Photography Quotes by Famous Photographers

As a photographer, you sometimes run out of motivation to go on your shoots and you question yourself whether it is worth or not.

Understanding the mindset of the world-class photographers and realizing that they too had difficulty waking up early, preparing for shoots, finding new ideas, yet they persisted and became the masters of their virtue, will that little-bit of a push that you need..

This collection of photography quotes will help you with both; whether you’re just looking for a cute photography quote to put on your Instagram feed, or if you’re feeling down and new some fresh motivation.

All the images in this post are created by me and are free to use. If you like them, feel free to share this link with your friends or subscribe to get them in full-size 🙂 Let me know in the comments below, which photography quote was your favourite.

Landscape photography quotes #1
Photography quote by Albert Einstein

The first photography quote is tailored neither to photography nor is it by a famous photographer. I included it because I felt like it can be applied to virtually every profession and is wisdom worth remembering.

And who better to start with than one of the greatest minds of the 20th century – Albert Einstein?

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein

Photography quotes by Ansel Adams

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Photography quote by Ansel Adams

Ansel Adam was an American landscape photographer known for his black-and-white images of the American West. In 1980, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his works as an environmentalist.

He is one of the most quoted landscape photographers, ever. But why? One could argue that he didn’t become famous due to his incredible photographs, which some even see as “boring”, but rather because he set a system in landscape photography for controlled methods which yield predictable results.

Ansel shared his knowledge and information with the world, that why this entire subsection is devoted to him, so we can give something back by devoting a full subsection of photography quotes to him.

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” — Ansel Adams

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

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

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” — Ansel Adams

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

“A good photography is knowing where to stand.” — Ansel Adams

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” — Ansel Adams

“There’s a lot we can learn from Ansel’s landscape photography quotes. We just need to listen.” — Ansel Adams

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.” — Ansel Adams

“Not everybody trusts paintings, but people believe photographs.” — Ansel Adams

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

Photography quotes by Arnold Newman

Arnold Newman (1918 – 2006) was mostly a portrait photographer, known for his “environmental portraits” of public figures. He photographed celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, and Pablo Picasso.

Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.” — Arnold Newman

“We don’t take pictures with cameras, we take them with our hearts and minds.” — Arnold Newman

“The camera is a mirror with a memory, but it cannot think.” — Arnold Newman

“Visual ideas combined with technology combined with personal interpretation equals photography. Each must hold it’s own; if it doesn’t, the thing collapses.” — Arnold Newman

“It seems to me that no one picture can ever be a final summation of a personality. There are so many facets in every human being that it is impossible to present them all in one photograph.” — Arnold Newman

“I don’t care what you do with that negative, you can retouch it, you can spit on it, you can grind it underfoot. The only thing that matters is if it is honest. If [the picture] is honest, you and everybody can tell. If it is dishonest, you and everybody can tell.” — Arnold Newman

“Those who call themselves art photographers are pompous, arrogant egoists.” — Arnold Newman

“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 quotes by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French humanist photographer. He was an early user of 35mm film and considered a master of candid photography. He pioneered the genre of street photography and viewed photography as a capturing a decisive moment.

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

“Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

“The picture is good or not from the moment it was caught in the camera.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

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

“A photographer must always work with the greatest respect for his subject and in terms of his own point of view.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Of course it’s all luck.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography quotes by Ernst Haas

Ernst Haas was an Austrian-American photojournalist and colour photographer, who was an early innovator in colour photography and the author of one of the most successful photography books ever.

“The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship — either a harmony or a disharmony — that creates a picture.” — Ernst Haas

“There are almost too many possibilities. Photography is in direct proportion with our time: multiple, faster, instant. Because it is so easy, it will be more difficult.” Ernst Haas

“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

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

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

“You don’t take pictures; the good ones happen to you.” — Ernst Haas

“We can write the new chapters in a visual language whose prose and poetry will need no translation.” — Ernst Haas

“There are two kinds of photographers: those who compose pictures and those who take them. The former work in studios. For the latter, the studio is the world…. For them, the ordinary doesn’t exist: every thing in life is a source of nourishment.” — Ernst Haas

“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

“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

Photography quotes by Robert Heinecken

Robert Heinecken was an American artist who referred to himself as a “photographer” because he made photographic images without a camera. He used magazine pages on light tables to create his very unique works. He typically worked from found images, transforming them through methods like lithography, etching, and direct-exposure photograms.

