So many of us love inspirational quotes, and I am no exception!  I especially love collecting quotes about photography.  They help motivate me when I am shooting or getting ready for a session.   Over time, I have complied a list of my favorite photography quotes.  I have one for every occasion it seems! Today, I wanted to share my favorite photography quotes with you. 

When I decided to type out my favorite photography quotes, it took me a while to figure out how to divide them up.  I find it easier to take in information and find what I am looking for if the information is sorted out in some way. In the end, I divided the quotes up into six categories: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, short quotes, time, composition, and inspirational. 

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Without further ado, Here is the list of my favorite photography quotes:

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams is a famous American photographer.  He was best known for his images of the American western wilderness.  He took many iconic images of what would later become Yosemite National Park.  If you get the chance to Google him and look at his pictures, please do!  Many other photographers have found inspiration in his work.

  1. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph – Ansel Adams
  2. You don’t take a photograph, you make it. – Ansel Adams
  3. A good photograph is knowing where to stand. – Ansel Adams
  4. The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance. – Ansel Adams

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson, as opposed to Ansel Adams, was a French photographer famous for his candid images of people.  Like Adams though, he was a brilliant photographer and said many quotable things.

  1. To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  2. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.  That is the moment the photographer is creative.  Oop!  The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  3. To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  4. ­ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Short Quotes

I also included a category for short quotes, because these are perfect for Instagram posts and stories (I tend to use these a lot when I am creating social media content in Canva).  They are also great if you are writing out a quote and are short on time. Or, if you are looking for something inspirational to writer in a card, there are some gems in here.

  1. Wherever there is light, one can photograph. – Alfred Stieglitz
  2. Photography is the story I fail to put into words. – Destin Sparks
  3. When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear. – Alfred Eisenstaedt
  4. The best camera is the one that’s with you. – Chase Jarvis
  5. Great photography is about depth of feeling, not depth of field. – Peter Adams
  6. If I could tell a story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera. – Lewis Hine
  7. The painter constructs, the photographer discloses. – Susan Sontag
  8. We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us – Ralph Hattersley
  9. Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images. – Helen Levitt
  10. A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it. – Edward Steichen
  11. I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs. – Wayne Miller
  12. If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff. – Jim Richardson


Most of my favorite photography quotes involve time.  One of the things that always drew me to photography was how time could hold still forever in one little frame.  The name of my business was inspired by this concept.

  1. The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do – Andy Warhol
  2. Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second. – Marc Riboud
  3. Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future – Sally Mann
  4. If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment. – Linda McCartney
  5. Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true. – Jacques-Henri Lartigue
  6. Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. – Dorothea Lange
  7. 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
  8. Taking pictures is savoring life intensely every hundredth of a second. – Marc Riboud
  9. Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. – Imogen Cunningham
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A lot of photography involves composition.  These quotes are a good reminder of this aspect.

  1. What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw material are time and light. – John Berger
  2. Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art – Ambrose Bierce
  3. 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
  4. 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


Let’s be honest, we love to be inspired! One of the reasons we collect quotes is to be inspired.  These ones are beautiful and do a great job of inspiring.

  1. It’s more important for a photographer to have very good shoes, than to have a very good camera. Sebastiao Salgado
  2. The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words. – Elliot Erwitt
  3. One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time. Annie Leibovitz
  4. No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. – Robert Adams
  5. I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse. – Diane Arbus
  6. My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport. – Steve McCurry
  7. Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location. – Joe McNally
  8. It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter. – Alfred Eisenstaedt

Thank you for visiting my post today!  I hope that you have found some inspiration in the list of my favorite photography quotes.  If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other work:

My Most Meaningful Nature Photos

Learning to Take Meaningful Photos