10 Photography Quotes that Every Photographer Should Know

10 Photography Quotes that You Should Know


In this post Hákon Ágústsson shares some great photography quotes and explains why they’re worth knowing.

Take note of and remember the following photography quotes. It’s always worthwhile to learn from masters.

“The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated in quotations”. – Benjamin Disraeli

photography quotes - ansel-adams.jpg 1. “ You don’t take a photograph, you make it. – Ansel Adams

Full awareness of what makes a good photo is essential in taking great photographs.

Why would anyone be interested in this photo and what elements can be included or excluded to make it truly great?

photography quotes henri-cartier-bresson.jpg2. “ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Do you know how many photos you have taken up until now? You will have to take thousands of pictures to reach a point where you can begin to evaluate them objectively. Looking upon your photos as if you were looking at them through someone else’s eyes is a good way to give yourself constructive criticism. Comparing your first photos with your most recent, do you see improvement? Do you remember how you loved some of your first photos – do you still love them or are they now not so good anymore?

3. “ Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph. – Matt Hardy

You often don’t or can’t see beauty in the world until someone shows it to you. Take a look around you just now – even without moving from the computer. Can you see something in a new way, a different way of presenting something common? Just take a look again…

photography quotes erwitt.jpg4. “ Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment. – Elliott Erwitt

When the world is your canvas, so to speak, you need your tools with you to capture everything around you. Make a habit of always carrying a camera with you—you will never suffer the regret of wishing you had.

photography quotes imogen.jpg5. “ Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. – Imogen Cunningham

Never be fully satisfied with what you’ve done.

Never stop photographing. It is very likely that your best photograph has not yet been captured.

allard.jpg6. “ You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper. – William Albert Allard

We are always looking for reasons for not taking good pictures. Cartier-Bresson used film camera, same lens, no flash, same shutter speed – he didn’t need the newest digital equipment to take great photos.

We all have access to some subjects that no one else has access to – look at your friends’ hobbies, the workplaces of friends and family, and any place you have access to to find a vision that comes uniquely from your access. Many people would dream of having the same access you have, and you might not have considered how valuable your access is.

200px-garry_winogrand.jpg 7. “ If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up. – Garry Winogrand

How often have you seen a photo that is missing something, thinking, “This is a good photo but I’d make it different somehow.”? Sometimes small things make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to shake things up.

8. “ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good. – Anonymous

Sometimes it is interesting to hear the story behind the photo and you see the photo in a new light. But in most cases a photo shouldn’t need a story to back it up. It has to speak for itself.

ansel-adams.jpg9. “ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. – Ansel Adams

Even one of the masters in photography, Ansel Adams, didn’t expect to get more than 12 great photographs each year.

How can anyone expect more?

Take a look at your last year in photos – do you really see 12 photos that stand out from the rest?

timothy-allen.jpg10. “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 – On editing photos

Editing photos can often be the most difficult but also the most satisfying part. Sometimes taking a quick look at all the photos and then going away for a while before taking a closer look lends a fresh eye to your viewing. You may see things you did not notice previously. Stepping away from the mass of photos can make certain images stand out in your mind’s eye, leaving a memorable impression that can characterize a good photo.

What photography quotes do you think everyone should know?

Check out more of Hákon’s work at PhotoQuotes.com and www.Imageree.com.

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Some Older Comments

  • Rick 2 August 2, 2013 12:25 pm

    Why doI use auto mode so much, you may ask?? Because the moment I see is so fleeting, it may be gone by the time I set everthing up.... Shoot for what you see, you may never see it again.

  • Bob Davies July 31, 2013 06:54 pm

    The best photo you take is the one when the camera is in your hand

  • Pedro Mendes July 20, 2013 01:21 am

    Here's my top 10 quotes. My blog changed servers, that's why I'm re-commenting :)


  • arjun July 14, 2013 09:11 pm

    i want to become a best photographer and these quotes help me lot

  • Tony Sullivan July 4, 2013 03:19 pm

    I also really do like some of the follow up quotes and comments. This is a good group to be around.

  • Tony Sullivan July 4, 2013 02:35 pm

    It's really good to see something that speaks to the philosophy of photography rather than the technique.

  • Cristian July 4, 2013 12:33 am

    “When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
    Robert Frank

  • Paul Keske July 3, 2013 10:49 pm

    "Photography is a transformation, not a reproduction." Ernst Haas

    The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.

    ~Ernst Haas - Comment in workshop, 1985

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  • saneesh May 31, 2013 02:19 am

    Terrific! Thanks for helping me get out of my “photo block” mode. I’m heading out to try b&w for a month.