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

 “The photograph… is not a picture of something, but is an object about something.” — Robert Heinecken

“I am interested in the relationships and play between an unfamiliar picture/object context and the familiar photographic image.Photography Quotes by Famous Photographers 1 — Robert Heinecken

Photography quotes by Tim Walker

Tim Walker is a British fashion photographer based in London. He photographed for Vogue, W Magazine, and LOVE Magazine. Photography quotes by Tim Walker:

“You have to raise the bar. Give yourself a challenge. Ask yourself, ‘How can one make the impossible materialise?’ — Tim Walker

“Your aim as a photographer is to get a picture of that person that means something. Portraits aren’t fantasies; they need to tell a truth.” — Tim Walker

“I don’t believe in originality. You take inspiration from whatever moves you and you find your voice in those things.” — Tim Walker

“Only photograph what you love.” — Tim Walker

“I’m very particular who I work with. I’m not interested in portraying women with a cliched, generic look. I’m interested in a model who I can take a portrait of.” — Tim Walker

“I know the world that I am painting is not a reality. It is a whim, an entertainment to provoke something in people, whether as escapism or relief. I think that is very valid.” — Tim Walker

“I’ve never been in love with fashion, actually; trends and catwalks don’t interest me. I love clothes; I love them historically and currently. They represent a spirit of the times and the zeitgeist.” — Tim Walker

“It is very difficult to make the ideas in my head come to life, but what is harder is making them look effortless.” — Tim Walker

“I like capturing stuff that is disappearing – that’s the point of photography. What I am photographing is an imaginary place that never existed, but is connected to something that has already been.” — Tim Walker

Photography quotes by Imogen Cunningham

Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Nowadays, there exists an Imogen Cunningham Trust that is engaged in preserving her work, managing her rights, and promoting her work.

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

“I was poor. When you’re poor you work, and when you’re rich you expect somebody to hand it to you. So I think being reasonably poor is very good for people.” — Imogen Cunningham

“The thing that’s fascinating about portraiture is that nobody is alike.” — Imogen Cunningham

“I don’t talk about success. I don’t know what it is. Wait until I’m dead.” — Imogen Cunningham

“The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.” — Imogen Cunningham

“Everybody who does anything for the public can be criticized. There’s always someone who doesn’t like it.” — Imogen Cunningham

“A woman said to me when she first sat down, You’re photographing the wrong side of my face. I said, Oh, is there one?” — Imogen Cunningham

Photography quotes by Joe McNally

Joe McNally is an American photographer who has been shooting for the National Geographic Society since 1987. From 1994 to 1998 he was a staff photographer for Life magazine. Joe McNally is best known for his portraits of the Heroes of September 11th – “Faces of Ground Zero“.

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

“To me, pictures are about memory.” — Joe McNally

“The camera’s not a camera, really. It’s an open door we need to walk through. It’s up to us to keep moving our feet.” — Joe McNally

“A career in photography is a journey without a destination.” — Joe McNally

“The most important piece of equipment in your bag is your attitude.” — Joe McNally

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

“If you’re not having fun, your pictures will reflect that.” — Joe McNally

Photography quotes by Galen Rowell

Galen Rowell was a California-born photographer, adventure photojournalist and climber. He was never formally trained as a photographer. He photographed for himself, and to share the beauty of the wild with his friends.

“There is no question that photography has played a major role in the environmental movement.” — Galen Rowell

“I think landscape photography, in general, is somewhat undervalued.” — Galen Rowell

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.” — Galen Rowell

“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

“I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot’. My first thought is always of light.” — Galen Rowell

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

“There is no question that photography has played a major role in the environmental movement.” — Galen Rowell

“And most of my early pictures failed but about one in a 100 somehow looked better than what I saw.” — Galen Rowell

“We mountaineers always live with the feeling that we came on the scene too late.” — Galen Rowell

“Today, I’m very careful not to mention very specific locations when I write or give captions.” — Galen Rowell

Photography quotes by Harry Gruyaert

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Photography quotes by Harry Gruyaert

Harry Gruyaert is a Belgian photographer known for his use of colour in images of India, Morocco, Egypt, and western Ireland. He also won the Kodak Prize. Harry covered the Munich Olympics of 1972, the first Apollo flights, and is highly recognized for manipulating colours.

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

Photography quotes by Robert Adams

Robert Adams is an American photographer who has focused on the changing landscape of the American West. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, and the Hasselblad Award.

“We rely, I think, on landscape photography to make intelligible to us what we already know.” — Robert Adams

“For most people to be happy, there has to be a person, place, or thing involved in their happiness. In true happiness, there are no things involved. It’s a natural state. You will abide in that state forever.” — Robert Adams

“Do not look for signs. Do not look for experiences. Do not be so complicated. Become like a child. See everything with awe.” — Robert Adams

“The only burden you have ever had is your mind.” — Robert Adams

“The secret to peace-of-mind is to not identify with anything other than your true self.” — Robert Adams

“We cannot empty the mind by thinking. Only by observation.” — Robert Adams

Photography quotes by Florin Constantinescu

Florin Constantinescu is a wedding photographer from Romania.

“Everywhere is something which could be beautiful. You must only to see and to know what and how to take off, to crop from the infinity. Abstract, fine art, nature, landscape, and portrait photography.” — Florin Constantinescu

Photography quotes by August Sander

Born in Germany, August Sander was a landscape, nature, architecture, and street photographer, who was described as the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century.

