Photography is a fine balance of technology, science, and art. It’s a philosophy. It’s perspective. Some even say it’s truth. Each image can take on a life of it’s own; and with such a unique, expressive, and subjective art form, there are bound to be a plethora of profound statements made about the subject. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite photography quotes. We hope that you’ll use these photography quotes as inspiration for your own work.

Famous and Inspiring Photography Quotes

Photography is more than just an art form. Photography is a way to capture history, to express a thought, to freeze a moment in time, share an emotion and much more. To each individual, photography has a unique purpose and meaning.

The personal facet of photography makes reading and analyzing photography quotes an interesting exercise and a way to find inspiration. As you’ll see from our massive list of photography quotes, which we’ll update annually, each photographer and thought leader has a unique and interesting perspective on photography.

Photography Quotes on the Importance of Photography

The world moves fast, changing everything around us with each new day. Photography is a gift that can keep us in a moment forever, blissfully eternal

-Ali Novak

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

-Andy Warhol

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


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

Photography Quotes Related to Feeling and Emotion

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

Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field

-Peter Adams

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

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

Photography Quotes Related to People

It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter

-Alfred Eisenstaedt

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

-Annie Leibovitz

Photography Quotes Related to Vision

The thing I love about photography is that for just a moment, you can make everyone else look at the world the way you see it.

-Amy Spalding

Photography Quotes Related to Lighting

Wherever there is light, one can photograph

-Alfred Stieglitz

Photography Quotes Related to Photo Editing

If Photoshop is the answer, you’re asking the wrong question

-Dean Farrell

Inspirational Photography Quotes

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

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality

-Alfred Stieglitz

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

-Ambrose Bierce

In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes

-Andy Warhol

The best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed

-Anne Geddes

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

-Annie Leibovitz

One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.

-Annie Leibovitz

The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.

-Annie Leibovitz

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

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.


Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.


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


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


When people ask me what equipment I use I tell them my eyes.


You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.


A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

-Ansel Adams

A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.

-Ansel Adams

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

-Ansel Adams

Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.

-Ansel Adams

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

-Ansel Adams

The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score and the print the performance.

-Ansel Adams

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!

-Ansel Adams

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

-Ansel Adams

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs

-Ansel Adams

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept

-Ansel Adams

To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer

-Ansel Adams

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

-Ansel Adams

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved

-Ansel Adams

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

-Ansel Adams

Me and my Photographs are a bit romantic. I do not take photographs in a normal light. Either at sunrise, or sundown, or early in the morning. Besides I want to explain something in every frame. Every image has to have a message.

-Ara Güler

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

In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated

-August Sander

Photography helps people to see

-Berenice Abbott

If you really want to become a better photographer don’t save other photographers good photographs to your computer. Save it to your heart, then you can take better picture than that picture in similar situations.

-Biju Karakkonam

Only a photographer can stop the time. Just by one click.

-Biju Karakkonam

The beauty of Photography is not in what you see, its art lies in your dreams.

-Biju Karakkonam

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

-Bill Brandt

In photography and as in life, it is the strong contrasts between dualities that make things interesting and beautiful…particularly speaking, darkness has to exist and be present in order for light to glow, and have meaning and purpose.

-Bodhi Smith

A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you

-Brigitte Bardot

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

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph

-Bruce Gilden

A photograph is like a recipe the memory is the finished dish.

-Carrie Latet

-Cecil Beaton

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

-Chase Jarvis

The best camera is the one you have with you

-Chase Jarvis

Fear is the thing that prohibits a lot of photographers from reaching their full potential

-Collin Pierson

Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like

-David Alan Harvey

Photography is a means by which we learn to see the ordinary

-David Bailey

Without vision, the photographer perishes

-David duChemin

The best photographers do not need 50000 dollars worth of gear. Look what Ansel Adams did with a Kodak brownie camera. A good photographer has a way of seeing (perspective) that is different from the mundane.

-David Hultgren

A photograph is an opportunity to keep a moment forever.

-Destin Sparks

I have a dream… photography allows me to share it with you.

-Destin Sparks

Photography is inspired by beauty, captured with passion.

-Destin Sparks

Photography is the story I fail to put into words

-Destin Sparks

A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.

-Diane Arbus

A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know

-Diane Arbus

For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture

-Diane Arbus

I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.

-Diane Arbus

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.

-Diane Arbus

I tend to think of the act of photographing, generally speaking, as an adventure. My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.

