200+ Photography Quotes

By July 14, 2019 September 8th, 2019 Photography

In this post, we’ve put together 200+ of the most memorable, inspirational and thought-provoking quotes about photography.

Inspirational Quotes

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

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

Beauty, picturesqueness, and all loveliness are the food of art. ― Henry Peach Robinson

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

Why print this picture. The reason is that words are never enough. – Life magazine 1943

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. ―Robert Frank

I’m so drawn to photography because you can convey a complex story in a single frame. I feel like I can communicate much better-using images than words. – Gia Coppola

The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality. — Scott Lorenzo

I felt that I had to go. A spirit in my feet said ‘go’ and I went. – Matthew Brady

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

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness. – Yousuf Karsh

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

Dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction the better – as a gift from the Gods not to be lightly denied by convention or prior concepts. – Edward Weston

The word art is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for pleasure, for the pleasure of the work and everything else is a matter for the critics. – Manuel Alverez Bravo

A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people. – Annie Leibovitz

Don’t listen to what they say. Go see. – Chinese Proverb

Don't Listen to what they say. Go see.

A photograph is a moral decision taken in one-eighth of a second.Salman Rushdie

Essentially what photography is, is life lit up. –Sam Abell

A photograph is a universe of dots. The grain, the halide, the little silver things clumped in the emulsion. Once you get inside a dot, you gain access to hidden information, you slide into the smallest event. This is what technology does. It peels back the shadows and redeems the dazed and rumbling past. It makes reality come true. ― Don Delillo

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

You take 35 degrees out of 360 degrees and call it a photo. No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium. – Joel Sternfeld

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

I believe in instinct. One should never dull it but want to know everything. – Josef Sudek

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

I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.– Gerardo Suter

For me, documentary photography has always come with great responsibility. Not just to tell the story honestly and with empathy, but also to make sure the right people hear it. When you photograph somebody who is in pain or discomfort, they trust you to make sure the images will act as their advocate.– Giles Duley

I’ve always believed that photography is a way to shape human perception. – James Balog

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

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

Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts. – Walker Evans

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

I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting.– Harry Callahan

A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel. ― Peter Adams

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.– Robert Capa

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. ― Paul Caponigro

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

In my photography, color and composition are inseparable. I see in color. – William Albert Allard

Just as I work with paints, brushes, and canvas, I work with light, pieces of glass, and chemistry. ― August Sanders

It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer you must understand, appreciate and harness the power you hold! – Mark Denman

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. – Duane Michals

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.– Man Ray

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

No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a pocket full of unexposed film.– Robert  Adams

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

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.– Peter Adams

The camera always points both ways. In expressing your subject, you also express yourself. – Freeman Patterson

The important thing is, you have to have something important to say about the world. – Paul Strand

Photography can be a volatile situation. It can be very potent. – Platon

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

Photography is putting one’ s eye and one’s heart on the same axis. – Henri Cartier Bresson

My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been. ― Diane Arbus

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

Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.Anon

Photography can be a powerful instrument for change, and photojournalists can tell stories that make a difference. – Brian Skerr

There are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them. – Diane Arbus

Photography has always been a major part of my vision: my excuse for meddling with what the world looks like. – Robert Rauschenberg

Photography gives us. a feeling of the structure of things with an intensity which the eye. Has hitherto been quite unable to perceive. – Otto Steinert

It is through living that we discover ourselves, at the same time as we discover the world around us. ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

Our best pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here. – Joe McNally

Photography is all about light, composition, and most importantly emotion. – Larry Wilder

For me, the printing process is part of the magic of photography. It’s that magic that can be exciting, disappointing, rewarding and frustrating all in the same few moments in the darkroom. – John Sexton

The camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.– Henri Cartier Bresson

Circumstantial light considers not only all the properties and behaviors of natural light, but also how that light interacts with the objects around [you], so that [you] can transform those objects into light-shaping tools.–  Roberto Valenzuela

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

To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. – Edward Weston

I could never figure out why photography and art had separate histories. So I decided to explore both. – John Baldessari

Photography is without mercy–though it’s nonsense to say it does not lie. Rather, it lies in a particular, capricious way which makes beggars of ministers and gods of cat’s meat men. – Nick Harkaway