  • Teru Kage January 23, 2013 02:58 pm

    My 2 most used quotes"

    "It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see"

    "Photography is about spending time with your hands on a camera, not a mouse"

  • spence cater December 15, 2012 02:52 am

    The most important question any photographer needs to ask themselves is: Why am I taking this picture?

  • Pedro Mendes December 1, 2012 05:51 am

    Here is my current Top 10

  • Roy August 5, 2012 07:04 am

    You only live once and to capture a second in image is to have the moment for live. One life capture it

  • Tom August 3, 2012 02:21 am

    My favorite quote:
    "The negative is the score; the print is the performance."
    Ansel Adams

  • Bill Michaud August 2, 2012 10:37 pm

    My two absolute favorites (but I don't know who said them):

    "F/16 and be there."
    "Get close, then get closer"

  • Phyllis August 2, 2012 09:46 pm

    "You can take a good photo of anything.A bad one, too."

  • Jbey August 2, 2012 05:51 pm

    "Don't take the shot until you can see the whites of their eyes!" - Colonel William Prescott

  • ccting August 2, 2012 05:10 pm

    Now i would make my own quote that makes everyone cries
    - You just have to go through theoretical, conceptual and practical level in order to capture decent moments everytime you click the shutter button, and not by luck.

    LOL>.. ;)

  • Joanne August 2, 2012 05:09 pm

    David Bailey "Everyone looks but it takes a long time to see".

  • ccting August 2, 2012 04:53 pm

    “ You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper. – William Albert Allard

    This is what i love to hear.

  • ccting August 2, 2012 04:52 pm

    I would REmove quote by Anonymous to out of list. You have to explain good photo.

  • Emery July 30, 2012 03:07 pm

    "Life is once. Forever."
    - Henri Cartier-Bresson

  • Jeanne May 31, 2012 03:49 am

    Ansel Adams: Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.

  • fotoblogger.dk May 12, 2012 12:11 am

    @yvonne: My reply to that is always; "Hmm, do you know if Shakespeare wrote with a goose feather or a duck feather?" - "Well, I'll use what he used, 'cause I'd really like to write like Shakespeare..."
    It also goes well with the eternal Nikon vs. Canon discussion :-)

  • fotoblogger.dk May 12, 2012 12:08 am

    @ scuttlebuttmac: Robert Capa? ("If your photos aren't good enough, you probably aren't close enough")

  • Scuttlebuttmac May 11, 2012 04:19 am

    I don't know who said it or where I read it...."When you think you are close enough - get closer."
    Sure has helped me!!!!

  • Yvonne May 10, 2012 11:13 pm

    Ansel Adams: “The most important part of a camera is the 12 inches behind the viewfinder.” I really hate it when someone looks at my photos and says, "Wow, you have a great camera!"

  • Firdaus Muhammad May 10, 2012 07:48 pm

    Those quotes makes me push myself, especially,
    “ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson".
    I'm a newbie, and I still dont reach the first 10,000 photos, even i have bought my camera for almost one year.

  • Elizabeth Rice May 4, 2012 01:22 am

    "Photography is about catching that one special moment, that you can cherish forever."-Elizabeth Rice

    I'm only 15 years old, going on 16 in the fall. I know i don't have that much experience but i love photography and thats my dream job which i am curttnely(sorry if misspelled) building on to that

  • Biju Karakkonam May 3, 2012 04:33 pm

    I want to fly like a butterfly around this beautiful world till the last frame of my life and the last click of my heart...
    Biju Karakkonam
    ( Photographer & Documentary Director.)

  • wilton del carmen April 10, 2012 05:35 pm

    These quotes are really inspiring! Thanks for sharing it! Godbless. :)

  • Jim Irvine March 27, 2012 12:49 am

    Some of my best photos were mistakes.

  • Jenny March 21, 2012 01:43 am

    “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz

    Read More at: http://www.glamquotes.com/

  • Michael Currin March 5, 2012 03:45 am

    "It's a camera, not a religion".

    I don't know if this is a well-known quote, but it sums up well that camera brand arguments are not important.

  • Zenpropix January 29, 2012 09:31 am

    "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Perhaps he'd still say this in the digital era - he just wouldn't count many other thousands of careless or random
    'clicks' as

  • Nick September 21, 2011 01:53 pm

    “I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it.”
    – Author Unknown

    Read more: http://www.meaningfullifequotes.com

  • Nathan September 13, 2011 01:22 am

    "The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead, they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it."--Edward Weston

    Saw that recently, and I liked it.

  • VRK August 13, 2011 03:20 pm

    "Photograph- shouldn't show something, it should speak something"- VRK. Photography my hobby and it's really a beautiful art.

  • VRK August 13, 2011 03:15 pm

    "Photograph- shouldn't showing something, it should speak something"- VRK.

