The End Justifies the Means (in art)
In photography, and any art form really, the end justifies the means. By that I mean that how you take the photo, the settings, the lighting, the posing, etc., doesn’t matter as long as you capture the shot you envisioned and it communicates to your audience.
This is important to keep in mind because it is easy to get caught up in the wave of “needing more and better equipment” without really analyzing what you actually need vs. what marketing campaigns are saying you need.
I’ll give you an example: when you walk into an art museum and you look at a Van Gogh, do you think to yourself “I wonder what brand paint brush he used?” Or, have you ever heard of an art critic mention that “Michelangelo used an out-dated chisel, he really should have kept his equipment up-to-date.” I’ll answer for you: No. You haven’t. The reason why is very simple; it doesn’t matter. The art is beautiful, it communicates and the technical details are simply that: technical details.
The fact of the matter is that if you take a great photo of someone that captures their individuality and highlights their beauty, no one is going to see a print of that photo and know what settings you used or what camera or what lens. They’re going to see a great photo.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with buying a new camera or a new lens. However, a new camera or a new lens isn’t going to make your pictures better. YOU are going to make your pictures better.