12 More Photography Quotes You Should Know

12 More Photography Quotes You Should Know

A couple of months ago here at DPS we ran a post with 10 photography quotes from famous photographers that photographers should know.

Below I’ll share more photography quotes worth knowing but first – one of our readers (Ryan Coleman) put together the 10 quotes into a more visual form:

Our previous article was really popular and one of the things that happened as a result of it was that readers went on to suggest a whole lot of other photography quotes that they thought were knowing.

Here’s a compilation of some of the best of those quotes that were submitted by readers (listed in no particular order):

  1. “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Peter Lindbergh (submitted by Brian)
  2. “The important thing is not the camera but the eye.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt (submitted by Beate)
  3. “There are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer” – Ansel Adams (submitted by Scott)
  4. “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson (submitted by Kelly Anne)
  5. “I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.” – Anonymous (submitted by Mei Teng)
  6. “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” – Robert Cappa (submitted by Eddy) (note: as Matt pointed out in comments, Robert Cappa sadly died from stepping on a land mine ‘It is possible to get too close!’
  7. “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 (submitted by Matt Needham)
  8. “Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at. This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing).” -Henri Cartier-Bresson (submitted by Matt Needham)
  9. “The word ‘art’ is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics.” -Manuel Alvarez Bravo (submitted by Matt Needham)
  10. “People say photographs don’t lie, mine do.” -David LaChapelle (submitted by Matt Needham)
  11. “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams (submitted by raisingladders)
  12. “You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus” – Mark Twain (submitted by dannyboy)

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • wayne hall May 13, 2012 01:42 pm

    "A Photograph tells a story without the use of words, a photographer writes the story with light..."

  • Mr Ec January 20, 2012 02:24 pm

    I think a comment should be a top quote:

    "The biggest change in my photography over the last several years came with me, not with my camera." Kristen@KKPhotography

  • Jay pagulayan October 3, 2011 07:05 am

    "It's not the camera,it's the cameraman" for me that's my quote..it just means that it doesn't mean that if you have a great camera,all of your photos are great too..even a simple point and shoot can capture a great photo

  • Tilen Hrovatic August 6, 2011 10:32 pm

    Awesome and really inspiring! I will surely print some of those and put them on my wall :)

  • serena July 9, 2010 03:39 am

    Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,and if the beholder happens to have a camera the outcome is a photograph

  • Loraine McCall January 16, 2010 05:00 am

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Loraine McCall

  • Latente November 9, 2009 09:16 pm

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

    Robert Adams

  • Niels October 20, 2009 07:18 am

    Some of my favorite quotes are:

    "The difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is that the amateur thinks the camera does the work. And they treat the camera with a certain amount of reverence. It is all about the kind of lens you choose, the kind of film stock you use... exactly the sort of perfection of the camera. Whereas, the professional - the real professional - treats the camera with unutterable disdain. They pick up the camera and sling it aside. Because they know it’s the eye and the brain that count, not the mechanism that gets between them and the subject that counts."
    -- David Hemmings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hemmings)

    "Remember that the person you are photographing is 50% of the portrait and you are the other 50%. You need the model as much as he or she needs you. If they don't want to help you, it will be a very dull picture."
    -- Lord Patrick Lichfield, British Royal Family Photographer (1939–2005)

  • Jess October 20, 2009 05:14 am

    Kaylee that is my favorite Ansel Adams quote also - I was surprised it didn't make either list...

  • MeiTeng October 17, 2009 03:06 pm

    Thanks for posting this up. Good to remind ourselves once in awhile. I like #7 alot!

    I know of someone who owns a slr camera and "attempt to be a photographer" but sadly lack the heart and passion for it. You can see the difference in someone who's has a heart and passion versus someone who does not have it.

  • Kaylee October 17, 2009 07:31 am

    Great quotes! ...I love all of Ansel Adams. This is one of my favorites that I don't think has been mentioned...

    “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
    -Ansel Adams

  • John October 17, 2009 06:44 am

    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
    Henry David Thoreau

  • LizKcer October 17, 2009 05:51 am

    ''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.”

