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45 inspiring photography quotes

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by David Em
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Photography is more than taking a picture. It portrays stories, evokes emotions, and documents. Get inspired by 45 photography quotes.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Selective focus on a camera lens while a person is taking a photo in the city.

Whether you’re a photographer looking for a social media caption or wanting inspiration, the following are the best and most inspiring photography quotes.

Related: 25 famous portrait photographers you need to know

Some are more than a century old from famous photographers, like Henri Cartier-Bresson, while others are from today’s photographers, such as Destin Sparks. You’ll love reading photography quotes.

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

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

3. “Most of my photos are grounded in people, I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face.” – Steve McCurry

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

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

6. “You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery. You can show things that you like about the universe, things that you hate about the universe. It’s capable of doing both.” – Gordon Parks

7. “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.” – Dorothea Lange

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

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

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

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

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

13. “You should be able to look at me and see my work. You should be able to look at my work and see me.” – Roy DeCarava

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

15. “Photography is a very subtle thing. You must let the camera take you by the hand, as it were, and lead you into your subject.” – Margaret Bourke-White

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

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

18. “To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag

19. “Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” – Berenice Abbott

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

21. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

22. “Make pictures, the rest will work itself out.” – Randal Ford

23. “For me it is not a detachment to take a picture. It’s a way of touching somebody—it’s a caress, I think that you can actually give people access to their own soul.” – Nan Goldin

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

25. “For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

26. “I don’t invent anything. I imagine everything… most of the time, I have drawn my images from the daily life around me. I think that it is by capturing reality in the humblest, most sincere, most everyday way I can, that I can penetrate to the extraordinary.” – Brassaï

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

28. “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

29. “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

30. “To me photography must suggest, not insist or explain.” – Brassaï

31. “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

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

33. “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

34. “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

35. “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.” – Geroge Eastman

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

37. “Traditionally, photography is supposed to capture an event that has passed; but that is not what I’m looking for. Photography brings the past into the present when you look at it.” – Julian Schnabel

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

39. “Black and white means photography to me. It’s much easier to take a good color photograph, but you can get more drama into a black and white one.” – Astrid Kirchherr

40. “The way that light hits objects, I think, is one of the more important things that sculpture and photography share.” – Rashid Johnson

41. “I think that’s the strength of photography – to decide the decisive moment, to click in the moment to come up with a picture that never comes back again.” – René Burri

42. “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

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

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

45. “Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” – Annie Leibovitz

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Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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