go some studio lighs lately, and the features they offer just overwhelm me. For reflecting, and filling the shadows I use whatever I find around the house, and I have one of those foldable reflectors too. Cool stuff.

Dont think that the built in flash of your camera is good for nothing. Try "finnbounce" from Petteri Sulonen's website. Its basically a home made reflector for slr's built in flash. It can be made under 5 minutes out of cardboard and tinfoil. Some of my photos were helped by this thingy, where I use it to fill the shadows on the model face with the finnbounce bouncing the camera's flash off the wall. The main light is usually natural light coming from a window. I can only recommended it.

Light Meter
I recently bought a light meter which I can only recommend. I kinda start to feel that even hough the light meter gives me the proper exosure reading, the camera needs to be adjusted. Oh well. I have a
Sekonic 308 and I put the camera into manual mode, for consistent results in studio or under constant lighting.

Post Process Hardware and Software
My post process is based around PC's. My lcd's have been calibrated with
Monaco Optix XR monitor calibration tool. Belive me, It really woths the money to calibrate your monitor.