200 Photography Quotes For Inspiration

I’m sure that many will not disagree that when it comes to photography, there is always something new to learn. No matter how good you become, there is always scope for improvement. Apart from books and practice, I’ve found photography quotes by famous photographers highly educational and inspiring. So, I’ve put together a list of 200 quotes on photography which I found useful and fun to read.

photography quotes

Photography Quotes

“If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture.” ― Eddie Adams

“You can observe a lot by watching.” ― Yogi Berra.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time.” ― Robert Dosineau

“Photography is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed cyclops — for a split second.” ― David Hockney

“Life is a photograph, take your time to pause and enjoy it” ― Felix Ireland

“Never trust any photograph so large it can only fit inside a museum.” ― Duane Michals

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” ― Dorothea Lange

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“One of the risks of appearing in public is the likelihood of being photographed.” ― Diane Arbus

“To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain.” ― Brassai

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” — Jim Richardson

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” ― Edward Steichen

“Camera is the third eye and second heart of a photographer.”  ― Alireza Asghari

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” — August Sander

“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.” — Wynn Bullock

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.” — Yousuf Karsh

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” ― Anonymous

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” — Alfred Eisenstaedt

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” — Anonymous

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” — Diane Arbus

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” — Dorothea Lange

“When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.” — Annie Leibovitz

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” — Yousuf Karsh

“When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” — Anonymous

“I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.” — Annie Leibovitz

“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images I live with them.” — Bruce Gilden

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.” — Susan Sontag

“If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.” — Linda McCartney

“Essentially what photography is is life lit up.” — Sam Abell

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” — Diane Arbus

“Once you learn to care, you can record images with your mind or on film. There is no difference between the two.” — Anonymous

photography quotes

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.” — Ambrose Bierce

“Photography is truth.” — Jean-Luc Godard

“If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” — Eve Arnold

“A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a person’s life that reveal greater truths.”
— Anonymous

“You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.” — Unknown

“It’s not the camera but who’s behind the camera.” — Anonymous

“A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye.” — Roger Kingston

“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” — Anonymous

“Photography is a love affair with life.” — Burk Uzzle

“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.” — Leon Levinstein

“Photography is the beauty of life captured.” — Tara Chisolm

“I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.” — Gerardo Suter

“I think of photography like therapy.” — Harry Gruyaer

“Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.” — Percy W. Harris

“I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.” – Alec Soth

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.” – John Berger

“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.” – Edward Weston

“I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport.” — Bill Brandt

“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.” – Garry Winogrand

“There will be times when you will be in the field without a camera. And, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed. Don’t be bitter because you can’t record it. Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is!” – DeGriff

“I shutter to think how many people are underexposed and lacking depth in this field.” – Rick Steves

“Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.” – Alex Tehrani

“The camera adds a certain sheen to things. Something about being frozen in time really makes things sparkle.”
– Brandon Stanton

“Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.” – Morley Baer

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Arthur Brisbane

“Allow yourself the freedom to step away from perfection because it is only then that you can find success.” – Chase Jarvis

“A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.” – Skyler Reid

“You just have to live and life will give you pictures.” – Henri Cartier Bresson

photography quotes

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject – that is the essence of expression and art through photography.” – Scott Bourne

“Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.” – Edward Weston

“Photography can light up darkness and expose ignorance.” – Lewis Hine

“What I have learnt and what I teach now is all about experimentation and learning to pick yourself up and try again when you fall down.” – Lara Jade

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams

“Creativity needs to extend beyond the lens. Find creative ways to showcase your work and get it seen. Straight up tenacity, hard work and determination will always be part of the equation, so get to it.” – Jimmy Chin

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Haas

“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.” – Eve Arnold

“I love photographing. It’s that simple.” – Stuart Franklin

“Images of people, cities, and landscapes from the air tell a unique story about our personal space and how we relate to one another. I’ve always aimed to address the bigger picture and later trends. In many ways, what a photographer does is give others a chance to step back and look at their world and gain perspective on where we stand, and what that means.” – Vincent Laforet

