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165 of the Best Photography Quotes from Top Photographers

the best photography quotes

Do you love reading inspirational quotes? How about inspirational photography quotes? We put together a list of the best photography quotes from top photographers. Whether you prefer wedding photography quotes or photography business quotes, these quotes can help you stay inspired and motivated.

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then how much are the words of photographers worth? While words don’t make a photograph, we’ve compiled an awe-inspiring list of quotes about photography. Here at ShootDotEdit, we help you with your wedding photo edits, which is typically not the most exciting part of the photography process. Some of these wedding photography quotes will help remind you (and us) about how inspiring the wedding day truly is!

Many of these photography quotes you will probably recognize, but some others you might not. We’ve pulled from wedding photographers, to portrait photographers, to boudoir photographers, and more.

Famous Photography Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Photography helps people to see.”
– Berenice Abbott

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

Wedding Photography Quotes

“Circumstantial light considers not only all the properties and behaviors of natural light, but also how that light interacts with the objects around [you], so that [you] can transform those objects into light-shaping tools.”
– Roberto Valenzuela

“With creating, we are literally bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before.”
– Montana Dennis

“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

“I believe photographers should shoot what they want, not shoot what they get.” 
– Roberto Valenzuela

couple portraits wedding photography

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Roberto Valenzuela

“How do we start taking pictures of people, and stop taking pictures of poses?”
– Justin and Mary Marantz

“You need to use [a hat] when you have to, such as when it’s raining. Or, when you just feel like it. Sometimes you wear it because you need to get the sun out of your eyes. Think about flash in the same way. Don’t use it all the time, but also don’t shy away from it. If it’s dark outside, use flash. If you know there’s time, and you have a good idea, and your clients will love it, then go for it.”
– Matt Kennedy

“The people who hire me as a wedding photographer hire me not just because of my photographic style, they hire me because of the style of my personality. My style and personality match, so they know they’re getting a genuine style.”
– Jared Platt

bridal portraits

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Jared Platt

“When [you] acquire an understanding of the science behind light and what governs it, then [you] can predict its behavior and control the lighting in [your] photographs.”
– Roberto Valenzuela

Funny Photography Quotes

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“Gosh, my job is so easy! I just click a button all day… said no photographer ever.”
– Unknown

“You might be a photographer if: Your eyesight from staring at the computer has gone from F11 to F1.8.”
– Naman Pokarna’s Photography

“Today, I am going to shoot someone… and they will love me for it!”
– Unknown

Black and White Photography Quotes

“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

“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 colour 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

Nature Photography Quotes

“I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.”
– Annie Leibovitz

“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
– Man Ray

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”
– Ambrose Bierce

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

Inspirational Photography Quotes

“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

“A photograph is like a recipe memory the finished dish.”
– Carrie Latet

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”
– August Sander

“Photography has no rules, it is not a sport. It is the result which counts, no matter how it is achieved.”
– Bill Brandt

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

“The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?”
– Edward Weston

“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

“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

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
– Diane Arbus

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

“For me, documentary photography has always come with great responsibility. Not just to tell the story honestly and with empathy, but also to make sure the right people hear it. When you photograph somebody who is in pain or discomfort, they trust you to make sure the images will act as their advocate.”
– Giles Duley

“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

“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.”
– Dorothea Lange

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

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”
– Richard Avedon

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

Related: 8 (Non-Wedding) Photographers to Follow for Inspiration

“I’ve always believed that photography is a way to shape human perception.”
– James Balog

“Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true.”
– Jacques-Henri Lartigue

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

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

“To me, the magic of photography, per se, is that you can capture an instant of a second that couldn’t exist before and couldn’t exist after. It’s almost like a cowboy that draws his gun. You draw a second before or after, you miss and you’re dead – not them. To me, photography’s always like that.”
– Mario Testin

“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

“Results are uncertain even among the more experienced photographers.”
– Matthew Brady

“In the world of photography, you get to share a captured moment with other people.”
– James Wilson

“If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.”
– Linda McCartney

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.”
– Lewis Hine

“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

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”
– Susan Sontag

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.”
– Anonymous

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

“Essentially what photography is is life lit up.”
– Sam Abell

“Of course I realize that photography is not the technical facility as much as it is the eye, and this decision that one makes for the moment at which you are going to snap, you know.”
– Ben Shahn

“Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film; they advertise memories.”
– Theodore Levitt

“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.”
– Wynn Bullock

Related: 14 Relatable Photography Humor Quotes for Wedding Pros

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

“I didn’t choose photography, photography chose me.”
– Gerardo Suter

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“Photography is a way of putting distance between myself and the work which sometimes helps me to see more clearly what it is that I have made.”
– Andy Goldsworthy