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

Photography quotes by Gilles Peress

Gillies Peress is a French photographer mostly known for his examination of immigration in Europe. His project Hate Thy Brother looks at the intolerance and nationalism throughout the world and its consequences.

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

Photography quotes by Michael Kenna

This English photographer is best known for his unusual black & white landscapes featuring ethereal light by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours. This is the most famous photography quote by Michael Kenna:

“Everybody now has a camera, whether it is a professional instrument or just part of a phone. Landscape photography is a pastime enjoyed by more and more. Getting it right is not an issue. It is difficult to make a mistake with the sophisticated technology we now have. Making a personal and creative image is a far greater challenge.” — Michael Kenna

Photography quotes by Caroline Mueller

Caroline Mueller is a professional photographer from Dallas

“What I look for in pictures I take: eyes, hands, head tilt, body language, background and use of space.” — Caroline Mueller

“Photography is a calling that requires vigilance and alertness for that moment in time that only occurs once.” — Caroline Mueller

“I often wished I could capture and share the sudden moments of beauty that I would see all around me.” — Caroline Mueller

Photography quotes by Dorothea Lange

Best known for her Depression-era work for the FSA, Dorothea Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression.

Let’s learn something from this photography quote:

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” — Dorothea Lange

Photography quotes by Roger Kingston

Roger Kingston is a documentary photographer living in Boston. For over thirty years he worked for a variety of private and corporate clients.

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

Photography quotes by René Burri

René Burri was a Swiss photographer who photographed major political, historical, and cultural events and key figures of the 20th century. He made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso.

“My photography is the result of being there at the right moment.” — René Burri

“A photograph is a moment – when you press the button, it will never come back.” — René Burri

“My photography is the result of being there at the right moment.” — René Burri

“I lived and grew up in the black and white period of photojournalism.” — René Burri

“If you are truly successful in capturing the pulse of life, then you can speak of a good photograph.” — René Burri

“Everyone takes pictures, so you need to have your own opinion.” — René Burri

“One of these days, I’m going to publish a book of all the pictures I did not take. It is going to be a huge hit.” — René Burri

Photography quotes by Matt Hardy

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Photography quotes by Matt Hardy

Matt Hardy is a landscape and commercial photographer from England. He has a diverse portfolio full of stunning high-contrast landscape shots.

“Beauty can be seen in all things.” — Matt Hardy

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

Photography quotes by Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt is an American advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid photos of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings.

He created a pretentious alter ego, André S. Solidor (abb. “ass”), was awarded the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and an honorary fellowship.

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

Photography quotes by Destin Sparks

Destin Sparks is an award-winning landscape photographer, dedicated to capturing nature’s grandeur in an evocative, powerful way.

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

Photography quotes by Charlie Waite

Charlie Waite is an English landscape photographer noted for his “painterly” approach in using light and shade.

“A landscape image cuts across all political and national boundaries, it transcends the constraints of language and culture.” — Charlie Waite

Photography quotes by Robert Frank

Robert Frank was a Swiss photographer and documentary filmmaker, whose most notable book The Americans earned him comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville.

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

“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

Photography quotes by Robert Capa

Robert Capa was Hungarian-American was photographer and photojournalist. He is considered to be the greatest combat and adventure photographer in history. And as a part of his legacy, he left us with two lovely photography quotes.

“If your pictures are not good enough then you’re not close enough.” — Robert Capa

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

Photography quotes by Robert Mapplethorpe

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Photography quotes by Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer, best known for his black-and-white photographs. He has photographed a wide array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, and still-life images.

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

“If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.” — Robert Mapplethorpe

“With photography, you zero in; you put a lot of energy into short moments, and then you go on to the next thing.” — Robert Mapplethorpe

Photography quotes by Burk Uzzle

Burk Uzzle is an American photojournalist and a former president of Magnum Photos.

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

Photography quotes by Berenice Abbott

Berenice Abbott was an American photographer best known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s to 1960s.

“Photography helps people to see.” — Berenice Abbott

Photography quotes by Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus was an American photographer. She worked with a wide range of subjects including members of the LGBTQ+ community, strippers, carnival performers, nudists, dwarves, children, mothers, couples, elderly people, and middle-class families. She photographed her subjects in familiar settings: their homes, on the street, in the workplace, in the park.

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

Photography quotes by Unknown Authors

And to finish this list of most beautiful photography quotes, let’s list some whose creators were forgotten.

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” — Unknown

“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” — Unknown

“Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame.” — Unknown

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.” — Unknown

Conclusion

I hope that these photography quotes inspired you and refreshed your psyche, so you’ll be once again motivated to go out and create beautiful photos.

Which photography quote was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

– Matic

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and are based on my experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. This post may contain affiliate links.

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