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10 Photography Quotes to Change the Way You Shoot

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Introduction to Photography Quotes

There’s a lot to be learnt from the people who have come before you and these quotes have come from some of the most famous names in photography.
They look at the way we live and act with our cameras provide insight as to what we have to do to become good at what we love.
These quotes are so well put together that you’ll wonder why you never thought of them yourself.

Quotes

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

There aren’t really many rules that apply to photography but, if you’re serious about wanting to improve, this is definitely one to follow.
The more you practice your photography, the better you’ll become.
You start to see the world differently. Instead of just seeing everything, you begin to picture it as though you had your camera on you. That’s when you start to get good.

“The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” – Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams sums up the state of photography beautifully, and he did so way before it got so bad.
With the advent of cheap DSLR’s, it has become easy for anybody to take superficial, cliche images of their flowers, pets and sunsets, and call them photographs. This isn’t so bad for your first day with your camera but, if you’re under the impression that this is good photography, you’re going to be lost for creativity.Close up photograph of flowers

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

Unfortunately, a good camera does not make you a photographer; clicking away won’t make a photograph.
If you were to take this quote literally, you’d be missing the point entirely. Anyone can pick up a camera and take a photo but it takes a photographer to pick up the camera and make a photograph.
It takes time and effort to be able to produce something that you would want to call a photograph.

“There will be times when you will be in the field without a camera.  And, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed.  Don’t be bitter because you can’t record it.  Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is!” – DeGriff

If you use your camera as much as I do, or you’re just getting started and you’re really enthusiastic, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of wishing you had your camera on you.
These days, it’s too easy to become so busy capturing life to enjoy later that you don’t experience nearly so much of it. If you haven’t got your camera on you, learn to be able to relax and enjoy a situation.

“I find the single most valuable tool in the darkroom is my trash can.” – John Sexton

The secret to putting together a good portfolio is to be picky about the images that you share, whether it’s just on Facebook or through a personal website.
If I shoot 500 photos, I’ll be lucky to come out with say… 25 that I want to actually share, and maybe 2 (if I’m lucky) that I would call good.
The more you shoot, the longer you’ll end up looking at how to improve a shot which leads to a lot of misses but, eventually, better photos.
This isn’t to say that I delete photos because I don’t any more but it does mean that very few people will ever see them.

“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

I’ve stressed this belief for a long time now because people wonder how photographers get such good photos.
The answer is simple – they use their cameras.
Sure, they’ve had a lot of practice to gain technique and consistency but that’s only half of it – they actually use their cameras to take great photos. If you only use your camera once every couple of months, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re not getting the photos you strive for.

“It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get. – Timothy Allen

As a photographer who plays around with a lot of long exposures, this quote rings especially true for me.
It takes so long to produce these photos that, to actually get to a photo I’m happy with, it takes a long time. Then, when I’m shooting at much faster shutter speeds and capture a moment just right, I’m often surprised by how easy it was.
Some of my favourite photos are shot on film. These are photos that I take quickly and frugally, not wanting to recompose and expose another very similar photo. They are easy photos to take and provide some of my best results.Photo of a young woman sitting on a leather couch with a young man sitting next to her and looking at her

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

To be honest with you, I could have put together a top 10 list of quotes from Ansel Adams himself because he was full of great advice. It’s not the camera (contrary to what Nikon’s Facebook page might tell you) but the photographer who’s the important part.
Start thinking like a photographer and your photos will come out like a photographer’s.

“Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn’t photogenic.” – Edward Weston

This sarcastic remark reminds us all of the times where we’ve wanted to take an awesome photo of something but have been too lazy to make the effort, resulting in amazingly beautiful locations going uncaptured.
Whether it’s a landscape photo from the top of a mountain or a photo of some trees in a park, the observation remains the same – if you want to take good photos, you have to get out there.Photo of green pastures from above

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

I teach composition on this website because, even though a lot of readers aren’t interested, I know that it’s one of the most important factors in taking great photos.
The basic rules of composition are great to learn if you want to take better photos but, as Ansel Adams says, there are no real rules here, only suggestions. Just learning composition does not provide you with a formula for taking great photos, you have to interpret it yourself to create something brilliant.
Photo of a young man with a rule of thirds grid on top of it

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4 comments
  1. Very well written article and lots of reminders for experienced photographers and pointers for new ones. My favorite one is the 10,000 shots .
    Thanks you for the inspiration (and validation!)

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