Photography Quotes

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Grab your camera and get ready. These photography quotes will help you appreciate photos like never before.

While photos were once about taking portraits or landscapes, now you can use this media to capture anything you want to remember.

From casual snaps for family albums or social media to formal art exhibits, photography is an exciting art form with something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.

Photographs are powerful reminders you of special events or days, and bring us back to the feelings and sounds of the moments they capture.

So here are some classic photography quotes in case that’s how you like to be artistic.

Top 10 Photography Quotes

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.

Ansel Adams
Tara Chisolm quote "Photography is the beauty of life captured"
“Photography is the beauty of life captured.” – Tara Chisolm

Photography is the art of making memories tangible.

Destin Sparks

Essentially what photography is is life lit up.

Sam Abell

A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.

David Glen Larson

Photography is truth.

Jean-Luc Godard
Burk Uzzle quote "Photography is a love affair with life"
“Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burk Uzzle

The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer.

Steven Pinker

To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.


Quotes about Photography

Photography is the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision.

Sebastian Smee

The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.

Susan Sontag

The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Photography is the simplest thing in the world, but it is incredibly complicated to make it really work.

Martin Parr

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.

Ralph Hattersley

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

When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.

Wynn Bullock
Tim Walker photography quote "Only photograph what you love"
“Only photograph what you love.” – Tim Walker

Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.

Andre Kertesz

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.

Jim Richardson

What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.

John Berger

Photography is my passion, the search for truth, my obsession.

Alfred Stieglitz

It is a cruel, ironical art, photography. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to be evaporate into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after.

Kate Morton

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.

Alfred Stieglitz

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

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

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

Photography is a kind of virtual reality, and it helps if you can create the illusion of being in an interesting world.

Steven Pinker
"You photograph with all your ideology"
“You photograph with all your ideology.” – Sebastião Salgado

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

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

Diane Arbus

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

Dorothea Lange

Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.

Ansel Adams

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.

Duane Michals

Photography is a medium in which if you don’t do it then, very often you don’t do it at all, because it doesn’t happen twice.

Paul Strand

In the world of photography, you get to share a captured moment with other people.

James Wilson

Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.

Paul Strand

In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.

August Sander

One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

Lisa Kristine
Gerardo Sutter quote "I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me"
“I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.” – Gerardo Sutter

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography is an itch that won’t go away. No matter how much you scratch it.

Dara McGrath

Part of the role of photography is to exaggerate, and that is an aspect that I have to puncture. I do that by showing the world as I really find it.

Martin Parr

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

My interest in photography is not to capture an image I see or even have in my mind, but to explore the potential of moments I can only begin to imagine.

Lois Greenfield

Photography is a means by which we learn to see the ordinary.

David Bailey

The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.

Imogen Cunningham

Photography Quotes on Contrast

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.

Robert Frank

There’s something strange and powerful about black-and-white imagery.

Stefan Kanfer

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
Conrad Hall quote "Contrast is what makes photography interesting"
“Contrast is what makes photography interesting.” – Conrad Hall

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

Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.

Morley Baer

With photography, a new language has been created. Now, for the first time, it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.

Ernst Haas

Quotes about Photos

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

Ansel Adams

A photograph shouldn’t be just a picture, it should be a philosophy.

Amit Kalantri

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

Matt Hardy

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

Ansel Adams

There is one thing the photo must contain – the humanity of the moment.

Robert Frank

Photographs force us to see people before their future weighed them down.

Kate Morton
Henri Cartier photography quote "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst"
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

Karl Lagerfeld

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.

Robert Frank

Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.

Sally Mann

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

Ambrose Bierce

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

Richard Avedon

I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.

Wayne Miller

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

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

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.

Ralph Hattersley

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

Twelve significant photographs in one year is a good crop.

Ansel Adams

Picture Quotes

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life.

Joan Miro

A very subtle difference can make the picture or not.

Annie Leibowitz

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

The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.

Andy Warhol
Horace quote "A picture is a poem without words"
“A picture is a poem without words.” – Horace

The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.

Scott Lorenzo

A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.

Diane Arbus

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

Marc Riboud

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

Ansel Adams

A good snapshot keeps a moment that s gone from running away.

Eudora Welty

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 are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.

Abraham Lincoln

The more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.

Robert Mapplethorpe
Gilles Peress quote "I don’t trust words. I trust pictures"
“I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” – Gilles Peress

I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.

Diane Arbus

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

Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.

Diane Arbus

Camera Quotes

A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.

Edward Steichen

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

Dorothea Lange

A camera alone does not make a picture. To make a picture you need a camera, a photographer and above all a subject. It is the subject that determines the interest of the photograph.

Man Ray

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 Leibowitz

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart, and head.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.

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

The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?

Edward Weston

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

It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film; they advertise memories.

Theodore Levitt

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

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

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

Robert Heinecken

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

Yousuf Karsh

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.

Steve McCurry
"A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye"
“A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye.” – Roger Kingston

It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer, you must understand, appreciate, and harness the power you hold!

Mark Denman

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

Ansel Adams

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

Photography is definitely the form of artistic expression that has been around for the least amount of time, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t had a profound impact on the way we experience and record history.

With the availability of smartphones and their tiny, high quality cameras, photography is actually one of the most accessible means of creating and enjoying art today.

We hope these great photography quotes inspire you to see photos in a different way and maybe snap a few of your own.

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.