When you first start in photography it can be a little tricky to know what to buy. Well here are my tips that hopefully make it less stressful for you. Firstly the make does not matter, get that out of your head. If you like Canon you're going to get a Canon if you like Sony you're going to get a Sony. What matters is, does it have a manual mode. Thats it. If it has manual mode great. Firstly if you don't know about photography and modes best thing to do is, put your camera in Shutter priority mode or Program mode and see what the camera's light meter is telling you. Normally the flashing lines will give you the information, then switch it back to manual mode and mess around with the settings. Thats the beauty of digital photography you can change all the setting and keep snapping until you're happy. Photography is a form of art so a really under exposed photo could look great compared to the "correct" exposure.
There are lots of things in photography you might need to know at some point but at the start as long as you get a correctly exposed image thats all that matter. It sound be fun not stressful.
The thing I'd buy if I was starting fresh with photography
- Camera with a standard zoom lens say 24-105mm or 70-300mm
- Spare battery
- Memory card
That's about it really, you can pick up good starter kits from most camera manufactures, they will give you camera and a lens and I'm sure whatever shop you buy them from they will do you a good deal on spare battery and memory.
Try SRS Microsystems in Watford,UK. Not only will they help you on what camera to buy but they will help you set up your camera so you'll have no problems starting out.