Photography Quotes and Phrases To Inspire You

a board with writing saying i love photography

Reading some of the best photography quotes is a great way to find some new inspiration for your passion. 

Whether you’re stuck in an artistic slump and seeking new ideas, or you’re looking for photography quotes for your Instagram captions, check out this list as it provides lots of possibilities to spark your creativity. 

This article lists the most well-known photography quotes for motivating a photographer.

There are so many photography phrases from famous photographers in different photography genres. 

Are you a photographer looking for quotes?

This list will include all different types, from street, nature, funny, and family photo quotes.

This collection is sure to have a quote that suits your needs.

At a glance, here are the different types of photography quotes that will be covered in this guide; click a link to jump ahead to the type of photo quotes you require.

Ready for some photography inspiration? Let’s get to it!

Best photography quotes 

With so many photography quotes to choose from, it was tough to select just a few of the best photo quotes. The best quotes for a photographer should be suited to all skill levels, from beginners to experts!

The most memorable photography phrases of all time have provided many photographers of all abilities with inspiration.

These are definitely a top choice if you are wanting to use photography quotes for Instagram captions.

arthur brisbane photography quotes

“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” 

— Bruno Barbey quote

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

— Elliott Erwitt quote

“Photography helps people to see.”

— Berenice Abbott quote

“We don’t take pictures with cameras; we take them with our hearts and minds.”

— Arnold Newman quote

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

— Destin Sparks quote

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

 — Confucius quote

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” 

— Arthur Brisbane quote

Famous photography quotes

When it comes to famous photography quotes, our minds drift to the endless inspiring quotes by famous photographers such as Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange.

Or perhaps a famous Robert Frank quote or a motivating Henri Cartier-Bresson quote.

The photography industry is lucky to have so many iconic photographers that have shared their wisdom with us over the years. Their words have helped inspire a new generation of enthusiastic photographers.

Check out the famous photographers you should know if you haven’t already for further photography inspiration.

So if you’re a photographer looking for quotes then here are just a few famous photography quotes from some of the greatest creators that you should know.

Ansel Adams quote

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.”

— Robert Frank quote

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

— Ansel Adams quote

“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 quote

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

— Ansel Adams quote

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

— Yousuf Karsh quote

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”

— Ansel Adams quote

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

— Dorothea Lange quote

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

— Ansel Adams quote

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

― Dorothea Lange quote

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

— Ansel Adams quote

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”

— Ansel Adams quote

Inspirational photography quotes

These top inspiring photography quotes provide insights into the thoughts of successful photographers.

They help us perceive the world in new ways and educate us how to approach the art of photography. They also provide encouragement and assistance to new photographers just starting in this exciting industry.

photo phrases andre kertesz

“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 quote

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

— Imogen Cunningham quote

“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 quote

“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.”

— Edward Weston quote

“You know, I really don’t think you learn from teachers. You learn from work. I think what you learn, really, is how to be – you have to be your own toughest critic, and you only learn that from work, from seeing work.”

— Garry Winogrand quote

Photography has the capacity to provide images of man and his environment that are both works of art and moments in history.

 — Cornell Capa quote

“All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.”

 — Elliott Erwitt quote

“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 quote

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

— Kowtham Kumar K quote

“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 quote

“Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph”

— Andre Kertesz quote

Nature photography quotes

Nature photographers are often motivated by the natural environment around them, but photography quotes can also be a great source of inspiration.

If you want to use photography quotes for Instagram captions on your best nature images, the phrases below are an excellent choice. 

Once these quotes have motivated you check out these best wildlife photography cameras!

The perfect quotes for a nature photographer include:

nature photography quotes shakespeare

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

— Albert Einstein quote

 “Nature always wears the colours of the spirit.” 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

“Keep your love of nature, for that, is the true way to understand art more and more” 

— Vincent Van Gogh quote

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

“By discovering nature, you discover yourself.” 

— Maxime Lagacé quote

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” 

— Gary Snyder quote

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”

— William Shakespeare quote

Portrait photography quotes

If you want to take your portraiture to the next level, or if you’re simply curious about the skills and attitude of expert portrait photographers, check out these best portrait photo quotes.

These are also great photography quotes to use as captions for your Instagram portrait portfolio.

Here are the perfect quotes for a portrait photographer:

robert capa picture inspiration

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

— Imogen Cunningham quote

“In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody.”

