Lens first. Lens. Lens. Lens.
1.). An EF-S 17-55 f/2.8. A very sharp lens with a larger lens opening (aperture) that lets about 4x more light into the camera on the long end than the kit lenses do.
2.). A really large aperture prime (fixed focal lens, not a zooming lens) like an EF 50mm f/1.4 for like $250.00 or an inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 STM ( the "STM" part is critical) for like $115.00). This lets in like 8x more light and also gives the ability to do the shallow depth of field you get from a large lens opening (aperture) that makes images better than snapshots.
I have a 50mm and I feel like I don't like shooting with it because I can't zoom? As crazy as that sounds lol
Not at all crazy; zoom lenses are where it's at these days. Many are of very high quality, and their versatility is obvious. Indeed, I don't understand why so many people keep recommending primes (lenses that don't zoom). Most people will never need them.
My wife and I have 14 lenses, and only two of them are primes: a 60mm macro that she uses occasionally and a 30mm f/1.4 that neither of us ever uses.
Re-read Scott's post.
"Lens first. Lens. Lens. Lens." Always lens or at least mostly always!
" I seem to do more portrait photography these days." And, you already have the ef 50mm f1.8 ?
On a T2i this is THE portrait lens. Of course if you purchased it with your T2i they have made a better version of it currently.
There is no doubt the T2i is a little long on the tooth but I think I would still go for a better lens. My choice would be the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens. Large constant aperture. Very sharp. Handles that best portrait range of 50 to 55mm on a Rebel. If you do buy that lens, sell the 50mil you have. You won't use it ever again.
Forget the used 50D notion.
If you are doing portraits, do you really need to zoom? I don't. The more open aperture also helps portraits.
Remember just any lens may not improve anything. Only better lenses than what you have will help IQ. Don't be buying just to be buying. You'll only waste your money.
I have probably only used the 50mm once. And I bought it a few years ago. My t2i was lightly used when I bought it and the guy sold it to me with the 18-135.
I just hate not having the flexibility on a non zoom lens.
I believe a new body is completely out of question. I'll be searching for a good budget friendly lens now.
Consider the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens that Ernie recommended a couple of messages ago. My wife and I each have it and have gotten excellent results. She used hers on a T2i for several years and still uses it now on her 7D Mark II. It's a perennial favorite and can often be found new or refurbished at a very good price. Its only annoying drawback is that it casts a shadow in the built-in flash's illumination field. But many lenses do these days, and an add-on flash is a better idea anyway, for several reasons.
As for the T2i body, it's old, but it was an improvement over its predecessor to a degree that didn't happen again in the Rebel line until the T6i. You'll want to replace it eventually, but there's no obvious reason why you should feel you have to do so now. Use it until it wears out.
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