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.” – Trent Parke

“To me, it is better to ‘guess’ at how something works, experiment, fail, guess again, fail, and keep repeating that process over and over again until you either figure it out or you discover a multiplicity of other cool tricks along the way.” – Trey Ratcliff

“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.” – Robert Mapplethorpe

“There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.” – Rankin

“Photography is a language more universal than words.” – Minor White

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand

“I treat the photograph as a work of great complexity in which you can find drama. Add to that a careful composition of landscapes, live photography, the right music and interviews with people, and it becomes a style.” – Ken Burns

“Photography is for me, a spontaneous impulse that comes from an ever-attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier Bresson

“Twelve significant photographs in one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” – Sally Mann

“As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.” – Sam Abell

“If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.” – Bruce Gilden

“I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence.” – Robert Mapplethorpe

“It doesn’t matter if you’re photographing a porter in a market in Marrakech or you’re photographing the king of Morroco. You have the same sympathetic approach to everybody. You be nice to everybody, basically.” – Albert Watson

“Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.” – Berenice Abbott

“I guess I’ve shot about 40,000 negatives and of these I have about 800 pictures I like.” – Harry Callahan

“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.” – Richard Avedon

“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.” – W. Eugene Smith

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little. People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent.” – Imogen Cunningham

“Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.” – Ernst Haas

photography quotes

“What it all boils down to for me is having the enthusiasm to do something for enjoyment and being stimulated by what’s around you. That’s what photography does for me.” – Graeme Le Saux

“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” – David Bailey

“Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.” – Mary Ellen Mark

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman

“A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy.” – Galen Rowell

“The camera has always been a guide, and it’s allowed me to see things and focus on things that maybe an average person wouldn’t even notice.” – Don Chadwick

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”– Cecil Beaton

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” – Eudora Welty

“If you have something to say with a camera then show it, otherwise it’s better to bake a cake.” – Jason Eskenazi

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt

“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.” – William Klein

“It’s the first time in the history of the world that creatives are also distributors. And that’s very profound if you think that up until the recent history, permission was required for us to be able to share work at any sort of scale. We had to get permission from galleries, from ad agencies or photo editors to be able to have our work out there. And now anybody with access to a computer can show their work in 200 countries around the world.” ― Chase Jarvis

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis

“Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images.” – Helen Levitt

“You know, I really don’t think you learn from teachers. You learn from work. I think what you learn, really, is how to be- you have to be your own toughest critic, and you only learn that from work, from seeing work.” – Garry Winogrand

“A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart.” – Arnold Newman

“Just put on the lens and go.” – Miroslav Tichy

“Photography is like sex. You know the ending. So how can you make it interesting?” ― Fer Juaristi

“Always always get a single shot of the bride. Editors love that. Guys are cute but girls are hot.” ― Jasmine Star

“Light is beautiful and if you expose for it, it will look awesome.” ― Daniel Aguilar

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.” ― Diane Arbus

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” ― Ted Grant

“People feel good in front of the camera only when you learn to help them feel comfortable being there! It is about infusing them with your passion and educating them about the how much they will enjoy the process.” ― David Beckstead

“What matters is making pictures that make people feel and react to them.” ― Fer Juaristi

“My aesthetic gets simpler every year as I rely less on gimmicks and more on powerful content.” ― Anna Kuperberg

“What I’m trying to say is find ways to inspire yourself and your clients by taking on challenges and thinking fast in situations that aren’t inspiring, make them inspiring.” ― Jose Villa

“Get out of that frame of mind of trying to make someone else happy.” ― Joe Buissink

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” ― Ansel Adams

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns

“Wedding photography is one of the hardest damn jobs in photography. Period. End of story.” ― Zack Arias

photography quotes

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.” ― Ansel Adams

“Each year I’m determined to make better photographs than the previous year – I’m constantly trying to be the best.” ― Jeff Ascough

“People spot a big black lens, and they worry about what they’re doing, or how their hair looks. Nobody see the person holding the camera.” ― Erica O’Rourke, Torn

