Any sort of rocker board is going to be decent. If you are going to splurge, you might want to consider a powder gun.
Avalanche safety. Do what your guides tell you. It's that simple. Knowing a little about what to watch for is good. Pick up and read Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. Easy read, good info. At the very least it should help you spot Red Flags while you are out. They should supply you with the necessary safety gear.
Powder skirts. That's a personal thing. I don't like them. I've been known to cut them out if they annoy me enough. I do ride deep powder most of the time I am out and I've never though that I needed one. If you hate it when snow gets inside your outerwear, you may want to use it. It is just something I don't consider. A semi long jacket and a good belt on my pants work for me.
You might consider one of the all in Cat Trips like Baldface before going huge on a Heli. You'll get as many if not more runs and the terrain is fantastic.
Powder riding itself, can be very tiring. Especially if you are not used to it, and if your equipment is not set for it. Once you get the feel for it, it's pretty damn easy and fun.
I have no ideas about photos. Best way to go is you and your buds have good cameras for photos. For film, a gopro, Drift, the New Sony Helmet cam are great ways to go. Especially as you get comfortable with pow riding you can do the stick and such to get different fun views.
Last edited by killclimbz; 11-15-2012 at 08:19 AM.