180+ Photography Quotes (The Ultimate List)

The best thing about photography is that it captures the moments that can’t be relived.

Usually we look at fantastic photographs with admiration, but what are the words of wisdom of the photographers who are behind the lens?

If you love photography, you will love our list of photography quotes.

And if you are looking for quotes on a specific category, you can filter it out.

Keep reading and get inspired.

Quotes About What is Photography?

Image Courtesy: Don McCulllin

  • “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
  • Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. Duane Michals
  • “Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you’re alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there’s everything, next moment it’s gone. Photography is very philosophical.” Joel Meyerowitz
  • A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. […] They don’t understand that it’s not about a style or a look or a setup. It’s about emotional obsession and empathy. Nan Goldin
  • “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
  • Making a photograph is rather like writing a paragraph or a short piece, and putting together a whole string of photographs is like producing a piece of writing in many ways. There is the possibility of making coherent statements in an interesting, subtle, complex way.” David Goldblatt
  • “To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.” Ansel Adams
  • “It isn’t the alphabet that’s important. The important thing is what you are writing, what you are expressing. The same thing goes for photography.” Andre Kertesz
  • “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
  • “You can’t teach people photography, they’ve got to learn how to do it the best way possible for them. They can learn from looking at pictures… but they don’t really get intimate with the medium until they’ve made a few bad shots.” Cecil BeatonAaron Siskind

What Is Good Photography?

  • “If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture.” Eddie Adams
  •  “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
  • “The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship – either a harmony or a disharmony – that creates a picture.” Ernst Haas
  • “If you don’t have anything to say, your photographs are not going to say much.” Gordon Parks
  • “No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a pocket full of unexposed film.” — Robert Adams
  • “Photography is truth. And cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.” Jean-Luc Godard

Image Courtesy: Steve McCurry

  • “Just because people use Instagram and take cellphone pictures, it doesn’t mean the pictures are meaningful, anymore than a text someone sends a friend is great literature. Is it something that’s going to remain? Is it going to inspire us?” Steve McCurry
  • “A good picture is born from a state of grace. Grace becomes manifest when one is freed from conventions, free as a child in his first discovery of reality. The game is then to organize the triangle.” Sergio Larrain
  • “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
  • “A good photograph is like a good hound dog, dumb, but eloquent.” Eugène Atget
  • “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” —Robert Capa
  • “A photograph is a collision between a person with a camera and reality. The photograph is typically as interesting as the collision is.” Charles Harbutt
  • “To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real.” Weegee

Inspirational Quotes About Photography

Image Courtesy: Ansel Adams

  • “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”Ansel Adams
  • “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”— Alfred Stieglitz
  • “A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Unknown
  • “Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.”— Anonymous
  • “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams
  • “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
  •  “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”Marc Riboud
  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “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
  • “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange
  • “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” Annie Leibovitz
  • “Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” Peter Adams
  •  “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
  •   “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”Ansel Adams

Image Courtesy: Marc Riboud 

  • “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”Marc Riboud
  • “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” — Scott Lorenzo
  • “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” Annie Leibovitz
  •   “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams
  • “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
  • “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” — Marc Riboud
  • “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange
  • “Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.” Peter Adams

Art of Photography

  • “Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.” Garry Winogrand
  • “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
  • “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… it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.” David Bailey
  • “The magic of photography is metaphysical. What you see in the photograph isn’t what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organised visual lying.” Terence Donovan
  • “I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.” — Wayne Miller
  • “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
  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” — Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “Photography is a medium in which if you don’t do it then, very often you don’t do it at all, because it doesn’t happen twice. A rock will probably always be more or less there just the way you saw it yesterday. But other things change, they’re not always there the day after or the week after.” Paul Strand

Image Courtesy: Pete Turner

  • “Ultimately, simplicity is the goal in every art, and achieving simplicity is one of the hardest things to do, yet it’s easily the most essential.” Pete Turner
  • “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
  • “All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” Elliott Erwitt
  • “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”– Chase Jarvis
  • “You must let the person looking at the photograph go some of the way to finishing it. You should offer them a seed that will grow and open up their minds.” Robert Doisneau