    My Canon PowerShot SX100IS has some limits that are frustrating for me (like, the apperture only goes up to f8, when other cameras have f11, or higher). I have a lot of great ideas for shots, but with a simple point and shoot I can't get pro pictures....

  • Brian DeMint October 17, 2009 05:41 am

    The first quote needs to be attributed to Cecil Beaton and not Peter Lindbergh... my bad...


  • fas October 17, 2009 05:14 am

    Good photos come through the way you approach, now with a hi-fi cam.

  • Rob October 17, 2009 03:29 am

    Didn't Ansel Adams say "there are no rules for great photographs, there are only great photographs"?. Something like that.

  • Amy Rusk October 17, 2009 12:24 am

    These are all great quotes!! My favorite and the one I often use is by Aaron Siskind: " 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."

  • JbirdPhotography October 16, 2009 10:15 pm

    Love all of these!!! Especially Twain's (#10) and #5... I just explained a photo of mine on my flickr page.. whoops. I've got a ways to go! =)

  • Kristen@KKPhotography October 16, 2009 07:39 pm

    I LOVE these! People who read my frugal blog are forever asking me about my equipment, and sometimes that feels a slight bit insulting. The biggest change in my photography over the last several years came with me, not with my camera.

  • Jeff October 16, 2009 05:12 pm

    OK, sorry for not catching this sooner, but let's just use SexyNinjaMonkey's quote as the replacement. LOL! :-)

  • Jeff October 16, 2009 05:10 pm

    #5 of this top 12 is #8 of the former top 10. We need a replacement quote! ;-)

  • Jason Collin Photography October 16, 2009 03:00 pm

    #10 is funny and clever
    #5 has resonance
    #7 is true, I upgrade only once I find something specific my current body won't let me do (like shoot at 6+ fps for sports)
    #12 Twain is a quote machine

  • Magoony October 16, 2009 12:38 pm

    Quote #5 is a really good one, and getting better. It was #8 in the original article with 10 notable quotes.

  • Brandon Sapp October 16, 2009 12:24 pm

    Very good list. This may find a spot on my wall.

  • eric epie October 16, 2009 11:50 am

    Amateurs worry about equipment, Professionals worry about time, Masters worry about light :-D

  • Tika We October 16, 2009 11:27 am

    AWESOMEEE!!!! Two thumbs up for the quotes!! I love the 7th quotes, cuz my camera is soo old-school. LOL

  • SexyNinjaMonkey October 16, 2009 09:54 am

    Some great quotes, but you missed this quote from my mate Maxi: "Excuse me, my flash is broken... would you mind flashing for me?"

  • Tim October 16, 2009 08:49 am

    Love these quotes and the ones on the previous article.

  • Mandy October 16, 2009 07:15 am

    I love all these quotes, it's great to see the different ways in which people see photography...

  • tyler October 16, 2009 07:03 am

    Gary Winogrand says something to the effect of "I take photographs to see what something looks like as a photograph." I love that quote. He is a funny guy.

  • Carrie October 16, 2009 07:02 am

    "Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long."
    -- Walker Evans, in the text accompanying his subway portraits

  • djashish October 16, 2009 05:19 am

    well my quote is "A virtual development of frame in your mind much before it is developed on film or digital sensors " makes you a good photographer and sets you from the rest.

  • Andrew October 16, 2009 05:12 am

    Here's two quotes I enjoy from Man Ray:

    "Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask 'how', while others of a more curious nature will ask 'why'. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information."

    "I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence."

  • Tiffany October 16, 2009 05:11 am

    I also collected a few tips/quotes from Outside Magazine the September issue. That was an awesome issue focusing on photography. http://www.simplymodernmom.com/2009/09/learn-from-a-pro-outside-magazine/

  • Daniel October 16, 2009 04:37 am

    Robert Capa. Not Cappa

  • El October 16, 2009 03:39 am

    Great quotes. Thanks!

  • Dennyboy October 16, 2009 02:20 am

    last quote says Dannyboy, its Dennyboy but never mind i got a mention!

  • Kaj-Ivar October 16, 2009 01:51 am

    I love the last one! Very true.

  • Dean S. October 16, 2009 01:42 am

    My quote - "There's a photograph everywhere and it's the photographer's job to find it".