The Master List of Awesome Photography Quotes

Photography quotes are cool because of three reasons. Number one is they sound good, to us who know what they're about anyway. Number two is that you know they're words of wisdom because people don't tend to quote other anonymous people who aren't particularly good at something. In other words, they are words who belong to some of the best photographers ever. Reason number three is that they inspire, and sometimes they can pull you out of creative ruts when you list expect it.

 

Here is the go to list of photography quotes. Check it whenever you feel like you need an old man whispering in your ear, telling you what to do. Happy reading!

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

By crops Mr. Adams means an entire year's work, of course. Some digital kids might mistake it for something else.

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

― Marc Riboud

Talk about living photography to the max.

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

― Susan Sontag

Sontag's relationship with Annie Leibovitz must have been an intellectual delight.

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

It's not all about capturing things. Sometimes you have to make stuff happen on your own.

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

Emphasize the word "instrument”.

“Photography is an itch that won’t go away. No matter how much you scratch it.” — Dara McGrath

I know many will understand this.

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

I know this is a rather too famous quote on Facebook, but its meaning is timeless, regardless of how many people with no real interest in photography share it.


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

Just don't use this quote as a pretext to get into a street fight and fight with your camera.

“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

Photography is not a job, it's a lifestyle. Leibovitz knows best.

"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst". –Henri Cartier-Bresson

Of course, this was written in a time when 10,000 photos meant a lot. Add another 0 to bring it up to date.

“ Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment. –Elliott Erwitt

Need I say more?

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”- Diane Arbus

A beautiful quote that could come only from the misterious Diane Arbus.

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

Because ordinary is the opposite of great.

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

Robert Capa was never afraid of getting too close. Eventually it lead to his end but it also made him a legend.

'' 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

It's a thing of personal development, but you'll get it eventually.

'' 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

This is one of the most important things you can learn about photography. Ever.

"The beauty of women was the first expression of my photography." Alberto Korda

And to this day it is the expression of many.

" Which of the photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. " Imogen Cunningham

Cunningham probably knew he was never going to feel content with his work as long as he could still create.

"Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding still. " Dorothea Lange

One of the few things that has remained unchanged throughout the history of photography is its unique ability to freeze time.

"Look, I'm not an intellectual - I just take pictures. " Helmut Newton

The world would be a much better place if more photographers were this humble.

"Photography is my one recreation and I think it should be done well." Lewis Caroll

You should take care of the passion that once started it all and find ways to use photography as a mean of relaxation as well.

"Whether he is an artist artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts."Walker Evans

How beautifully Mr. Evans puts it.

"Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art" Ansel Adams

To be perfectly honest, it's probably both.

"The camera can photograph thoughts." Dirk Bograde

And is does so a lot more often than you think.

""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

Have you ever really used your camera as a communication tool?

"Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment - this very moment-to stay." Sam Abell

And it's this particular trait that stood at the core of the motion picture as well.

"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

So...yeah. Composition matters.

"What's really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer." William Albert Allard

At the end of the day, simplicity isn't all that simple.

"Don't pack up your camera until you've left the location.” Joe McNally

Always be prepared because unique opportunities won't wait for you to take your camera out.

"The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don't have to explain things with words." Elliott Erwit

Most photographers feel like they express themselves best through images.

"The photographer does the world a great disservice when she leaves her camera at home." Mark Denman

Lucky for us we now have smartphones with decent cameras.

"Photograph: A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.” Ambrose Bierce

...

"Often while traveling with a camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, too late to expose film, only time enough to expose our hearts. ~Minor White"

It's best to enjoy such moments without having a missed frame in mind.

"The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera. ~W. Eugene Smith"

I know some might argue .

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships. ~Ansel Adams"

Some photographers will be shocked to find out that editing techniques are a lot older than Photoshop.

"No photographer is as good as the simplest camera. ~Edward Steichen"

This little piece of information is absolutely gold, but far too few see that.

"I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything." John Steinbeck

Another one for gear lovers claiming to be photographers.

"All photos are accurate. None of them is the truth. ~Richard Avedon"

This is one of Avedon's most famous quotes.

"“Emotion or feeling is really the only thing about pictures I find interesting. Beyond that it is just a trick.” – Christopher Anderson"

A sophisticated trick nonetheless.

"“All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” – Elliott Erwitt

"Good eyes" will take you far in this line of work, in case you haven't already noticed that.

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

You wouldn't expect any less from the man who photographed the Afghan girl.

"”Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, have a camera around your neck at all times, keep your elbows in, be patient, optimistic and don’t forget to smile.” – Matt Stuart"

Nothing to it, right?

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

This is the only anonymous quote on the list and it’s here because it carries a lot of weight.

"”What I did, anybody can do.” – Weegee

Ultimately this should be the goal of every creative person, to create something nobody else can.

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

That's one good example of the ration between how much you have to shoot to get good stuff.