Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG lens
Nikkor 85mm 1.4D lens
Nikkor 105mm 2.8G VR macro lens
Nikkor 135mm 2.0D lens
Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G lens
Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6G lens
Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3
My wish list:
Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8G lens
Until July of 2010, I used:
Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens
Canon 17-55mm 2.8 IS lens
Canon 50mm 1.2L lens
Canon 100mm 2.8L IS Macro lens
Canon 55-250mm 4-5.6 IS lens
Canon Speedlite 430EX
I am self taught and have spent countless hours reading about photography, watching photoshop tutorials and PRACTICING PRACTICING PRACTICING with my camera. I started out with a Canon Rebel xt and read Bryan Peterson's book titled Understanding exposure and would highly recommend studying that book if you're just starting out in photography.
First of all, I always shoot RAW and in manual mode then do my initial edit and convert to JPEG in Lightroom. I then do my full edit in Photoshop CS5. I almost always use 100% natural light. I do bounce a flash off the wall or ceiling if I need to. I also will occasionally use a reflector.
If you're wondering what camera to buy, the only Nikon camera I've used is the D700. I LOVE it and highly recommend it. I haven't used any cropped frame Nikon bodies so I don't have any advice on them. I have heard lots of good things about the D300 or D300s and the D90.
For Canon users, I recommend both the Canon 40D which has a cropped frame sensor and the 5D which has a full frame sensor. Canon no longer makes either of these cameras but you can find them used or refurbished. Adorama sells refurbished by Canon cameras with a 1 year warranty. The Canon 50D (cropped frame) is a good alternative if you can't find the 40D or 5D. If you are on a tighter budget, I'd look into a Canon rebel XSi (cropped frame). I don't recommend buying the kit lens with the camera unless you are really wanting the particular lens they are selling with the camera. I would buy the camera body only and buy the lens/lenses you really want, separately.
The Canon 17-55mm 2.8 IS lens is a super sharp lens for crop frame cameras and the one I have on my 40D most of the time. The 24-70mm 2.8L is great for full frame cameras. I also LOVE my 50mm 1.2L lens. The shallow depth of field is so pretty. I couldn't live without that lens. If you're looking for less expensive alternatives, a good everyday zoom is the Tamron 28-75mm 2.8. A great prime lens is the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens and if you're looking for really cheap, go with the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. It's a really great lens for the money. I buy all my photo equipment from either B&H or Adorama.
I also get lots of questions about where I find my props. I get most of them from Etsy. I just run a search for what I'm looking for and can usually find tons of options on etsy. I also love to look at local antique shops.
I hope I've answered most of your questions. Thanks for the visit!