Yea I agree, I did one better and stopped reading and replying to argumentative/hateful posters because they were going way off course and were trying to start a flame war rofl by trying to insult and act very immature and unprofessional. Again, I'd recommend these items for a portrait set up:
Lens - http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8-Camera-Lens/dp/B00007E7JU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348629859&sr=8-1&keywords=50+1.8
Lens Hood - http://www.amazon.com/Zeikos-ZE-LH52-52mm-Soft-Rubber/dp/B001UG57RY/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1348629910&sr=8-10&keywords=lens+hood+50mm+1.8
Speedlite - http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Nikon/dp/B0079M711S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348629955&sr=8-1&keywords=yongnuo+560+ii
Off camera Speedlite Triggering System - http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-NPT-04-Speelights-extra-receiver/dp/B005IQRMN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348629992&sr=8-1&keywords=cowboy+trigger
Umbrella + lightstand with Cold Shoe Mount for your receiver/flash - http://www.amazon.com/Westcott-2332-43-Inch-Collapsible-Umbrella/dp/B003BYRO6A/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1348630062&sr=8-16&keywords=umbrella+light+kit
With that set up you will be able to take amazing outdoor and even indoor portraits. The speedlite is just as good as the $500 Canon 580 ii but costs less because it doesn't have the Canon name on it and doesn't have TTL or HSS (both which I would almost never want to use anyways, TTL will give you inaccurate pictures as it relys on metering just like how automatic works on your camera or any Aperture or Shutter Priority modes work, HSS significantly lowers the power of your flash)
Total comes out to about $275.
Also, to the guy that said that light meters are so useful, your camera has a built in light meter (I hope it does if it's an DSLR), tinkering around with an external light meter is very time consuming especially when you're shooting on the go and lighting is constantly changing. The best way that I've found and most pros get their lighting set up is based off one quick shot using your camera light metering of choice, adjusting, taking another quick pic and possibly using the histogram, only takes a few seconds and doesn't require turning on or using any off camera light meters.
When it comes to flash I like to get a good ambient shot, shooting to the right on my histogram slightly and then using my aperture to control the flash. This requires no tinkering of the flash at all, just use your cameras built in light meter and adjust aperture for more/less flash power and shutter for ambient.
Good luck with your purchase and I wish everyone on here all the best and a wonderful week.Edited by Mwarren - 9/25/12 at 8:40pm