— Henri Cartier-Bresson quote

“For me, a portrait is something from which you feel the person, their inner quality, what it is that makes them who they are. For instance, in the hand of the Dalai Lama donning his prayer beads in the window light; you feel his spirituality, his sense of presence. Frequently, the most interesting people to photograph are elderly. George Wallace, Bukowski, William Burroughs, Rauschenberg, Mandela. They’ve lived their lives. It’s all in their face, and it shows.”

— Herb Ritts quote

“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 quote

“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 quote

“When a portrait evokes a feeling, then you’ve got something. Technique isn’t really important. What I want is a believable moment.”

— Bert Stern quote

“A good portrait ought to tell something of the subject’s past and suggest something of his future.”

— Bill Brandt quote  

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

— Robert Capa quote

Funny photography quotes

If you’ve been a photographer for any length of time, you’ve probably heard more photography-related jokes than you’d want to admit.

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert photographer, these funny photography quotes will make you chuckle and realise we’ve all been through similar experiences!

quotes for a photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson

“ There are no bad photographs. That’s just how your face looks sometimes.” 

— Abraham Lincoln quote

“The rarest thing in the world is a woman who is pleased with a photograph of herself.” 

— Elizabeth Metcalf quote

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

— Diane Arbus quote

“People say photographs don’t lie, mine do.”

— David LaChapelle quote

“A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel.”

— Peter Adams quote

“Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.”

— Stephen Wright quote

“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 quote

“Photography is pretty simple stuff. You just react to what you see, and take many, many pictures.”

— Elliott Erwitt quote

“Of course, it’s all luck.”

— Henri Cartier-Bresson quote

Street photography quotes

Street photography is a type of photography that captures ordinary life in a public setting. As a street photographer, you can capture candid photographs of strangers, usually without their knowledge, resulting in some of the most fascinating images.

These street photography quotes capture the essence of what street photography represents.

These point and shoot cameras are perfect for getting you started with street photography!

The perfect quotes for a street photographer include:

gordon parks photographer quotations

“If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.”

— Bruce Gilden quote

“I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heat of the known awaits just around the corner.”

— Alex Webb quote

“Street Photography is like fishing. Catching the fish is more exciting than eating it…“

— Thomas Leuthard quote

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

— Andy Warhol quote

“It’s not how a photographer looks at the world that is important. It’s their intimate relationship with it.”

— Antoine D’Agata quote

“When I use the camera, I often feel like I know part of the people or places I come in contact with.”

— Christophe Agou quote

“The subject matter is so much more important than the photographer.“

— Gordon Parks quote

Film photography quotes

Film photography is becoming more popular. Some photographers are returning to this traditional photographic technique in order to recognise that film is a more organic means of shooting.

It allows you to slow down, concentrate on getting the shot, and wait for the results. These film photography quotes are perfect for Instagram captions when posting old film photos. 

If you’re feeling inspired to shoot on a film camera here are the best film cameras available right now!

The perfect quotes for a film photographer include: 

photo quotes by theodore levitt

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

— Robert Adams quote

“The world just does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.” 

— W. Eugene Smith quote

“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 quote

“I don’t think that digital photography is romantic yet. It’s not sympathetic the way that film is.”

— Matthew Modine quote

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

— Theodore Levitt quote

Short photography quotes

If you’re looking for short and snappy photography quotes for your Instagram captions, here is a roundup of some of the best short photo quotes. 

With only a few words, these may have just as much power, and create just as much photography inspiration as some of the longer photography phrases on this post.

short photographer quotes harry gruyaert

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

— Henri Cartier-Bresson quote

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

— Jim Richardson quote

“A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.”

— Skyler Reid quote

“Photography is a love affair with life.”

— Burk Uzzle quote

“It is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.” 

— Robert Frank quote

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.” 

– Ansel Adams quote

“I think of photography like therapy.”

— Harry Gruyaert quote

Black and white photo quotes

Creating great black and white images usually entails more than simply converting a colour shot to grayscale. It is critical to recognise which scenes function better in black and white than in colour.

If you’re looking for great photography captions for a black and white photo, look no further. Here you’ll find the best black and white photography quotes, perfect for Instagram!

The perfect quotes for a black and white photographer include:

picture motivation quotations

“My experience of learning in the darkroom with black-and-white film had limitations that were helpful. There were fewer choices. When digital came along, I didn’t jump into it. But it was obvious that this is what was going to be. If you do this for a long time, everything changes.”

— Annie Leibovitz quote

“Black and white are the colours of photography. To me they symbolise the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected” 

— Robert Frank quote

“To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul” 

— Andri Cauldwell quote

“Colour is everything, black and white is more.” 