-Diane Arbus

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

-Diane Arbus

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

-Dorothea Lange

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera

-Dorothea Lange

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.

-Dorothea Lange

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

-Duane Michals

Photographs allow for connections to be made and for time to pause to appreciate all the world has to offer.

-Dustin Thibideau

A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it

-Edward Steichen

Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.

-Edward Steichen

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

-Edward Weston

My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, or the camera’s eye may entirely change my idea.

-Edward Weston

The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?

-Edward Weston

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 like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are

-Ellen von Unwerth

All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.

-Elliott Erwitt

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

-Elliott Erwitt

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

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away

-Eudora Welty

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 photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity

-George Bernard Shaw

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 don’t trust words. I trust pictures.

-Gilles Peress

Every artist has a central story to tell, and the difficulty, the impossible task, is trying to present that story in pictures

-Gregory Crewdson

I have always been fascinated by the poetic condition of twilight. By its transformative quality. Its power of turning the ordinary into something magical and otherworldly.

-Gregory Crewdson

All the planning, intuition, technical prowess, and knowledge, as well as the trust and rapport you have (or haven’t) established, will show up in the picture, frozen forever

-Gregory Heisler

Whatever happens in front of the lens stays. What’s captured during the encounter is all that exists

-Gregory Heisler

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

-Harry Callahan

I think of photography like therapy

-Harry Gruyaert

Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

It is through living that we discover ourselves, at the same time as we discover the world around us.

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

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

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

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

To me, a photograph means the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the meaning of an event on the one hand and the exact arrangement of the visually perceived forms expressing that event on the other

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

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

To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst

-Henri Cartier – Bresson

The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.

-Imogen Cunningham

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

-Imogen Cunningham

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

A photojournalist makes snap decisions; based on the ability to quickly assess situations and record one’s perceived truth

-Jack Dykinga

John White, another Pulitzer Prize winning photographer at the Sun – Times once told me he photographed every sunrise. In disbelief, I inquired why? He simply said he didn’t want to miss the really great one

-Jack Dykinga

It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.

-James Lalropui Keivom

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

-James Wilson

You don’t take pictures, they take you

-Jay Maysel

Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty – four times per second.

-Jean – Luc Godard

When you photograph a face . . .you photograph the soul behind it.

-Jean – Luc Godard

We don’t learn from our good images; we learn from the ones that can be improved on

-Jen Rozenbaum

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

-Jim Richardson

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

Yes, it took me just a moment to draw this line with the brush. But it took me months, perhaps even years, of reflection to form the idea

-Joan Miró

You cannot possibly hit the shutter without leaving a piece of you in the image

-Joe Buissink

Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location

-Joe McNally

Photography is what emotions look like.

-Jon Luvelli

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

-Karl Lagerfeld

Actually, it’s nature itself that creates the most beautiful pictures, I’m only choosing the perspective

-Katja Michael

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

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

-Kim Edwards

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

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

-Lewis Hine

If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.

-Linda McCartney

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

Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second

-Marc Riboud

My ultimate goal is to try to make the ordinary look extraordinary.

-Martin Parr

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

-Matt Hardy

The golden rule in the arts, as far as I am concerned, is that all rules are meant to be broken.

-Michael Kenna

We see in colour all the time. Everything around us is in colour. Black and white is therefore immediately an interpretation of the world, rather than a copy.

-Michael Kenna

Sometimes one waits too long for the perfect moment before snapping the picture. You never realize that you needed was to change perspective

-Miguel Syjuco

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

A camera is just a medium to capture what you have in your vision, and vision is something that cannot be bought.

-Neeraj Agnihotri

The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world

-Orson Welles

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

Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees

-Paul Strand

Your inspiration is better if it comes from many different sources and your sensibilities will transform all those influences and inspiration into your own visual world. It’s like reading the book instead of watching the movie.

-Peter Lindbergh

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us

-Ralph Hattersley

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

-Richard Avedon

My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph

-Richard Avedon

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough

-Robert Capa

The pictures are there, and you just take them

-Robert Capa

Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference

-Robert Frank

The eye should learn to listen before it looks

-Robert Frank

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment

-Robert Frank

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

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph

-Robert Heinecken

Work very hard, until you don’t have to introduce yourself anymore

-Roberto Vazquez

A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye

-Roger Kingston

What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially

-Roland Barthes

Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future

-Sally Mann

Essentially what photography is is life lit up.

-Sam Abell

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

-Scott Lorenzo

Photography is the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision.

