This may sound vague, but my own opinion is just this simple:
1) Buy brass-cased ammo. Period.
2) FMJs for the range- Pay no more than $25 (per 100rds), so $12-13 per 50. One way or another, you can
find it for $10/50. Excellent 9mm range ammo can be had for 20cents/round for 115gr, and 20-25cents/round for 124gr. I prefer 124gr, but shoot both quite a bit.
3) Defense JHPs- Almost everything out there performs well. Different shooters and different firearms will benefit from different loads. I like 124+gr, and I like Winchester Rangers because I can get a box of 50rds for about $25. But almost all of the alternate options are just fine.
Walmart is an excellent source for cheap range FMJs. SGammo.com
is a great source for all flavors of 9mm. I just sent them $400 today, lol.
Don't get too wrapped up in "brands". The more you experiment and shoot, the more you'll learn about your preferences.