I don't want to appear too pessimistic, but you need to know the reality before investing in photo equipment that may not bring in a return on your investment. Please consider that newspapers that once had staffs of a dozen photographers may only have one or none now as reporters are expected to take their own photos. Stock photos used in books, magazines, textbooks, and brochures that once could be licensed for one hundred fifty dollars and up now can bring in under ten dollars or less (or often publications will want them at no cost). I have no personal knowledge of the situation for wedding and school photographers or other portrait type work, but I expect this is dismal as well as it has always been low paying in the past. And selling prints at art fairs or in galleries, if you can get into one, must also be less lucrative than before digital came along.
As a former photo workshop leader I have known many fine photographers who do photography for the sheer joy of it. So get a camera as other have suggested here, or carry a smartphone with you daily and practice with it to hone your photo skills. Photography can be highly satisfying if you keep the cost of doing in within your budget and have realistic expectations about it as a prospective career.
Dennis recommends the following next steps:
No. I made my first photography dollar from what is considered a beginner camera (Nikon D3100) with the basic kit lens (18-55mm if memory serves). I was taking street photo's in New Orleans, and the New Orleans Board of Tourism bought the publishing rights to about 10 of them. However, know this. If you are thinking of making the jump to professional photography, there will be a point and time when you want gear that reflects your skill level, AND sometimes reliability is EVERYTHING! It's one thing to apologize to an individual client when your cheap flashes fail, or start throwing the wrong color, completely another when you are on an advertising shoot, with hired models, rented venue, and you can't "get the shot". Then not only will your wallet take a hit, but your reputation as well.
Beginning gear recommendations:(I started making money with this gear)
Nikon D3100 or newer SLR camera ; I recommend this 3000 series SLR because it has a nice built in guide to help remind you of settings. SLR camera's are the industry standard, any they give you major bonuses over camera's with smaller sensor sizes (I.e. cell phone, point and shoot).
Nikon 35mm 1.8 DX lens: This is a good crop sensor lens for a crop sensor camera (Look that up)
Basic lightstand and White "Shoot through" umbrella (Westcott Brand)
Lumopro LP180 Quad Sync Manual flash (Good reliable flash, and it's manual so you can really learn how to use it) I still use this flash to this day
I recommend that you purchase all this gear used (Ebay, Craigslist, Mercari), people think they want to be photographers all the time, then end up quitting, you will save quite a bit of money this way.
If you start to outgrow this camera, and you intend to be a professional, then save your money for a Full frame sensor camera before you start buying new glass. Work with the gear list i've just given you, you should be able to make some sweet portraits, and other types of images....if the bug bites you, then go a bit bigger.
Christopher recommends the following next steps:
But as you choose this a profession, then you have to find out which photography you're interested. Like street, wedding, nature, wildlife etc. Based on this you can choose the right equipment, lenses and other accessories.
"Advancing Your Photography: A Handbook for Creating Photos You'll Love". Search it in google, hand book.
Start reading some books like above or whatever you have and use your mobile/any other equipment to creates your beautiful photos.
Also, go through the other beautiful photos taken by professional and understand the framing.
Zandra Babes’s Answer
I will say no you do not have to have all of the fanciest and newest equipment to get started. I started my photography journey 15 years ago with an antique 35mm really old real film camera. I have since worked my way up to a much much better one. If you are just getting started, I would say find one you like that feels good in your hands and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs and different lenses that can be used and then get to shooting. As you get better, you can always upgrade to newer and better.
Hope this helps.
The best camera is the one you have! No need to be insecure if you don't have the best camera and lenses, as long as you can produce decent shots. That's all that matters. I listed all the basic things you'll need below:
Equipments: Camera, and Lights.
Basic knowledge: Composition, Layout, Cropping, etc.
Softwares: Adobe Lightroom, and Photoshop.