1. What is the First Thing I Should Buy?
Well this should be fairly obvious depending on what field you are looking to get into. Whether you are looking to get into photography or videography will greatly decide what you first need to get. The first piece of equipment is Obviously a CAMERA. You will want to pick one for your style of shooting. If you are looking to mainly Photography, than obviously you will want a better DSLR camera like a Canon 60D or Higher (im a Canon Fan "Sorry Nikon Fans"). If you are looking to do more Videography, then you would want to look at a 3CCD Camcorder perhaps.
However there is a fine line In cameras and this decision will affect your whole business later down the road. If you are looking to shoot documentary's or news reports, then you will want a ENG Style camcorder or a 3CCD. If you are shooting shorter, more controlled clips then you might want to look into a DSLR with Video features such as the Canon T2i or Higher. DSLR's have to focused manually (Some DSLR's have auto focus video mode but are not to good yet) and there for take a lot of practice to get right. The biggest draw back on DSLR's are that they can only record 12 minutes at a time and then stop. Some may record longer but not by much. Just simply hit record immediately after and it will begin again.
You will want to look into the specs of a few different camera's before deciding because depending on which camera you purchase, you will want to buy accessories that will help that specific camera type/line and not others. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your research before buying.
2. Whats Next?
While you have your camera and think you are ready to take off, take a step back and look at everything else that you need. While yes you can go off and start shooting as a lot of people tend to do in the beginning to get their feet wet with a little experience, Your quality of photos and video may suffer because you failed to look over the fundamental accessories. Lets take a look at a few accessories that will great improve your shots for both photos and video.
A Good tripod means steadier shots. In photography a tripod may not be as greatly needed because you can always kick up your shutter speed to compensate for a little shakiness. However, For video a good Tripod Means EVERYTHING! There are many different types of tripods out there that offer different features such as a ball head, Fluid Head, 3 Way Pan & Tilt Head, and Many more. For video the best tripod (in my opinion) is a fluid head. These Tripods offer butter like movements when panning and tilting.
Please do not buy the cheap $40 tripod you find at walmart or bestbuy for video Purposes. They break very easily and are not stable at all. They also are very shaky in movement and you would be better off just going hand held than trying to operate movement on them.
if you look at B&H Davis & Sanford Provista You can find a great Fluid head tripod for only $100.
Spend the extra money for better equipment and don't Cheap out, Especially on a tripod... You Will Regret it later.
Lighting is everything in both Video & Photo. Without light, you have no shot. You need to have at least some sort of external light for the situations where the Ambient is not good enough for a decent shot. Light kits can rank up in the thousands of dollars but are well worth it. However, Just beginning out you will end up saying "I don't have the money for this". It's ok if you do not have much money for lighting kits. These can actually go as cheap as under $20 for a decent light kit. You can Find Many Many DIY light build such as the one below to build yourself a decent light kit
If however you have some cash to spend, i would strongly suggest the Ephoto 4500 3 Point light kit. Its runs for about $200 on amazon and is an amazing starter kit to have and can be found here at
If you do not have enough money for a kit or even the time to assemble the kit on locations Such as a wedding or Run and gun Interview setup, You need to get an on camera Light. I Personally use the NEEWER CN-126 LED on Camera Light (see photo Below) and it works absolutely amazing when I am on location such as weddings. I tell all my Cameramen that if i see them not using the on camera light during receptions that i will have a talk with them afterwards. The great thing about these lights are that they are small, Very portable, Brighten any shot, and are under $40 normally.
Now that you have a camera, A Good tripod, and a light kit. You are almost ready to begin filming. The last thing that you will really need is an External Microphone. The sound on the camera normally is ok, but not the best. If you have a great shot that looks amazing and is clear and crisp, It could be completely destroyed if the audio is bad. For this reason a shotgun mic is generally used to capture a more direct sound than a 360 sound. Depending on what kind of microphone you buy also determines how focused and sensitive your audio is. You can find some cheap shotgun mics on amazon but again i would suggest spending a little bit more money on the audio.
The Rhode video Mic on BH runs $150 and is a consumer favorite. Its not the best audio but much better that your built in microphone and is worth the investment. The Rhode Mic can be found Here at BH.com/Rhode
What else Do I Need?
That's it! Your done! You sir/mam may now go out and properly film. However remember you only have the core basic equipment and may not be very good further down the line as your experience and quality build. The More you shoot, the more you will learn what kind of style you have, and also learn what you need to improve on. You may find the the equipment you have may not be enough to cover a certain job. with experience and more jobs, you will be able to purchase better and better equipment. It is now up to you from this point to decide on what to buy and what to improve on. The further you go the more expensive it will cost.
Haha i remember when i bought my first light kit for $200 and i thought it was a huge investment (other than my camera) and now here we are buying kits for over $2,000.
Just remember You will get there eventually and it may take some time but don't ever stop. We all started where you are now!