While we may be tempted to blame (or praise) our equipment for the quality of the image, the truth is that equipment is really secondary, and almost any camera will give you outstanding results if you have two key ingredients: The light and the posing!
Nevertheless, without a camera, one won't go far. So here is a typical configuration:
- $70 x 2 Yongnuo YN560-IV flash
- $70 Lighting kit with two stands, swivels, umbrellas
While higher end mirrorless cameras such as the Fuji X-T1 are extremely attractive as an all-around solution, the performance (in particular autofocus) for entry level mirrorless cameras do not yet match DSLR performance at equivalent cost.
For portraiture, the prime 50mm lens is preferred over the standard (and not so luminous) 16-55mm kit zoom.
Next up... lighting and posing