100 Famous Short Inspirational Photography Quotes

Inspiration comes in many forms for photographers, such as light falling on an object, the time of year, look on a person’s face and others.

Below is our list of 100 inspirational photography quotes along with images and links to their authors.  We hope this large list inspires you and makes you take a moment to reflect on your photography.  Pause after reading each one, study the image and let your mind do the rest.



They say an image is worth a thousand words, and these quotes from greats such as Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz and Dorothea Lange reveal the thoughts behind the images as well as the people.

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



2. “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



3. “What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”

Karl Lagerfeld



4. “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”

― Ansel Adams



5. “The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.”

Paul Strand



6. “A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.”

George Bernard Shaw



7. “I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.”

Nan Goldin



8. “Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.”

Seth Godin



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

Robert Capa



10. “Your first 1,000 photographs are your worst.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson



11. “When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt



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

Ambrose Bierce



13. “A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.”

Brigitte Bardot



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

Elliott Erwitt



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

Dorothea Lange



16. “To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.”

― Henri Cartier-Bresson



17. “Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.”

― Ansel Adams



18. “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



19. “I tend to think of the act of photographing, generally speaking, as an adventure. My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”

― Diane Arbus



20. “I know the best moments can never be captured on film, even as I spend nearly half my life trying to do just that.”

Rosie O’Donnell



21. “We are often taught to look for the beauty in all things, so in finding it, the layman asks the philosopher while the philosopher asks the photographer.”

Criss Jami



22. “Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field.”

Peter Adams



23. “No, you don’t shoot things. You capture them. Photography means painting with light. And that’s what you do. You paint a picture only by adding light to the things you see.”

Katja Michael



24. “One thing that struck me early is that you don’t put into a photograph what’s going to come out. Or, vice versa, what comes out is not what you put in.”

― Diane Arbus



25. “Photography is a magical kind of art that allows people to preserve time and moments, and to describe the world the way they see it.”

Sahara Sanders



26. “Unpredictability. Accidents. Not good when you’re engaging in, say, brain surgery, but when lighting…wonderful!”

Joe McNally



27. “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



28. “A photograph is a click away. A good photograph is a hundred clicks away and a better one, a thousand clicks away”

― Kowtham Kumar K



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

Peter Gasser



30. “That frame of mind that you need to make fine pictures of a very wonderful subject, you cannot do it by not being lost yourself.”

― Dorothea Lange



31. “The key is to integrate our art into our life, not the other way around.”

Brooks Jensen



32. “If these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it’s this… I was here! I existed! I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world… to take my picture.”

Robin Williams



33. “Actually, it’s nature itself that creates the most beautiful pictures, I’m only choosing the perspective.”

― Katja Michael



34. “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



35. “Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.”

―  Susan Sontag



36. “Capture the moment, that is all the miracle there is.”

Lailah Gifty Akita



37. “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”

David Alan Harvey



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

— Scott Lorenzo



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



40. “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



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

Lewis Hine



42. “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”

– Susan Sontag



43. “A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye.”

Roger Kingston



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

Sally Mann



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

Wynn Bullock



46. “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



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

Imogen Cunningham



48. “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



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

— Dorothea Lange



50. “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”

― Henri Cartier-Bresson



51. “Photograph the world as it is. Nothing’s more interesting than reality.”

— Mary Ellen Mark



52. “Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true.”

— Jacques-Henri Lartigue



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

Orson Welles



54. “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



55. “I think of photography like therapy.”

Harry Gruyaert



56. “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



57. “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



58. “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



59. “Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”

Destin Sparks



60. “Photography is a love affair with life.”

Burk Uzzle



61. “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



62. “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



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

Ralph Hattersley



64. “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



65. “Photography has nothing to do with cameras.”

– Lucas Gentry



66. “It is no accident that the photographer becomes a photographer any more than the lion tamer becomes a lion tamer.”

― Dorothea Lange



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

Joe Buissink



68. “Essentially what photography is is life lit up.”

Sam Abell



69. “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


70. “Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.”

Percy W. Harris


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

Alfred Stieglitz



72. “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



73. “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



74. “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



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

Collin Pierson



76. “A photograph is memory in the raw.”

– Carrie Latet



77. “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



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

Marc Riboud



79. “Only photograph what you love.”

Tim Walker



80. “A camera is just a tool, and you’re a tool if you’re worried about what camera you are using.”

Jon Luvelli



81. “The camera does not make the photographer, it’s the eye that sublimates the image.”

― Dominique Hanneuse



82. “Only a Photographer can stop the time. Just by one click.”

Biju Karakkonam



83. “From a good photo, sun rays impinge on your eyes; water drips into your hands; the smell of grass comes to your nose! A good photo is real like the reality itself!”

Mehmet Murat ildan



84. “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



85. “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



86. “You don’t need beautiful weather to enjoy the nature. You only need a beautiful heart.”

― Biju Karakkonam



87. “A beautiful photograph is a poem.”

― Biju Karakkonam



88. “Photography’ means painting with light, and doing it increases your understanding of light and your ability to see and appreciate it.”

Meik Wiking



89. “The good photo settles in your eye; the better photo settles in your mind, but the best photo settles in your heart!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan



90. “Cameras miniaturize experience, transform history into spectacle.”

― Susan Sontag



91. “The best photo of the day is photo of a kind heart.”

Amit Ray



92. “Photography is inspired by beauty, captured with passion.”

― Destin Sparks



93. “A photograph is a cipher for which we consult our own code books.”

Tom Ang



94. “There is always a good-timing in every great photo!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan



95. “A photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.”

― Susan Sontag



96. “Photographers are history makers. Every picture is a moment which is gone forever and can’t be reshot.”

― Biju Karakkonam



97. “The beauty of Photography is not in what you see, its art lies in your dreams.”

― Biju Karakkonam



98. “I don’t need a day to celebrate as world photography day. As a photographer for me every day is photography day.”

― Biju Karakkonam



99. “There is nothing like capturing the moment.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita



100. “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


Well there you have it, 100 inspirational photography quotes.  We hope you were as inspired reading them as we were putting this list together.

Check out the following link for 100 amazing examples of light painting photography.

By Nicholas

Nicholas is a staff writer at Photodoto. His interests include photography, collecting cameras old and new, video editing, and all things 3d. If a new gadget comes out on the market, he's sure to be the first to try it. He enjoys experimenting with low light photography, very long exposures and high speed filming.


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