99 Inspirational Photography Quotes

It’s important in photography to find your subject that you love shooting and not only become a good photographer, but also find that creative approach that helps your work stand out among the rest. For some, the eye for composition, technical skills, or overall approach comes a lot more naturally than others. But one thing is for sure, a photographer can always work harder and that doesn’t take any special talents.

Here is a list of 99 inspirational photography quotes from photographers and other professionals who have experienced success in their field of work. Hopefully their words of wisdom will inspire you to work harder and become a more accomplished photographer.

photography quote

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

“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

“I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.”
– Alec Soth

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.”
– John Berger

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

“It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.”
– Timothy Allen

“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.”
– Edward Weston

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

“I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport.”
— Bill Brandt

“If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.”
– Garry Winogrand

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

“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

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

“I shutter to think how many people are underexposed and lacking depth in this field.”
– Rick Steves

“Only photograph what you love.”
— Tim Walker

“Anyone can shoot chaos. But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures out of uninteresting moments.”
– Alex Tehrani

“The camera adds a certain sheen to things. Something about being frozen in time really makes things sparkle.”
– Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York)

“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

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

“Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.”
– Morley Baer

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

“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

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
– Arthur Brisbane

“Allow yourself the freedom to step away from perfection because it is only then that you can find success.”
– Chase Jarvis

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

“A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.”
– Skyler Reid

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

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

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

“You just have to live and life will give you pictures.”
– Henri Cartier Bresson

“Where light and shadow fall on your subject – that is the essence of expression and art through photography.”
– Scott Bourne

“There will be times when you will be in the field without a camera. And, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed. Don’t be bitter because you can’t record it. Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is!”
– DeGriff

“Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.”
– Edward Weston

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
– Ansel Adams

“One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.”
– Dorothea Lange

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”
– Edward Weston

“Photography can light up darkness and expose ignorance.”
– Lewis Hine

“What I have learnt and what I teach now is all about experimentation and learning to pick yourself up and try again when you fall down.”
– Lara Jade

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”
– Ansel Adams

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

“Creativity needs to extend beyond the lens. Find creative ways to showcase your work and get it seen. Straight up tenacity, hard work and determination will always be part of the equation, so get to it.”
– Jimmy Chin

“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

“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 love photographing. It’s that simple.”
– Stuart Franklin

“I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.”
– Trent Parke

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

“To me, it is better to ‘guess’ at how something works, experiment, fail, guess again, fail, and keep repeating that process over and over again until you either figure it out or you discover a multiplicity of other cool tricks along the way.”
– Trey Ratcliff

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

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

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

“There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual.”
– Rankin

“Images of people, cities, and landscapes from the air tell a unique story about our personal space and how we relate to one another. I’ve always aimed to address the bigger picture and later trends. In many ways, what a photographer does is give others a chance to step back and look at their world and gain perspective on where we stand, and what that means.”
– Vincent Laforet

“Photography is a language more universal than words.”
– Minor White

photographer quote

“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 treat the photograph as a work of great complexity in which you can find drama. Add to that a careful composition of landscapes, live photography, the right music and interviews with people, and it becomes a style.”
– Ken Burns

“Photography is for me, a spontaneous impulse that comes from an ever-attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity.”
– Henri Cartier Bresson

“Wherever there is light, one can photograph.”
– Alfred Stieglitz

“Twelve significant photographs in one year is a good crop.”
– Ansel Adams

“There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.”
– Robert Heinecken

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.”
– Sally Mann

“As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.”
– Sam Abell

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

“If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.”
– Bruce Gilden

“I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence.”
– Robert Mapplethorpe

“It doesn’t matter if you’re photographing a porter in a market in Marrakech or you’re photographing the king of Morroco. You have the same sympathetic approach to everybody. You be nice to everybody, basically.”
– Albert Watson

“Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.”
– Berenice Abbott

“I guess I’ve shot about 40,000 negatives and of these I have about 800 pictures I like.”
– Harry Callahan

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

“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.”
– Richard Avedon

“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

“Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.”
– W. Eugene Smith

“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

“Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.”
– Ernst Haas

“What it all boils down to for me is having the enthusiasm to do something for enjoyment and being stimulated by what’s around you. That’s what photography does for me.”
– Graeme Le Saux

“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

“Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.”
– Mary Ellen Mark

“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

“A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy.”
– Galen Rowell

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

“The camera has always been a guide, and it’s allowed me to see things and focus on things that maybe an average person wouldn’t even notice.”
– Don Chadwick

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
– Cecil Beaton

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”
– Eudora Welty

“If you have something to say with a camera then show it, otherwise it’s better to bake a cake.”
– Jason Eskenazi

“When you photograph people in color you photograph their clothes. When you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their soul!”
– Ted Grant

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

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

photography quotes

“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”
– Jay Maisel

“Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.”
– William Klein

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
– Chase Jarvis

“Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images.”
– Helen Levitt

“You know, I really don’t think you learn from teachers. You learn from work. I think what you learn, really, is how to be- you have to be your own toughest critic, and you only learn that from work, from seeing work.”
– Garry Winogrand

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

“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

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

“Just put on the lens and go.”
– Miroslav Tichy