The Definitive List of Photography Quotes

I don't know about you but I love me some photography quotes. You're in luck too, I've assembled 210 for you on this page. But that's not all. Since you are either different or invisible, I made sure this list is different. How? 3 ways…

Curated quotes

First these quotes are curated. That means I have gone trough a file of about 914 lines full of quotes and read each and every single one of them… and I removed those who are not enlightening enough. I have also removed the quotes that could not be named or sourced. That left me a list of about 100 quotes. Where do the other ones come from? Glad you ask, this list also contains…

New photography quotes

Most quotes about photography, or photoquotes are simply rehashed. They have been copied website from website without adding anything new. Again, since you are either different or invisible, I did something new. I actually purchased dusty old photography books (the kind you hold your breath when reading), READ them and got the quotes from there. So a LOT of the quotes you will find below are undiscovered quotes. But that's not all, I've compiled all those quotes into a…

FREE Ebook of photography quotes

I went ahead and compiled all of the quotes and a beautiful PDF for your keeping. Simply put your email below to receive it. Check it out below…

Cover of photography quotes book

Put Your Email Here To Download:

Put your email below to download “The book of photography quotes” Completely free. You will also receive actionable street photography tips regularly. You can unsubscribe anytime. Put your email below:

Alternatively, you can get this as a Kindle book here.

Short on time? Here's the summary of all the quotes

If you are short on time, the good news is, you don't need to read every single quote to get a lot from them. Out of the hundreds of quotes below, there are about 5 “big ideas” you can take away:

1- Photographs are made, not taken

Photography, unlike any other art form is instant. No need to get messy and paint something, no need to sculpt, you get everything in a split second. So the impulse is to take pictures. To simply point, and shoot, thinking that this is the gist of photography. That is not so, there is a lot that goes into the making of a photograph, so while pictures can be the result of chance, photographs have been orchestrated, or designed. There's lots of thinking behind them.

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

2- Your camera can't help you

Cameras nowadays are awesome, they can shoot faster and better, and yet the quality of photography has not increased. Because at the end of the day, your camera can't help you. I had a serious case of gear acquisition syndrome, and it is easy to think that the photos come from the machine and not from inside of you.

“Memorable photographs have been made with the simplest of cameras using available light” -Yousuf Karsh

3- Images are more than meets the eye

Photography is a highly visual medium. So the impulse is to think it's only about what you see. But the truth is, photography is not just about seeing, it is also about thinking and feeling. In Inspired Eye's Street Photography Course, we call this the Eye, Heart and Mind.

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

4- Photography is about life

When I was a kid, I went into my dad's room and found movie, I don't remember the name or who was in it, just the blurb on the back of the cover. It said that the movie was about a person who “was afraid to die without having lived”. That is the essence of photography, or more precisely street photography. The more you live, the better you will be as a photographer. Photography happens where life happens.

“Art is the affirmation of life” -Alfred Stieglitz

5- Keeping your mind open

I receive lots of emails from photographers around the world, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard something along the lines of “There's nothing to shoot around me”. Every single time they show me their images, you wouldn't believe how great of a location they are in. But because they have a specific idea of what their images SHOULD look like, they miss the images that are right in front of them.

“When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision” -Edward Weston

That is all, let's dig in the quotes proper:

Share this page:

Photography Quotes

“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

Alfred Stieglitz Photography Quotes:

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Alfred Stieglitz
“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
Alfred Stieglitz
“Have you ever been in love? Then you can be a photographer”
Alfred Stieglitz

“Art is the affirmation of life”
Alfred Stieglitz

Andre Kertesz Photography Quotes:

“The moment always dictates my work”
Andre Kertesz

“What I feel, I do. This is the most important thing for me”
Andre Kertesz

“Everybody can look, but they don't necessarily see”
Andre Kertesz
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
Andy Wharhol

“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

Annie Leibovitz Photography Quotes:

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

Anonymous Photography Quotes:

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

“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.”
Anonymous

“A tear contains an ocean. A photographer is aware of the tiny moments in a persons life that reveal greater truths.”
Anonymous

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

“When people ask me what equipment I use I tell them my eyes.”
Anonymous
“You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.”
Anonymous

“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.”
Anonymous

“When people ask me what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes.”
Anonymous

Ansel Adams Photography Quotes:

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

“There's nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”
Ansel Adams

“It is a strange thing that as techniques develop, the materials, the lenses, the cameras get more accurate and perfect, the quality of perception and execution goes down, because they count on the machine to do it”
Ansel Adams

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

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

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

“I have yet to see a fine photograph which is not a good document”
Berenice Abbott
“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”
August Sander

“Photography helps people to see.”
Berenice Abbott

“In photography you can never express yourself directly, only through optics, the physical and chemical process”
Brassai
“Images convey personality just as strongly as a drawing”
Brassai

“It is up to the artist to create art, not the camera”
Brett Weston

“An artist has to have a strong ego. He has to be enamored of his work. His art has to be the most important thing in his life”
Brett Weston

“My basic drive is to create, not to be famous”
Brett Weston

On his best year: “My present work. You move ahead. You don't rest on your laurels”
Brett Weston

“It (Photography) can record beauty precisely in a split second. A painter can't do this, a writer can't do this, a sculptor can't do this”
Brett Weston

“In general mass audiences are tasteless”
Brett Weston

“I photograph people's thoughts”
Cecil B. Demille
“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”
Destin Sparks
“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”
Diane Arbus

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

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus
“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 camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
Dorothea Lange

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

“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

Edward Weston Photography Quotes:

“The finished print must be created in full before the film is exposed”
Edward Weston

“The fact is relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them”
Edward Weston

“Only long experience will enable the photographer to subordinate technical considerations to pictorial aims”
Edward Weston

“Learning to see in terms of the field of one lens, the scale of one film and one paper, will accomplish a good deal more than a smattering of knowledge about several different set of tools”
Edward Weston

“Photography provides the photographer with a means of looking deeply in the nature of things”
Edward Weston

“When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision”
Edward Weston

“Good composition is only the strongest way of seeing the subject”
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

“The more you photograph, the more you realize what can and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.”
Eliot Porter

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

“I am a professional photographer by trade and an amateur photographer by vocation.”
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

“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 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

“It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.”
Elliott Erwitt

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

“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

“I am not interested in shooting new things I am interested to see things new.”
Ernst Haas

“If I can get them (my students) to think, get them to feel, and get them to see, then I've done all that I can as a teacher”
Eugene Smith

“Iron clad rules always rust”
Eugene Smith

“I try to take what voice I have and give it to those who don't have one at all”
Eugene Smith

“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

“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”
Eve Arnold

“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

“Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.”
Garry Winogrand

I have a burning desire to see what things look like photographed by me
Garry Winogrand

“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

“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 love this life. I feel like I am always catching my breath and saying, ‘Oh! Will you look at that?’ Photography has been my way of bearing witness to the joy I find in seeing the extraordinary in ordinary life. You don’t look for pictures. Your pictures are looking for you.”
Harold Feinstein

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

“Photography has not changed since it's origin except in it's technical aspects”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Manufactured or stage photography does not concern me”
Henri Cartier-Bresson

“All that one takes to heart, come together in the viewfinder of the camera. That joy will exist for me forever”
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

“Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.”
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

“I don't work on anyone's formula”
Imogen Cunningham

About Black and Whites: “You can do more elusive things with it. Color is so realistic ”
Imogen Cunningham

“I'm not impulsive and I don't think I'm the greatest ever. I just want to work for my own satisfaction”
Imogen Cunningham

“It seems like the whole world has turned into photographers”
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

“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

“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

“Learn how to look, how to love. It's the same with painting and writing”
Jacques Henri Lartigue

“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