“The most important thing for us is to always be learning, push the boundaries, and to find something new and different with each shoot.” ― Daniel and Lindsay Stark

“Always seeing something, never seeing nothing, being photographer” ― Walter De Mulder

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces and more rooms and more places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?” ― Duane Michals

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.” ― Ansel Adams

“I find humor in many situations and things and I tend to make photographs that point out these things. We photograph according to our character.” ― Huy Nguyen

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.” ― Ansel Adams

“No matter how much crap you gotta plow through to stay alive as a photographer, no matter how many bad assignments, bad days, bad clients, snotty subjects, obnoxious handlers, wigged-out art directors, technical disasters, failures of the mind, body, and will, all the shouldas, couldas, and wouldas that befuddle our brains and creep into our dreams, always remember to make room to shoot what you love. It’s the only way to keep your heart beating as a photographer.” ― Joe McNally

“What’s really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer. ” ― William Albert Allard

“If you force it and you keep looking for moments then you end up shooting what you think the wedding should look like rather than actual moments that are unfolding in front of you.” ― Joe Buissink

“Compare what we use now to what Cartier-Bresson had throughout his career. Or Capa, Winogrand, Brassai, Eve Arnold etc. We have never had it so good, and yet all we seem to do is moan about sharpness. Why?” ― Jeff Ascough

“A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.” ― Brigitte Bardot

“I don’t just look at the thing itself or at the reality itself; I look around the edges for those little askew moments-kind of like what makes up our lives-those slightly awkward, lovely moments.” ― Keith Carter

“Don’t look at other wedding photographer’s work. When you walk into a room, find the one thing that you are attracted to and focus on that. Your instincts will guide you to finding an image that you love.” ― Ben Chrisman

“I want pictures like these. The kind that can capture a moment, make it real, make it last. I need pictures that do more than reflect. I need pictures that are truth.” ― Lisa Magnum

“It’s really a great asset to be willing to fail and blow it, so to speak, and to be okay with just making stuff, sharing it and getting feedback.” ― Chase Jarvis

“When photographs are emotionally honest, it can feel scary for the photographer. It’s easier to hide behind a facade of prettiness that makes everything flat and formulaic. But it’s the deeply moving photos that have the most meaning for the client. You need honesty and openness to be able to shoot like that. You need to notice and see people as they are and not as you expect them to be.” ― Anna Kuperberg

“John Loengard, the picture editor at Life, always used to tell me, ”If you want something to look interesting, don’t light all of it.” ― Joe McNally

“Patience is the essence of clicking great Photographs!!” ― Abhijeet Sawant

“The most challenging thing about photographing weddings is that all that is beautiful is true and all that is true is beautiful. As in the movie ‘Il Gattopardo’ by Luchino Visconti where truth corresponds to beauty.” ― Carlo Carletti

“Photography is essentially an act of recognition by street photographers, not an act of invention. Photographers might respond to an old man’s face, or an Arbus freak, or the way light hits a building—and then they move on. Whereas in all the other art forms, take William Blake, everything that came to that paper never existed before. It’s the idea of alchemy, of making something from nothing.” ― Duane Michals

“I have shots for her. Now these shots are for me.” ― Jasmine Star

“You’ve gotta taste the light, like my friend and fellow shooter Chip Maury says. And when you see light like this, trust me, it’s like a strawberry sundae with sprinkles.” ― Joe McNally

“For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture.” ― Diane Arbus

“It is a profound honour as a photographer to witness two people falling in love.” ― Jesh de Rox

photography quotes

“Keep it organic and timeless and your images will withstand the test of time, stop overdoing photo shoots and applying the coolest action to your digital images. All of that stuff is trendy and it will die off in no time, keep it simple and classy.” ― Jose Villa

“Keeping the camera on the face while talking. Of course, you look stupid but my job is not to look cool. My job is to make them look cool.” ― Jasmine Star

