It might be easy to get inspiration from a photographer’s images, but the artist’s words can also be a great well of motivation. If you’re looking for that little push to get back to photography, or just want to read through what the masters have said, search no further.
Their images speak for themselves, but how much can you really know without a little look into their thoughts and processes?
Here, we give you 32 photography quotes to get you inspired to shoot. Get out there already!
“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no shortcuts in photography.”
– Edward Weston
“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
“Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph”
– Andre Kertesz
“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
“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.”
– Robert Frank
“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
Katie Thurmes – Photography quotes
“Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn’t look like somebody else’s work.”
– William Klein
“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
– Ansel Adams
“It’s important to take bad pictures. It’s the bad ones that have to do with what you’ve never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn’t seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again.”
– Diane Arbus
“If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph.”
– Bruce Gilden
“One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.”
– Dorothea Lange
“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
“If you photograph for a long time, you get to understand such things as body language. I often do not look at people I photograph, especially afterwards. Also when I want a photo, I become somewhat fearless, and this helps a lot. There will always be someone who objects to being photographed, and when this happens you move on.”
– Martin Parr
“A camera alone does not make a picture. To make a picture you need a camera, a photographer and above all a subject. It is the subject that determines the interest of the photograph.”
– Man Ray
“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
“After following the crowd for a while, I’d then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me.”
– Elliott Erwitt
“To me, photography must suggest, not insist or explain.”
“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
– Jim Richardson
“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
“A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.”
– Skyler Reid
“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.”
– John Berger
“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
– David Alan Harvey
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”
– Matt Hardy
“It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.”
– James Lalropui Keivom
“The golden rule is work fast. As for framing, composition, focus – this is no time to start asking yourself questions: you just have to trust your intuition and the sharpness of your reflexes.”
– Jacques-Henri Lartigue
“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
So there you have it, a slice into each of these photographers thoughts and approaches to photography.
Still stuck for inspiration? Check these articles out!
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