Wedding Photography Quotes

  • “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
  • “If you force it and you keep looking for moments then you’ll end up shooting what you think the wedding should look like rather than actual moments that are unfolding in front of you.” – Joe Buissink
  • “You need to use [a hat] when you have to, such as when it’s raining. Or, when you just feel like it. Sometimes you wear it because you need to get the sun out of your eyes. Think about flash in the same way. Don’t use it all the time, but also don’t shy away from it. If it’s dark outside, use flash. If you know there’s time, and you have a good idea, and your clients will love it, then go for it.” Matt Kennedy

Image Courtesy: Roberto Valenzuela

  • “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
  • “It is a profound honor as a photographer to witness two people falling in love.” – Jesh de Rox
  • “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
  • “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
  • “The people who hire me as a wedding photographer hire me not just because of my photographic style, they hire me because of the style of my personality. My style and personality match, so they know they’re getting a genuine style.” – Jared Platt
  • “The most important thing at a wedding is to photograph the bride. The second most important thing is not to forget the groom.” – Alix Reuters

How To Do a Perfect Photoshoot?

  • “The key is to photograph your obsessions; whether that’s old people’s hands or skyscrapers. Think of a blank canvas, because that’s what you’ve got, and then think about what you want to see – not anyone else.” David Lachapelle
  • “A photograph is a moral decision taken in one eighth of a second. ” — Salman Rushdie
  •  “The satisfaction comes from working next to 500 photographers and coming away with something different.” David Burnett
  • “Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”— Yousuf Karsh
  • “There is no such thing as taking too much time, because your soul is in that picture.” Ruth Bernhard
  •  “My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. If you are curious, you create opportunities, and if you open the doors, you create possibilities.” Mario Testino
  • “Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”– Ambrose Bierce
  • “I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve missed, ignored, trampled or otherwise lost, just ’cause I’ve been so hell-bent on getting the shot I think I want.” Joe McNally 
  • “The pitfall of photography is that you can end up looking at everything through a camera, instead of seeing it for itself. The viewfinder isolates you. When you look through one, you’re cutting everything else out of your vision. The camera can open many doors, but sometimes you need to put it down and live.” Maggie Steber

Image Courtesy: Andreas Gursky 

  • “Try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe. For me it’s more a synonym. I read a picture not for what’s really going on there, I read it more for what is going on in our world generally.”Andreas Gursky
  • “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus
  • “I think a photograph, of whatever it might be – a landscape, a person – requires personal involvement. That means knowing your subject, not just snapping away at what’s in front of you.” Frans Lanting

Best Technique For Photography - Quotes

  • “I go straight in very close to people, and I do that because it’s the only way you can get the picture. You go right up to them. Even now, I don’t find it easy. I don’t announce it. I pretend to be focusing elsewhere. If you take someone’s photo, it is very difficult not to look at them just after. But it’s the one thing that gives the game away. I don’t try and hide what I’m doing – that would be folly.”   Martin Parr
  • “We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” Ralph Hattersley
  • “Self-conscious artiness is fatal, but it certainly would not hurt to study composition in general. Having a basic understanding of composition would help construct a better organized image.” Berenice Abbott
  • “The more specific you are, the more general it’ll be.” Diane Arbus

Image Courtesy:Mary Ellen Mark

  • “By making a frame you’re being selective, then you edit the pictures you want published and you’re being selective again. You develop a point of view that you want to express. You try to go into a situation with an open mind, but then you form an opinion and you express it in your photographs.” Mary Ellen Mark
  • “No amount of toying with shades of print or with printing papers will transform a commonplace photograph into anything other than a commonplace photograph.” Bill Brandt 
  • “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”Robert Capa
  • “Limit your tools, focus on one thing, and just make it work… you become very inventive with the restrictions you give yourself.” Anton Corbijn
  • “The most important piece of equipment after the camera is a good pair of shoes. A writer can work from a hotel room but a photographer has to be there, so he/she is in for a hell of a lot of hiking.” David Hurn
  • “During the work, you have to be sure that you haven’t left any holes, that you’ve captured everything, because afterwards it will be too late” Henry Cartier-Bresson
  • “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
  • “You are responsible for every part of your image, even the parts you’re not interested in.” Jay Maisel

