Photography Quotes - The Top 50

Photography inspiration through photography quotes.

We're often told as photographers that in order to learn we should look at the work of masters of photography.

However, seldom are we told to read their words. I truly believe these inspiring photography quotes I selected for you can provide a real insight into their minds, philosophy and ethos.

But... in the great words of A.A. Milne... "A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."


"If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough."
Robert Capa

"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera."
Lewis Hine

"When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I'm human. It's the same thing when I'm behind a camera. I forget I exist."
Robert Mapplethorpe

"So successful has been the camera's role in beautifying the world that photographs, rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful."
Susan Sontag

"The camera's only job is to get out of the way of making photographs."
Ken Rockwell

"Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn't a very interesting photograph. If it were, they would have more to say."
Author Unknown

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

"A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures - they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove."
Sam Haskins

"I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do - that was one of my favourite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse."
Diane Arbus

"Once the amateur's naive approach and humble willingness to learn fades away, the creative spirit of good photography dies with it. Every professional should remain always in his heart an amateur."
Alfred Eisenstaedt

"The urge to create, the urge to photograph, comes in part from the deep desire to live with more integrity, to live more in peace with the world, and possibly to help others to do the same."
Wynn Bullock

"The pictures are there, and you just take them."
Robert Capa

"No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want."
Ken Rockwell

"Photography has the capacity to provide images of man and his environment that are both works of art and moments in history"
Cornell Capa

"A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety"
Ansel Adams

"One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten photos out of focus are an experimentation, one hundred photos out of focus are a style."
Author Unknown

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

"The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street."
Robert Doisneau

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

"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

"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

"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

"Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment."
Ansel Adams

"Good photos are like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good."
Author Unknown

"I'm always mentally photographing everything as practice."
Minor White

"If you take photographs, don’t speak, don’t write, don’t analyse yourself, and don’t answer any questions."
Robert Doisneau

"There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept."
Ansel Adams

"A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see."
Roland Barthes

"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop"
Ansel Adams

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."
Confucius

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

"I have a very good memory, but it's short. Thank god for photography."
John E. Burkowski

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

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

"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to see."
Ernst Haas

"When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!"
Ted Grant

"I've finally figured out what's wrong with photography. It's a one-eyed man looking through a little 'ole. Now, how much reality can there be in that?"
David Hockney

"Actually, I'm not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I'm not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren't cooks."
Henri Cartier-Bresson

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
Ansel Adams

"Photography is like making cheese. It takes a hell of a lot of milk to make a small amount of cheese just like it takes a hell of a lot of photos to get a good one."
Robert Gillis

"I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop."
Ansel Adams

"In every photographer there was a painter, a true artist, awaiting expression."
Pablo Picasso

"In the same spirit, when the automobile arrived, there were those that declared the horse to be the most perfect form of locomotion."
Man Ray

"I have always been very interested in photography. I have looked at far more photographs than I have paintings. Because their reality is stronger than reality itself."
Francis Bacon

"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

"A photograph is usually looked at, seldom looked into."
Ansel Adams

"If you own an oven it does not make you a top chef. Likewise, if you own a camera, it does not make you a professional photographer."
Giles Christopher

"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

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
Dorthea Lange

"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn."
Pablo Picasso


I hope you found those photography quotes as inspiring as I did searching for them and reading them!

I have of course surely missed some so please feel free to comment and add suggestions!

Nico