Looking for travel photography quotes that’ll instruct, motivate, and inspire?
In this article, I share my top 25 favorite quotes for travel photographers of all stripes, including beginners, hobbyists, and even professionals. I’ve tried to include a mix of sources, so while some of the quoted photographers are classic travel shooters, others are much more contemporary.
I encourage you to read each quote carefully. Think about what it means. Then pick your favorites, write them down (or memorize them!), and try to apply them to your own photography on a regular basis.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best travel photography quotes in 2022, starting with some absolute classics.
1.“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things in words.” – Elliott Erwitt
Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt notes that a photo can offer a visual for a subject that can’t (or shouldn’t) be explained. In essence, an image can provide description when words fail; it can also lead to better reactions, emotions, and thoughts.
2. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Frederick Barnard
This classic quote was reportedly first used by Frederick R. Barnard in Printer’s Ink magazine way back in 1921. Barnard was arguing that graphics can tell a story as effectively as descriptive text, and as admirers of National Geographic know, that’s still true today.
3. “You can always take a great photo – no matter what the conditions.” – Steve Davey
This quote comes from Travel Photography, a comprehensive guide written by Steve Davey, master of the craft. Davey is suggesting that while a photoshoot might not quite live up to your expectations, you can always achieve a unique image (even if it’s not a fine-art print destined for the wall).
4. “Travel photography is really a way of life: a way of traveling” – Steve Davey
This is another classic from Steve Davey; here, he’s speaking to the way that travel photography trips involve spending most of your time capturing places and experiencing new cultures. Getting out there to see and embrace the world is all part of the life of a travel photographer!
5. “Travel and photography have always been intertwined. I think we have such a brief amount of time in this world that I can’t think of a better use of it than to travel, to photograph the world, to experience life in different places. To me, there’s nothing more important than that.” – Steve McCurry
This quote, from photography legend Steve McCurry, highlights the very essence of travel photography. At root, it’s about experiencing the world and capturing its unique and wonderful elements.
6. “Being in the right place at the right time is, of course, the prime essential of all photography.” – David Noton
Noton’s statement simply highlights the importance of being there – after searching and finding a location to photograph and capturing the scene when the light is right. The location could be anywhere: A familiar place that you’ve captured before, a landscape in a far-off land, or some unexplored local area.
7. “Never stop looking. No matter where you are, there are good photographs.” – Art Wolfe
You don’t need to trek to the ends of the earth to create a special travel photo. All you need is a bit of luck; some magical light or even a rainbow can transform a boring, local landscape into a breathtaking scene.
Additional quotes for travel photographers
Need additional inspiration? Here are a few additional travel photography quotes to get those creative juices flowing:
8. “Most of the information we now get is through television and is mutilated. Photography offers the opportunity to spend much more time on a topic. It’s a relatively cheaper medium and can allow a photographer really to live in another place, show another reality, get closer to the truth.” – Sebastiao Salgado
9. “A traveler seeks engagement with the local people and culture, while a sightseer just checks off sights in the guidebook. A sightseeing photographer stands apart from the culture, snapping pictures at a distance. A travel photographer becomes involved with his or her surroundings and the people; the resulting pictures become more intimate.” – Jim Richardson
10. “Having a camera around your neck gives you a good excuse to be nosy.” – Martin Parr
11. “The earth is art; the photographer is only a witness.” – Yann Arthus-Bertrand
12. “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” – Steve McCurry
13. “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams
14. “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” – David Allan Harvey
15. “Photography isn’t about just pushing that button. It’s about the experience of being there.” – Don McCullin
16. “If I go to a place, it’s not to record what is going on only. It’s to try and have a picture which concretizes a situation in one glance and which has the strong relations of shapes. And when I go to a country, well, I’m hoping always to get that one picture about which people will say, “Ah, this is true. You felt it right.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
17. “The most valuable things in life are a man’s memories. And they are priceless.” – Andre Kertesz
18. “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” – Diane Arbus
19. “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams
20. “I think of myself as an explorer who has spent his life on a long voyage of discovery.” – Paul Strand
In this final section, I share a handful of oft-repeated quotes. While they generally don’t have a clear author, they’re certainly relevant to travel photographers!
21. “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
22. “Always say yes to new adventures.”
23. “Only going places that spark joy.”
24. “Keep calm and travel on.”
25. “Life is not meant to be in one place.”
The best travel photography quotes: final words
Whether you’re just starting out in travel photography or are a seasoned pro, I hope you found some of the quotes in this article useful. The next time you’re about to head out on a trip or you hit a creative rut, remember these quotes – and let them guide you in your photography!
Now over to you:
Which of these quotes is your favorite? Do you have any additional travel photography quotes that you love? Share your thoughts in the comments below!