Photography Quotes

photography quotes

Here’s a selection of the most inspirational photography quotes made by great photographers over the past 100 years.

It’s no wonder that quotes by photographers are one of the most popular things to share on social media, usually by other photographers of course.

Reading one line that encapsulates our love for photography is powerful, and often reminds us of the importance of documenting moments with our cameras.

The photographer quotes below have been cited hundreds of times over the years, and continue to inspire photographers from all over the world, from children picking up a camera for the first time, all the way up to a seasoned professional.

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96 Inspirational Photography Quotes

Free Images for you to use on Instagram

Sharing photography quotes on Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook is a quick and easy way to generate Likes and Shares.

Everyone loves short quotes and sayings that they can associate with, especially other photographers who admire the photographer behind the quote.

If you’d like to download the photography quote images used in this post, simply share this post using the button below.

All the images can be used for free, for commercial and non-commercial purposes thanks to Unsplash and their amazing photographers.

So let’s start off this roundup of 88 of the best photography quotes with 2 of the masters of our craft – Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams.

If you have any favourite photographers’ quotes of your own, leave them in the comments below.

Photography quotes for Instagram

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

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

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

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

Photography quotes for Facebook

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

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

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

“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

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
– Ralph Hattersley


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

“You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.”
– Anon

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

“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

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

photographer quotes andy warhol

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

“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

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

“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

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

quotes and sayings about photography

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

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

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

“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 persons life that reveal greater truths.”
– Anon

photography quotes and sayings

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

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

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

“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

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

Best_Photography_Quotes by Shotkit

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

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

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

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

“Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

Best_Photography_Quotes by Shotkit

“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

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

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

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

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

quotes by photographers

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

“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

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

“When you photograph a face . . .you photograph the soul behind it.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

“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

funny photography quotes

“Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

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

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting 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

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

free photographer quotes

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

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

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

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

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


“I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.”
– Wayne Miller

“The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?”
– Edward Weston

“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

“In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

free quotes for photographers

“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

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

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

“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

“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

amazing photography quotes

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

“I like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are.”
– Ellen Von Unwerth

“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

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

“Photography is the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision.”
– Sebastian Smee

photography quotation images

“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.”
– Anon

“Only photograph what you love.”
– Tim Walker

“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

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

cartier bresson quote

“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

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”
– Anon

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

“Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.”
– Edward Steichen

“With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.”

quotes by photographers

“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

“Photography is a means by which we learn to see the ordinary.”
– David Bailey

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

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

“A photograph is like a recipe – the memory is the finished dish.”
– Carrie Latet

photographer quote for pinterest

“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

“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

“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

“The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.”
-Imogen Cunningham

“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

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


  1. Jake Mallow on August 17, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Awesome stuff! Mark, thanks for sharing this article!
    My favorite quote is “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.”

    • Mark Condon on August 18, 2019 at 5:09 am

      Very nice, Jake! Thanks for sharing and for the kind words :-)

  2. BradCarter on July 23, 2019 at 3:26 am

    An excellent collection! Thank you for doing the work. And thanks to the great men and women who put in words what we feel, but sometimes don’t know it.

  3. David Reed on April 9, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I was looking for inspiration and got some, now I have to exhale: What are a thousand words worth?

    • Mark Condon on April 10, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      haha… a rhetorical question, I assume David?!

  4. marina on March 3, 2019 at 7:34 am

    thanks for sharing these selective quotes, i think it’s definitely help to live positive life thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Bryan Dian on March 2, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    My name is Bryan Dian and I really like the way with you shared these quotes. Doing great job.
    Keep it up.


    • Mark Condon on March 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Sure thing, Bryan! Thanks for the comment ;-)

  6. Mehaboob on February 27, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Ur quote inspire man for become good photographer

  7. kk chan on February 25, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Thank for sharing the most informative article. Actually, this article will be most effective for the audience. I hope, you gift us more article like this.Wonderful photographs and superb quotes. Thank you for sharing

  8. Patrick Samson on December 13, 2018 at 2:28 am

    My favorite, not in the list, is from Jay Maisel: “You don’t take pictures; they take you.”

    • Mark Condon on December 14, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Ah that’s a great one Patrick! Thanks for sharing

  9. Motivation Mantra on August 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Quotes were really nice.

  10. Anand Films on August 17, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Wonderful photographs and superb quotes. Thank you for sharing

  11. Zahid on May 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for compiling such an beautiful list of quotes

    • Mark on May 7, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Zahid!

  12. dlovnorg on January 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Lots of good ones!
    Here are two more that I like:
    “My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person.” – Andy Warhol
    “My ultimate goal is to try to make the ordinary look extraordinary” – Martin Parr

  13. Neal Rattican on January 19, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    Several years ago when digital photography was revving up, I attended a conference on news photography. One of the speakers, whose name I regrettably do not remember, opened his remarks by saying, “Never before have so many bad pictures been made so well.” Kinda still applies, I think, only exponentially! :)

  14. Tarik on January 19, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Some really sweet stuff here Mark, thanks for sharing. Also some really nice pictures too.

    • Mark on January 20, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Tarik!

  15. i.b.mac on December 12, 2017 at 3:12 am

    I remember hearing a photographer saying this funny one, and I liked it:

    “Life is too short to see someone you love in bad lighting”

    (adorama youtube channel but forgot the photographer’s name)

    • Mark on December 12, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      haha that’s a good one!

      • Ellis Mbeku on October 23, 2018 at 7:52 pm

        Photography is a powerful visual storytelling tool often underestimated by many. As a medium and in it’s purest form, it possesses the ability to prescribe desire, joy, sadness or pain. An image is potent enough to change the world’s view in an instant.

        – by Ellis Mbeku

        • Mark on October 24, 2018 at 3:24 pm

          Well said, Ellis!

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