Home Photography Ideas 75 Inspirational Famous Photography Quotes and Sayings

75 Inspirational Famous Photography Quotes and Sayings

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Get ready to be inspired!

Below, is a collection of inspirational famous photography quotes and sayings for you to draw upon as you continue your path to becoming a better photographer.

Enjoy these quotes and be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting us know which one is your favorite and why!


Inspirational Famous Photography Quotes


Photography Quotes and Sayings by Famous Photographers

  1. Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
    – Ansel Adams
  2. It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.
    – Alfred Eisenstaedt
  3. Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d’etre. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d’etre, which lives on in itself.
    – Andre Kertesz
  4. I don’t get wrapped up in technique and the like.
    – Fay Godwin
  5. There is one thing the photograph 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
  6. A picture is the expression of an impression. If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?
    – Ernst Haas
  7. Everywhere I look and most of the time I look, I see photographs.
    – Bert Hardy
  8. I think everything can be painted because painting can change reality; but everything cannot be photographed and the photographer often comes home empty-handed, with images which (often) have a documentary interest, but which rarely go further than that. One has to be completely available, very tenacious and admit that many subjects won’t give any results… and a miracle sometimes happens, without warning.
    – Martine Franck
  9. There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that’s impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants.
    – Arnold Newman
  10. When you photograph people in color you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
    – Ted Grant
  11. 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
  12. I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don’t find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.
    – William Albert Allard
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.
    – Lewis Hine
  16. Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing, light is everything.
    – Leonard Missone
  17. If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.
    – Robert Capa
  18. Photography helps people to see.
    – Berenice Abbott
  19. Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.
    – Minor White
  20. The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.
    – Robert Doisneau
  21. 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
  22. A photographer must be prepared to catch and hold on to those elements which give distinction to the subject or lend it atmosphere.
    – Bill Brandt
  23. When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.– Wynn Bullock
  24. I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost – that is important.
    – Jacques-Henri Lartigue
  25. 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
  26. Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.
    – Yousuf Karsh
  27. Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.
    – Eliot Porter
  28. I like form and shape and strength in pictures.
    – Herb Ritts
  29. The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.
    – Paul Strand
  30. In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
    – Alfred Stieglitz
  31. In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.
    – August Sander
  32. 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
  33. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters. 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
  34. Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
    – Dorothea Lange
  35. Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper… the photographer begins with the finished product.
    – Edward Steichen
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. Let us first say what photography is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in contortionist techniques and sheer print quality. It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term – selectivity.
    – Berenice Abbott
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. Pictures you have taken have an influence on those that you are going to make. That’s life!- John Sexton
  43. One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty.
    – Paul Outerbridge
  44. The photographer Ruth Bernhard used to tell me that this is like asking somebody how they evolved their signature. It is not something I’ve ever worked on consciously. I think style is just the end result of personal experience. It would be problematic for me to photograph in another style. I’m drawn to places and subject matter that have personal connections for me and I photograph in a way that seems right. Where does it all come from, who knows?
    – Michael Kenna
  45. A photograph is usually looked at but seldom looked into.
    – Ansel Adams
  46. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
    – Oscar Wilde
  47. Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.
    – Bruno Barbey
  48. It’s not how a photographer looks at the world that is important. It;s their intimate relationship with it.
    – Antoine D’Agata
  49. Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.
    – Leonard Freed
  50. Taking pictures is like fishing or writing. It’s getting out of the unknown that which resists and refuses to come to light.
    – Jean Gaumy
  51. I am not an artist. I am an image maker.
    – Thomas Hoepker
  52. When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
    – Ansel Adams
  53. What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.
    – Karl Lagerfeld
  54. A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know
    .– Diane Arbus
  55. There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.
    – Abraham Lincoln
  56. Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.
    – Marc Riboud
  57. You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
    – Ansel Adams
  58. For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.
    – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  59. Today everything exists to end in a photograph.
    – Susan Sontag
  60. A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.
    – George Bernard Shaw
  61. There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
    – Ansel Adams
  62. Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
    – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  63. The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness.
    – Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Earth from Above
  64. A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.
    – Brigitte Bardot
  65. The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.
    – Susan Sontag, On Photography
  66. One of the risks of appearing in public is the likelihood of being photographed.
    – Diane Arbus
  67. I am a professional photographer by trade and an amateur photographer by vocation.
    – Elliot Erwitt, Dog Dogs
  68. The eye should learn to listen before it looks.
    – Robert Frank
  69. Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.
    – Joe McNally, The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters
  70. The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.
    – Elliott Erwitt
  71. I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.
    – Gilles Peress
  72. “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
  73. “The context in which a photograph is seen affects the meaning the viewer draws from it.”- Stephen Shore, Ed.D.
  74. “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
  75. “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
    – Scott Lorenzo

What’s Next?

We hope you enjoyed these inspirational famous photography quotes. Now that you’re finished reading, leave a comment below telling us which quote was your favorite and why.

Then, check out our related posts to learn even more ways to improve your photography.


  1. Laura Ruthemeyer

    June 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Ah. All very good. Some in their humor and some in their absolute truth.
    For me, it would have to be #21 – “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
    I make photographs of the things that I find so interesting, so beautiful, that I know I couldn’t bear not to be able to revisit that feeling again. Photographs help me reaffirm that, yes, that really WAS that beautiful.. or silly.. or amazing.

  2. Ajithaa

    June 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    This is my favorite quote as it stresses the importance of light in capturing unforgettable images in photography.

    “Light glorifies everything. It transforms and ennobles the most commonplace and ordinary subjects. The object is nothing, light is everything.
    – Leonard Missone “

  3. kdmorris

    January 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

    #21. “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.”
    • Why?
    I often say something similar to my wife, who wanted me to buy her a camera, to take a photo of this or that with her iPhone or iPad while driving, and she would resist because she “doesn’t SEE it” the way that I do.

    Then, I spend time pointlessly pointing it out to her, and the opportunity has passed.
    I ended up giving her one of my cameras…no shots yet…

    ‘We are blessed as photographers (and artists) to SEE what others don’t, in ways that they refuse to, or can’t because they weren’t there.
    We are obligated to recreate the good, bad, ugly, trash and art that others embrace or discard, in nature and life.’
    – kdmorris

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