“I really want to show a bride a side of herself that she may have never seen before; elegant and sexy, and at the same time I want to tell the story of her wedding day and show her how much love she’s surrounded with. I want to show how important it is to have family around you on your wedding day. I want to show images that reflect the unconditional love family and friends can have for you. I want to share my own vision of what it is to be loved and how I would like that love to be remembered.” ― Daniel Aguilar

“If I can dig deeper and show more of who people are, aside from it being a wedding day, then I feel I’ve succeeded. Usually at the end of the night, that comes out. The party’s over, and they one hundred percent become themselves.” ― Tyler Wirken

“I know what looks good. I don’t think you have an ugly side. I think you have a fear.” ― Jasmine Star

“Allow yourself to be surprised by your mistakes.” ― Fer Juaristi

“I do believe that the experience my couples have, is just as important if not more as the images in the end.  What I add, quietly observe, and how I lead during an event is very important that its exactly what the couple anticipates and expects.  This is an endless skill to be perfected.” ― Mike Larson

“I shoot what I want to be shooting. For instance, I never shoot an engagement session where I’m not inspired. I suggest locations to my clients and I have them come to me, then I take them to areas I know have amazing light and backdrops. it’s my playground and I do best here.” ― Jose Villa

“Wedding photography is so challenging and complex. Nothing is the same ever, so if you really want to do it right, you really have to study and focus and perform at your highest level. It is almost impossible to shoot a wedding perfectly — technically speaking, but if you decide you want to try you’ll realize you have to perform at the top of your game. You’re thinking about light, moment and the composition of every single frame. You’re reminding yourself to think outside the box; to shoot different; to shoot outside your comfort zone. You’re trying to be creative with details shots and also have a strong and solid knowledge of portraiture. Trying to do all that in an 8-12 hour period can really show you how very difficult it is to execute great photography more specifically wedding photography.” ― Daniel Aguilar

“How many frames do we need to remember someone or some place? Most people only really need one, so I divide the day into sections: getting ready, the ceremony etc, and I try to create one image which inspires me for every section, which just defines that moment.” ― Fer Juaristi

“We all see the world so different, why not just transfer that onto film, or digital and share your vision with the world, not someone else’s vision… if you do you will always see your images as someone else’s not yours. That feeling is not genuine.” ― Jose Villa

“Main thing is just to remember that hard work got me here and only hard work will keep me here.” ― Brandon Stanton

“Album spread. Album spread. Always think about the end result.” ― Jasmine Star

“Just be prepared to look back in a few years on yourself, and your photos, and laugh.” ― Ben Chrisman

“The best photographers are super nice people and that its not a coincidence. Great photographers genuinely like people, and people can feel that. That’s what makes people feel comfortable. It is important to appear confident with clients, but it is more important to not be afraid to act like a fool, have fun, laugh and shake your hips to get people comfortable.” ― Sergio

“When there are other limitations, I don’t let myself be a limitation.” ― Fer Juaristi

“There is one thing the photography must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough – there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.” – Robert Frank

“When I meet with clients, I ask them to close their eyes and imagine how their wedding photographs are going to look,” he explains. “Then I say, I’m not going to give you that and I’ll show them a slide show featuring some very different images.” ― Fer Juaristi

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

“The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score and the print the performance.” – Ansel Adams

“A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second.” – Salman Rushdie

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” – Susan Meiselas

“I think life is too short not to be doing something which you really believe in.” – Steve McCurry

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” – Jonathan Swift

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” – William Thackeray

“Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.” – Joe McNally

photography quotes

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” – Irving Penn

“I find the single most valuable tool in the darkroom is my trash can.” – John Sexton

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” – David Alan Harvey

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” – Robert Capa

“People say photographs don’t lie, mine do.” – David LaChapelle

“The only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one you used to be.” – Unknown

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” – Berenice Abott

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” – Steve McCurry

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” – Eudora Welty

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” – Marc Riboud

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” – Jon Paul Caponigro

“I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.” – Diane Arbus

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Hine

“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” – Paul Strand

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol

“There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams

“Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” – Imogen Cunningham


I hope you enjoyed the photography quotes I put together. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!



Photography Spark

The Photo Argus

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