Seeing is not enough. You have to feel what you photograph. – Andre Kertesz

The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.― Stephen Shore

Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.– Percy W. Harris

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then
you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures. – Don McCullin

The best view comes after the hardest climb.Anon

Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world. – Bruno Barbey

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

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph. – Robert Heinecken

How do we start taking pictures of people, and stop taking pictures of poses? – Justin and Mary Marantz

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

We are often taught to look for the beauty in all things, so in finding it, the layman asks the philosopher while the philosopher asks the photographer. ― Criss Jami

In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality. – Alfred Stieglitz

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

I believe photographers should shoot what they want, not shoot what they get. – Roberto Valenzuela

The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words. ― Elliott Erwitt

No, you don’t shoot things. You capture them. Photography means painting with light. And that’s what you do. You paint a picture only by adding light to the things you see. ―Katja Michael

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. –Elliot Erwitt

Ultimately, photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes,  but when it is pensive when it thinks. ― Roland Barthes

When [you] acquire an understanding of the science behind light and what governs it, then [you] can predict its behavior and control the lighting in [your] photographs. – Roberto Valenzuela

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us. — Ralph Hattersley

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 about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change that facts.– Garry Winogrand

The question is not what you look at but what you see. – Henry Thoreau

When life gets blurry adjust your focus. When people ask what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes. – Ansel Adams

To photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.– Robert Frank

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

One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it.– Dorothea Lange

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

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life. – Joan Miro 

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

With creating, we are literally bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before.– Montana Dennis

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

You can look at a picture for years and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and never think of it your entire life.

The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each to himself. And that is no mean function. Man is the most complicated thing on earth and also as naive as a
tender plant. – Edward Steichen

Every artist I suppose has a sense of what they think has been the importance of their work. But to ask them to define it is not really a fair question. My real answer would be, the answer is on the wall. – Paul Strand

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

At 42, I decided to become a photographer because it offered a means of creative thought and action. I didn’t rationalize this, I just felt it intuitively and followed my intuition, which I have never regretted. – Wynn Bullock

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


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

Look at lots of exhibitions and books, and don’t get hung up on cameras and technical things. Photography is about images. – Fay Godwin

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man. – Edward Steichen

Once the amateur’s naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur. – Alfred Eisenstaedt

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

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

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

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

Photography and Memory Quotes

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

All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. ― Susan Sontag

A photograph is a memory in the raw. – Carrie Latet

In the world of photography, you get to share a captured moment with other people. – James Wilson

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.— Karl Lagerfeld

I think that’s the strength of photography – to decide the decisive moment, to click at the moment to come up with a picture that never comes back again. – Rene Burri

It is a cruel, ironic art, photography. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to be evaporated into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after. Photographs force us to see people before their future weighed them down…. ― Kate Morton

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

Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film; they advertise memories. – Theodore Levitt

When I look at my old pictures, all I can see is what I used to be but am no longer. I think: What I can see is what I am not. ― Aleksandar Hemon

Photography is a magical kind of art that allows people to preserve time and moments, and to describe the world the way they see it. ― Sahara Sanders

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

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

Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell. ― Kim Edwards

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

There is one thing the photograph must contain – the humanity of the moment. – Robert Frank

Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure. – Tony Benn

A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a person’s life that reveal greater truths. – Uknown

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

Today everything exists to end in a photograph. ― Susan Sontag

Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees. – Paul Strand

I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost. ― Nan Goldin

My interest in photography is not to capture an image I see or even have in my mind, but to explore the potential of moments I can only begin to imagine. – Lois Greenfield

Photography is austere and blazing poetry of the real. – Ansel Adams

This is what I like about photographs they’re proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.– Jodi Picoult

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Theodor Seuss Geisel 

Nature Photography Quotes 

Always take the Scenic Route.Anon

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

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being. –Ansel Adams

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either. – Galen Rowell

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either. – Galen Rowell

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 began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed. – Galen Rowell

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

I find it some of the hardest photography and the most challenging photography I’ve ever done. It’s a real challenge to work with the natural features and the natural light. – Galen Rowell

It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural which may have a meaning to the spectators. ― Ansel Adams 

I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot’. My first thought is always of light. – Galen Rowell