Image Courtesy: Sally Mann

  • “I’m so worried that I’m going to perfect [my] technique someday. I have to say it’s unfortunate how many of my pictures do depend upon some technical error.” Sally Mann
  • “Just be prepared to look back in a few years on yourself, and your photos, and laugh.”– Ben Chrisman

Quotes About The Importance of Intuition In Photography

  • “If you want to make good photographs, a camera has to be second nature to you. Devoting too much attention to technical decisions can interfere with your creative processes.”Robert Farber
  • “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
  • “It seems to me that women have a bigger chance at success in photography than men… Women are quicker and more adaptable than men. And I think they have an intuition that helps them understand personalities more quickly than men.” Lee Miller
  • “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
  • “Technique undoubtedly helps make photography magical, but I prefer to work with atmosphere. I think that the obsession with technique is a male thing. Boy’s toys. They love playing… but once you’ve perfected something you have to start searching for a new toy. I would rather search for a new model or location.” Ellen von Unwerth
  • “Everything always looked better in black and white. Everything always looked as if it were the first time; there’s always more people in a black and white photograph. It just makes it seem that there were more people at a gig, more people at a football match, than with colour photography. Everything looks more exciting.”– Jack Lowden
  • “It would be mistaken to suppose that any of the best photography is come at by intellection; it is like all art, essentially the result of an intuitive process, drawing on all that the artist is rather than on anything he thinks, far less theorizes about – Helen Levitt
  • “It is very hard to say where you’re going until you get there. That kind of thing is based very much on instinct. As a photographer, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is that you have to learn to listen to and trust your own instinct. It has helped to guide me – this far at least.” James Nachtwey

Image Courtesy: Edward Weston

  • “Photography concentrates one’s eye on the superficial. For that reason it obscures the hidden life which glimmers through the outlines of things like a play of light and shade. One can’t catch that even with the sharpest lens. One has to grope for it by feeling.”Franz Kafka
  • “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
  • “Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment, which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.” Lee Freidlander
  • “The secret of photography is the camera takes on the character and personality of the handler.” Walker Evans
  • “The better images occur when you’re moving to the fringes of your own understanding. That’s where self-doubt and risk taking are likely to occur. It’s when you trust what’s happening at a non-intellectual non-conscious level that you can produce work that later resonates, often in a way that you can’t articulate a response to.” Jerry Uelsmann
  • “The camera is a remarkable instrument. Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.” Margaret Bourke-White

Short Photography Quotes

  • “To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.” — Brassai
  • “There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.” — Bruce Gilden
  • “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.” —
  • “A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.” — Skyler Reid
  • “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” — Jim Richardson
  • “Gosh, my job is so easy! I just click a button all day… said no photographer ever.”– Unknown
  • “Today, I am going to shoot someone… and they will love me for it!” – Unknown
  • “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

Image Courtesy: Tim Walker

  •  “Photography: so many attempts – so few masterpieces.” James Elliott
  • “With creating, we are literally bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before.” – Montana Dennis
  • “For every negative that is a disappointment, there is one that is a joy.” Edward S Curtis
  •  “Photography’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent moving furniture.” Gregory Heisler
  • “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” Lewis Hine
  •  “It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” Alfred Eisenstaedt
  • “Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner.” — Anonymous
  •  “Which of the photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” — Imogen Cunningham
  • “Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference.” ― Robert Frank
  • “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?” —Edward Weston
  • “If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.” — Linda McCartney
  • “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” — Anonymous
  •  “Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” ― Paul Strand
  • “When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.” — Wynn Bullock
  • “Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” — Sally Mann

Image Courtesy: Steve McCurry

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

  • “Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” — Anonymous
  • “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” — Diane Arbus
  • “I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.” — Gerardo Suter
  •   “Essentially what photography is is life lit up.” — Sam Abell
  • “I believe photographers should shoot what they want, not shoot what they get.”  – Roberto Valenzuela
  • “Photography is a love affair with life.” — Burk Uzzle
  • “All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” — Richard Avedon
  • “The pictures are there, and you just take them.” — Robert Capa
  • “Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.” — Mary Ellen Mark
  • “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” — Edward Steichen


So, what is your favorite photography quote?

If you think we missed it, please leave a comment below.

One reply on “180+ Photography Quotes (The Ultimate List)”