“Photography gives you the opportunity to use your sensibility and everything you are to say something about and be part of the world around you. In this way, you might discover who you are, and with a little luck, you might discover something much larger than yourself.”
– Peter Lindbergh

“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

“I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.”
– Galen Rowell

“Photography is the recording of strangeness and beauty with beguiling precision.”
– Sebastian Smee

“I think life is too short not to be doing something which you really believe in.”
– Steve McCurry

“I think of photography like therapy.”
– Harry Gruyaert

“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

“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

“Photography has nothing to do with cameras.”
– Lucas Gentry

“Photography is the simplest thing in the world, but it is incredibly complicated to make it really work.”
– Martin Parr

“You cannot possibly hit the shutter without leaving a piece of you in the image.” 
– Joe Buissink

“Photography is my passion. Whenever I get time, I click.”
– Shaheer Sheikh

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
– Dorothea Lange

“I love this life. I feel like I am always catching my breath and saying, ‘Oh! Will you look at that?’ Photography has been my way of bearing witness to the joy I find in seeing the extraordinary in ordinary life. You don’t look for pictures. Your pictures are looking for you.”
– Harold Feinstein

“When you photograph a face… you photograph the soul behind it.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

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

“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

“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

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

“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

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

“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

“When a moment in front of me appears to be particularly special, whether it be by beauty or experience, I capture it. I usually find a reason to justify taking that photo – symmetry, or color, or contrast – and it’s my hope that my photography sheds light onto what I see and do on a daily basis.”
– Connor Franta

“Whatever situations you’re in, you have to find a way to rock it.”
– Mary Marantz

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

“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”
– Ansel Adams

“Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.”
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

“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

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

“Perception isn’t reality, it’s the only reality.”
– Amy and Jordan Demos

“I threw myself into this artform because photography had given me a new sense of mission and identity.”
– Bob Anderson

“The eye should learn to listen before it looks.”
– Robert Frank

“You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.” 
– William Albert Allard

“Photography is like a moment, an instant. You need a half-second to get the photo. So it’s good to capture people when they are themselves.”
– Patrick Demarchelier

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“Fear is the thing that prohibits a lot of photographers from reaching their full potential.” 
– Collin Pierson

“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images I live with them.”
– Bruce Gilden

“When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photographs.” 
– Annie Leibovitz

“No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a pocket full of unexposed film.”
– Robert Adams

“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

“A photograph is memory in the raw.” 
– Carrie Latet

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

“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” 
– Paul Strand

“The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer.”
– Steven Pinker

“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

“Only photograph what you love.”
– Tim Walker

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

“Photography is about capturing souls not smiles.”
– Dragan Tapshanov

“Spend more time working on posing, expressions, and creating and energy between the couple and you – they need to feel the energy that makes them react. Remember, reaction is part of the pose.”
– Roberto Valenzuela

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

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”
– Destin Sparks

“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

“Photography is a love affair with life.”
– Burk Uzzle

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

“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
– Scott Lorenzo

“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

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

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

“I feel more like a creative artist using photography because there’s – the digital work is so interesting now. It’s come to that. I have had many different stages of photography – there are many different ways to take photos. But I feel now I’m in that stage of my life where I use the camera, you know, in that way.”
– Annie Leibovitz

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” 
– Yousuf Karsh

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

“Photography is truth.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

Related: Outdoor Wedding and Engagement Photography for Inspiration

“Photography is the beauty of life captured.”
– Tara Chisolm

“Photographing a culture in the here and now often means photographing the intersection of the present with the past.”
– David DuChemin

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

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

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

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

“The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.”
– Gordon Parks

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

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

“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.”
– Leon Levinstein

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.”
– Paul Strand

“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

“Why do we use flash at all? Because photography is not the same as eyesight. We can see in low-light situations where cameras, dependent upon a physical process to record visual information, are half blind.”
– David Hewson

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
– Robert Frank

“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.”
– Yousuf Karsh

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

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”
– Edward Steichen

“I think that emotional content is an image’s most important element, regardless of the photographic technique. Much of the work I see these days lacks the emotional impact to draw a reaction from viewers, or remain in their hearts.”
– Anne Geddes

“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

“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

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

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

“It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.”
– Elliott Erwitt

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.”
– Paul Strand

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
– Ansel Adams

“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

Which of the photography quotes, portrait quotes, and camera quotes is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Hearing inspirational quotes about photography from top photographers can help you stay passionate. It can also help you stay determined to work on your skills and be the best photographer you can be. Sometimes, an inspirational quote can be just the thing needed to help you focus on the next challenge.

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