I can go into the wilderness and not see anyone for days and experience a kind of space that hasn’t changed for tens of thousands of years. Having that experience was necessary to my perception of how photography can look at the changes humanity has brought about in the landscape. My work does become a kind of lament. – Edward Burtynsky

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

Parks and gardens are the quintessential intimate landscapes. People use them all the time, leaving their energy and memories behind. It’s what’s left behind that I like to photograph. – Michael Kenna 

When the magic hour arrives, my thoughts center on light rather than on the landscape. I search for the perfect light, then hunt for something earthbound to match with it.  – Galen Rowell

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

The horizon is the fine line between the golden hour and blue hour.  – Destin Sparks 

The most interesting parts of the natural world are the edges, places where the ocean meets land, meadow meets forest, timberline touches the heights.  – Galen Rowell

Everybody now has a camera, whether it is a professional instrument or just part of a phone. Landscape photography is a pastime enjoyed by more and more. Getting it right is not an issue. It is difficult to make a mistake with the sophisticated technology we now have. Making a personal and creative image is a far greater challenge. – Michael Kenna 

The Earth is art, the photographer is only a witness. ― Yann Arthus-Bertrand

I gravitate towards places where humans have been and are no more, to the edge of man’s influence, where the elements are taking over or covering man’s traces. – Michael Kenna

Funny Photography Quotes

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good. – Anon 

There are no bad pictures, that’s just how your face looks sometimes. Abraham Lincoln

I wish I had your job, I would love to just take pictures all day. Me too, [Person who is
totally oversimplifying my job] Me too. – Anon 

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies. – Diane Arbus

You might be a photographer if you won’t even share a cell phone pic until you edit it. – Anon

Are you a camera? Every time I look at you, I smile. Phew! I have all the gear I will ever need. Said no Photographer ever. – Anon 

I’ve taken up photography because it’s the only hobby where you can shoot people and cut off their heads without going to jail. – Anon 

Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important. Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out. Just take another shot. – Anon 

Eyes Like a shutter, mind like a lens. – Anon 

October is to photographers what April is to accountants. – Anon 

A friend of mine wanted to be a photographer but didn’t put enough time into it. He just waited to see what developed. – Anon 

The only person happy with a 100% crop is a farmer. – Anon 

Photographers are very mean. First, they frame you, then they shoot you, then hang you on the wall. – Anon 

Buy a professional camera and you’re a professional photographer, buy a flute and you own a flute. – Anon 

Did you hear about the guy who stole all those photos? I think he was framed. – Anon 

The fastest way to make money from photography is to sell your camera. – Anon 

I can freeze time. What’s your superpower? – Anon 

I came. I saw. I captured. – Anon 

If it ain’t bokeh -Don’t fix it. – Anon 

‘Your camera takes really nice pictures’. Thanks, I taught it everything it knows. – Anon 

I had to give up my career as a photographer. I kept losing focus. – Anon 

Short Photography Quotes 

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing.

Photographs are just light and time. ― John Green

It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter. – Alfred Eisenstaedt

Just put on the lens and go. – Miroslav Tichy

The beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph. – Matt Hardy

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

Available light is any damn light that is available. ― Eugene Smith

Contrast is what makes photography interesting. – Conrad Hall

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

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

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

For me, pointing and clicking my phone is absolutely fine. People say that isn’t the art of photography but I don’t agree. – Annie Lennox

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

Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic.

Photography has no rules, it is not a sport. It is the result which counts, no matter how it is achieved. – Bill Brandt

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

I understood the craft of photography when done by an artist is art. – Ruth Bernhard

Only photograph what you love. – Tim Walker

A picture is worth a thousand words. – Arthur Brisbane

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

One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language. – Lisa Kristine

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

I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport.– Bill Brandt

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

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

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

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

The pictures are there, and you just take them. – Robert Capa

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

Wherever there is light, one can photograph. – Alfred Stieglitz

A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into. ― Ansel Adams

Photography is the story I fail to put into words. – Destin Sparks

A photo is never objective, If it is, it is really boring. – Anon 

Patience is the most important tool. Patience. Patience. Patience. – Lennart Nilsson

I don’t trust words. I trust pictures. – Gilles Peress

Be original or die. – Madame Yevonde

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth. – Richard Avedon

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