– Dominic Rouse quote

“Black and white photography erases time from the equation.” 

– Jason Peterson quote

“Good black and white photography is not about the removal of colour!” 

– Rob Sheppard quote

“It’s an obvious opportunity for black and white when a scene contains little colour but lots of texture.” 

– John Beardsworth quote

When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!

— Ted Grant quote

“Colour is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”

— Elliott Erwitt quote

Family photo quotes

Photography quotes can be really helpful if you’re a photographer who specialises in family photography, as it can be difficult to keep thinking of new captions for your Instagram images. 

These photo quotes are ideal for reflecting on memories made during family photo sessions, encouraging you to spend quality time with your own family members, and highlighting the significance of capturing family life because tomorrow is not always certain.

The perfect quotes for a family photographer include:

photography quotes for instagram photography captions

“It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our life that matters.” 

– J.M. Laurence quote

“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” 

– Og Mandino quote

“If you don’t think photos are important, wait until they’re all you have left.” 

– Missy Mwac quote

“We didn’t realise we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun.” 

– A. A. Milne quote

“Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children.” 

– Charles Swindoll quote

“You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they will be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Just breathe, notice, study their faces and little feet. Pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today. It will be over before you know it.” 

– Jen Hatmaker quote

“A photograph keeps a moment from running away” 

– Eudora Welty quote

Photoshoot quotes

As photographers, we occasionally want photography inspiration before embarking on a photoshoot. 

This collection of photo quotes was selected with the photoshoot process in mind.

Some are from the photographer’s point of view, while others are from the subjects. 

A top lighting kit is a great addition to make your photoshoot really pop!

Remember, all quotes aside, it’s also essential to think about how your subject is feeling throughout a photoshoot; it’s your responsibility as the photographer to put them at ease.

photography quotes for instagram photography captions david alan harvey

“In a photo shoot, you have to be very comfortable in your own skin. It’s all about confidence-boosting and putting on armour.” 

– Adelaide Clemens quote

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

– Alfred Stieglitz quote

“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you`re not out there, you`ll only hear about it.” 

– Jay Maisel quote

“If you can see it, you can shoot it.” 

– Ted Grant quote

“Don`t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” 

– David Alan Harvey quote

Photo editing quotes

Some would argue that in a digital world, photo editing is equally as significant as capturing photos.

These photo quotes were selected to provide photography inspiration as you edit your images. They are also great options for photography quotes for your Instagram captions.

nature photography quotes robert heinecken

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

Ansel Adams quote

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

– Peter Adams quote

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

– Jen Rozenbaum quote

“If Photoshop is the answer, you’re asking the wrong question”

– Dean Farrell quote

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

– August Sander quote

“To receive footage that has been shot with editing in mind, it is a blessing.” 

– Thelma Schoonmaker quote

“The less the camera is able to capture what you’re seeing in a scene, the more editing it needs.”

– Tom Anderson quote

“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”

– Henri Cartier-Bresson quote

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

– Robert Heinecken quote

Photography life quotes

Photography allows us to capture our life’s journey. Capturing photos can also be used to learn about oneself. Whether you are a professional photographer or a hobbyist, documenting our surroundings can fuel our creativity and help us manage our mental health. 

In a number of ways, photography may improve the quality of your life. This collection of photography quotes reflects photographers’ opinions and how photography has influenced their life.

photography phrases jay maisel

“Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure.”

 – Harry Callahan quote

“Photography is an itch that won’t go away. No matter how much you scratch it.”

 – Dara McGrath quote

“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely every hundredth of a second.” 

– Mark Riboud quote

“Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference” 

― Robert Frank quote

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

– Berenice Abott quote

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

– Ansel Adams quote

“Only photograph what you love.”

 – Tim Walker quote

“I think of photography like therapy.”

 – Harry Gruyaert quote

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

– Steve McCurry quote

“Photography is an act of love.” 

 – Jay Maisel quote

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” 

– Ansel Adams quote

Final thoughts

It was tough to narrow down this list because there are so many photography phrases from renowned photographers.

If you were looking for street, film, nature, portrait or funny photography quotes, this collection of photo quotes should have something for you.

Hopefully, this article has motivated you to get back out there and start shooting again.

Go ahead and use your favourite photography quotes for your next Instagram captions to inspire others to pick up a camera too! 

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

nine gray and black land cameras for Ansel Adams quote

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