50 Best Photography Quotes

50 Best Photography Quotes

We all need a bit of inspiration in our lives from time to time. In the photography world, this can range from getting us out of the house to even a different choice of lens. A few words in the right circumstance can make the difference. That’s the main reason for compiling this little list of 50 best photography quotes.

Quotes from famous photographers can boil down years of experience, which may seem ambiguous or ethereal on first glance, but generally have a deeper meaning the longer you shoot. When compiling this list, it was remarkable that from the oldest to the most recent quotes, the best photography quotes erred on the emotional, rather than the technical side of photography. Some are humorous, some are very general and others focus on different areas or types of photography.

There are also lots of side benefits here. Not only inspirational quotes but also a long list of famous photographers which you can then research yourself. Find the elements that made them great, then using another famous quote, ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal.’ That’s not to say rip them off entirely, but take the best bits, then make it your own.

Thus, in no particular order, here are 50 of the best photography quotes. In fact, here’s a little task for you to perform. Pick your five favorite quotes from below, print them out, stick them on your wall, memorize them, then use them when you are next out on a photo shoot. That little extra something may just make the difference.

Famous Photographer Quotes

Andy Warhol Photography Quote Image

Words of inspiration from some of the best photographers around. Old to new, these words should resonate no matter your area of photography.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Photography helps people to see.”
– Berenice Abbott

“Your first 1,000 photographs are your worst.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”
– Alfred Eisenstaedt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wherever the center of the light source is, you want that to be a little bit above the center of the couple’s eyes – something magical happens when you do this.”
– Zach and Jody Gray

Black and White Photography Quotes

Ted Grant Photography Quote Image

Nailing a perfect black and white image is the hallmark of a great photographer. Hopefully, some of these photography quotes will move you closer to that point.

“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 color photography. Everything looks more exciting.”
– Jack Lowden

“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

“Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world.”
– Joel Sternfeld

“I think it’s because it was an emotional story, and emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.”
– Kim Hunter

“One sees differently with color photography than black and white… in short, visualization must be modified by the specific nature of the equipment and materials being used.”
– Ansel Adams

“When images are in black and white, they seem timeless. When you see Carrie Otis in an ad from 1989 next to an ad with Klara Wester from 2009, you don’t see a 20-year difference between the pictures.”
– Paul Marciano

“Black and white photography erases time from the equation.”
– Jason Peterson

“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.”
– Henri Mattise

“Black and white photography has an enhanced sobriety and gravitas that can be well suited to formal events such as weddings.”
– Tim Savage

“Good black and white photography is not about the removal of color!”
– Rob Sheppard

General Photography Quotes

Robert Capa Photography Quote Image

These photography quotes are mostly from influential photographers, with a more general feel. A bit of everything in here to get your photography neurons lighting that bit brighter.

“The pictures are there, and you just take them.”
– Robert Capa

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

“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 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

“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

“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

“Photography is not about cameras, gadgets, and gizmos. Photography is about photographers. A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel.”
– Peter Adams

“Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.”
– Joe McNally

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.”
– William Thackeray

“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

“We don’t learn from our good images; we learn from the ones that can be improved on.”
– Jen Rozenbaum

“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

“The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.”
– Robert Mapplethorpe

“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

“Clients love pictures where they’re laughing versus just smiling. That’s because there’s emotion behind it. Because you’re capturing energy, not just a still image.”
– Jen Rozenbaum

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
– David Alan Harvey

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

“My photography is the result of being there at the right moment.”
– Rene Burri

“One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and on. It’s on all the time.”
– Annie Leibovitz

“Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.”
– Percy W. Harris

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

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

Are You Inspired?

With a little luck, these inspirational photography quotes should give you that bit more zest and enthusiasm on your next photo shoot. It’s one thing to learn the technical sides of lighting, posing, and mastering exposure. The rest is down to your creativity. And as we all know, that’s a lifelong journey.

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