So got a question from someone... Posting it here is in no way to make fun of them, but to spread the answer around like a person would spread butter on bread. Or in my case, stir it into mac n cheese (the generic brand).
"Hey, this might be a random question but I am new to the cities and am trying to start doing studio photography. I was wondering what you started with when you began studio shooting. I What type of lights do you prefer or backdrop material?"
Lights and backdrop don't really matter all that much - just as long as they look professional and get the results you want. I know that's not as sexy of an answer as it could be, but it's really the truth. Sometimes I want the hard light off my point and shoot film camera, other times I want something off of a bare studio head, other times I want something bigger and flatter. It all depends, but it can all look good.
As far as starting out, and I'm very serious, just use a white wall in an apartment or room. There is a lot of new work happening at the coasts using this, and I guess it is or it's starting to come into fashion. So I'd start there, get an umbrella, some kind of studio light (if you're doing a lot of shots using on camera equipment isn't the best, unless you like burning out flashes and buying new ones), and just setup a space in your home/apartment.
If you don't like that as a background, and I'm not a great example of this, but get some fun fabrics or sparkly stuff and set that up 5-10 feet behind the subject (for headshots), works great.
But in short a person doesn't need anything big and fancy to take good pictures. In fact, I trade big and fancy to "stand in front of this wall" for half my shoots.
Anyway, I hope that helps someone out there! It's sushi time!