Enjoy the inspiring and helpful thoughts of ViewBug member sarahallegra, read on!

As photographers, it can be very easy to get caught up in the competition for having the best gear available; the best camera body, the best lenses, even the best five-way reflector. And while it is valuable to have good gear, I'm a firm believer that you do not need to spend your energy (and hard-earned money) chasing the Holy Grail of The Best Gear.

This point was illustrated to me recently when I had to take my camera into the shop for a minor repair. I ended up spending a while chatting with the extremely knowledgeable woman who worked there. I'd brought along a couple recent images of mine on a USB drive to illustrate the problem I'd been having and, after she saw my raw images, she asked what camera I was using. When I told her, she said my camera had been designed for “soccer moms and birthday parties;” nothing like the kind of images I'd been creating with it.

Telling you that is not to brag about how great I think I am (I could count off a whole list of photographers who I think are better than I am off the top of my head!). But it provided a valuable reminder that great gear does not equal great photographs.

A great photographer is someone who creates great images, regardless of whether they're taken on the newest, shiniest camera available or a cell phone. Composition, color, lines, exposure, emotion... these are all tools any photographer using any equipment available can use. The best camera in the world cannot create these critical components for you. They must come from your imagination, your vision.

I'm not saying you have to use old equipment or that you shouldn't buy new gear when you can. In my case, I'm saving up for a camera which will take larger images, which will enable me to make larger prints. As a fine art photographer, that's an important ability to have. But I've gone six years using very “basic” cameras which enabled me to create images which have been published and won awards.

So, should you upgrade your gear? It really depends. If a new piece of equipment will solve a problem for you or make your photography easier, it may be worth saving up for. But simply changing out the camera you're holding in your hands will not instantly make you a better photographer. That's your job, not the camera's. It's up to you to practice, learn and hone your craft to be the best photographer you can be, no matter what camera you're using.

What it boils down to is this: passion will always trump gear. You can swap out equipment until your head spins with all the possible combinations, but you can't trade out your creative vision. Pursue your passion. Hone your craft. Sharpen your vision. These are your ultimate weapons. With them, no matter what you're shooting with, you will turn out stunning photographs every time.