-Sebastian Smee

I try with my pictures to raise a question, to provoke a debate, so that we can discuss problems together and come up with solutions.

-Sebastiao Salgado

You photograph with all your ideology.

-Sebastiao Salgado

Art is what we call…the thing an artist does. It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the …eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist

-Seth Godin

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

-Steve McCurry

The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer

-Steven Pinker

For a Photographer – Having an observant mind is more important than having an expensive camera.

-Sukant Ratnakar

Photographs are like diamonds. Polish them well to make them priceless.

-Sukant Ratnakar

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

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

Photographs are a way of imprisoning reality…One can’t possess reality, one can possess images–one can’t possess the present but one can possess the past

-Susan Sontag

The painter constructs, the photographer discloses

-Susan Sontag

Today everything exists to end in a photograph.

-Susan Sontag

If you can see it, you can shoot it.

-Ted Grant

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

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

-Theodore Levitt

Only photograph what you love

-Tim Walker

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

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

I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs

-Wayne Miller

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

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

-William Klein

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

-Wynn Bullock

The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness

-Yann Arthus – Bertrand, Earth from Above

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

-Yousuf Karsh


Impactful Quotes Applied to Photography

Ralph Waldo Emery

Ralph Waldo Emery made a profound statement when he said, “Every artist was first an amateur.” I see this quote as having two messages. The first being aimed to encourage amateurs that are reaching up to become great artists, and the second being to remind those that are great artists to remember that they were once amateurs. There should be no purpose or place for rock-star attitudes in our industry. While they exist, that doesn’t mean that we all must follow suit. As an amateur photographer with lofty goals, just remember that those you idolize were once in your exact same position. Once you have made it and are successful, reach back and help those who may now idolize you.



I think “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it” may have been Confucius’ way of saying “Look, there are haters out there, deal with it.” So you took a photo that someone doesn’t like, who cares? We all have different tastes when it comes to clothing, food, jobs, hobbies and photography is no different. Realize that there will be “haters”, there will be those that don’t share your style, and there will be those that absolutely love your work. If you’re on the other end and you’re the one not seeing the beauty, then maybe it’s up to you to look deeper in order to find it.


Kirby Ferguson

At a recent TED talk, Kirby Ferguson gave an awesome lecture aimed to silence those in the technology world who are delusional in believing that their ideas are the only ones that are truly unique. While referencing Steve Jobs’ past of copying Xerox’s technology in the early days of Apple and later suing anyone coming close to infringing on their patents, Kirby said “Everything is a remix.”

Most if not all ideas were based or inspired by someone else’s ideas. This is no different in the world of photography. This phrase isn’t intended to give permission to go ahead and steal each other’s work, but rather to RELAX! If someone takes one of your ideas, move on. It is bound to happen. In any creative field, conscious or subconscious, there is borrowing and sharing of ideas and inspiration. Lend your own personality into every “inspired” idea to make it more your own.


Albert Einstein

Never was there a more prolific scientist than Albert Einstein, who admitted to his faults and humanity in the statement, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Mistakes are probably the best way to learn when it comes to photography. Throw all of your ideas against the wall and see what sticks. You will not grow as an artist unless you are making mistakes and pushing the limits.


Pye Jirsa

Haha, fooled you! Yeah, this article should have been called “4 Famous Quotes and the Ramblings of a Crazy Persian.” So sue me ;)

During our iPhone Fashion Shoot Tribute Video, I said to Chris and Justin jokingly, “Give me an iPhone and a Coke and I’ll rock your world.” It was an amazing lesson to me that I learned during that shoot. While equipment could potentially hold you back from creating the types of images you want, 99% of the time the only thing holding us back is ourselves. I don’t think I truly believed this sentiment until after the iPhone Fashion Shoot when I realized that it truly didn’t take much other than your own creativity to create art worth looking at.

Why the Coke? Because I’m a fatty-Mc-fatty and I love my soda! =)



In conclusion, photography quotes offer a powerful way to encapsulate the essence of this art form. They remind us that photography is not just about capturing images, but about capturing the emotions, the stories, and the beauty that surround us. Whether you are an amateur photographer or a professional, these quotes can inspire you to keep pushing your boundaries, experimenting with new techniques, and telling more compelling stories through your images. From the wise words of Ansel Adams to the provocative insights of Cindy Sherman, these photography quotes provide a glimpse into the minds of some of the most influential photographers in history. So the next time you are struggling to find inspiration or motivation, turn to these photography quotes and let them guide you towards new and exciting possibilities.