Photography Equqipment Suggestions:
Nikon and Canon are industry leaders for the mid-range kind of DSLR camera that we use at i.imagine. Every year, they both come out with a new model with new bells and whistles, most of which won't improve your picture quality, but are cool features like touch screen and Bluetooth.
Canon: The "Rebel" Series. The Rebel T8i was just released as a kit (with a lens, bag, battery and charger) or around $900. If this is out of your budget, I highly recommend buying used gear from verified used dealers. You can save tons and get the same great results as a new camera. Any DSLR camera from Rebel T1 and up will give your kiddos PLENTY of room to grow as photographers. The links below are the companies that i.imagine is partnered with, and from my experience, they absolutely stand behind their used products!
Nikon: The "D" series. The Nikon D5600 is about $800, and any "D" Series lower than this all the way to the "D 3000" is great! These are "apples to apples" with the Canon Rebel series.
If budget is an issue, welcome to the club! Here's my three top picks for online and local stores that sell used DSLR cameras, lenses and accessories. These are the "go to sites" for most professionals seeking used gear.
Local Purchasing (please tell it's for an i.imagine student):
K&R Photographic: https://www.krphotodigital.com/
Many of these cameras are sold as "body only," which means, there's no lens included. If this is the case, you'll have to buy a lens separately, which I also recommend. The 18-55mm kit lens is most common and typically used at i.imagine (this goes for both Nikon and Canon).
Each of the first three online options rate each camera/lens by grade (indicating overall wear and functionality).
One of my favorite lenses, and one that you'll find in every pro's bag is the 50mm prime lens (For Canon and Nikon). It performs really well in low light, is super sharp, small, and runs around $150 new, and around $50-$75 used. The only downfall is that it doesn't zoom and is fixed at 50mm. You've got to go Fred Flintstone style and move your feet to get closer!
50mm prime lens
Cool neck strap
Second camera battery
Photoshop subscription - Photography editing subscription for students is around $10 per month