  • Subhendu Sen June 11, 2011 03:48 am

    "Stop wishing for that Amazing Camera and Appreciate The One You’ve Got" - I think this one is the most philosophical for most of the photographers. TFS!

  • tara April 26, 2011 04:31 am

    Wow. All men, but for Imogen. That's a dissapointing reflection of the industry and its history. Or a poorly researched piece, because I'm certain there are thousands of amazing women photographers who have "said stuff".

  • carrhys April 23, 2011 07:57 pm

    Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner. ~Author Unknown

  • Isang April 16, 2011 03:16 pm

    Those were very wonderful quotes, It makes me think... well to add "capture everything that you see even if it doesn't interest you, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

  • Don Harper at The Edge April 15, 2011 05:22 am

    Photography is about the moment, my goal is to be there at that "Moment" to capture it. I want people to look at my images and think that's the way I remember it.

  • ALAgrApHY April 3, 2011 07:44 am

    I really like this one: "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

    However, I bet the number must be increased to 100,000 photographs with cheaper digital photography. I see facebook pictures that almost look like frames from a bad movie and can effortlessly go beyond 10,000 in a couple of months worth of bar crawling... Don't you think?

  • Rick February 23, 2011 10:33 am

    #2: Fortunately, we get through our first 10,000 photographs a lot quicker with digital than we ever did with film.

  • manukriti January 29, 2011 12:26 am

    this is my fav !!!

    " The important thing is not the camera but the eye " - Alfred Eisenstaed

  • Jimbob January 24, 2011 03:57 am

    "Always remember to make sure you put film/card in your camera before shooting"

  • Andrew January 7, 2011 02:24 pm

    ||| I was looking through the 20 Ways to Stunning Photos and the one where it talks about candid shots, about photographing children when they can’t see you or notice you. The same technique works very well on weddings, especially if you have two or more photographers. Please visit: http://www.andreysphotography.webs.com There, you will find two weddings and on those two weddings there were more than one photographer. I was the paparazzi. Most of the time I specialize in that type of photography, but wasn’t sure how to call that… paparazzi photography?? :-) |||

    Correction: Please DO NOT visit the above-mentioned website, it no longer works. The owner/author switched web hosts.

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/photography-quotes#ixzz1AMLShcj0

  • rodferminphotos January 7, 2011 01:51 pm

    Whenever you're undecided with the subject, composition, and background, etc....NEVER CLICK YOUR SHUTTER!

  • Matthew T Rader December 7, 2010 07:26 am

    These are all great quotes, thank you for making this list and for your commentary, very interesting and thought provoking.

  • Tim Street November 5, 2010 05:54 am

    I might have dreamed of being a photographer if I wasn't so busy taking pictures! When I'm looking through the lens the world makes sense to me. Nothing else I do brings me more contentment then when I'm photographing a subject. I shoot pictures for the lasting images that these little frozen moments in time bring!

  • Garry Angeles August 6, 2010 03:35 pm

    i have always liked Imogen Cunningham, very inspiring.

  • Emily July 7, 2010 03:04 pm

    Response to #8-
    If a quote needs an explanation, it just isn't a good quote. The quote should speak for themselves.

    You really shouldn't put an explanation to these quotes..
    it ruins the personal interpretation, and most of these quotes are self-explainitary.
    But hey, thats just my opinion.

  • Pradeep July 6, 2010 05:23 am

    inspiring quotes! thanks for sharing.

  • Cat Van Le July 1, 2010 02:14 am

    Great quotes! Every photographer should read this.

  • Frank May 25, 2010 06:42 am

    1. “if it’s exactly opposite of what you’d logically think, you’re on the right track.” – Frank M. Jackowiak

    Sometimes the beauty of a photograph comes at those times when you are not thinking about the settings, the camera you have and what equipment you need. Live in the moment of your photograph and make it the best it can be.

  • aslan dadash May 24, 2010 09:27 pm

    I guess it is reaaly good review from the life of great masters.

  • fortunato_uno December 4, 2009 01:26 pm

    i forget who said it, but i like this one.
    i never ment to take my best photo.
    i think it speeks to the fact that you just try to make eaxh shot the best you can and what you get is what you get. i always tell my friends we will never have the same favorite. my twin agrees

  • Vida Soraya Verzosa October 17, 2009 09:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing these quotes -- so inspirational! However, I'm just sad that you only featured ONE FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER! Just one, out of dozens, maybe hundreds, of trailblazing shutterbugs and photobetties out there. :-/ Some gender balance, please?

  • Cheeze439 August 17, 2009 08:44 am

    "Everyone will take one great picture, I've done better because I've taken two." - David Bailey

  • bigdani August 11, 2009 12:21 am

    Good quotes.

    I liked the irony oh this one
    By the way, for all those reading Capa’s “…you’re not close enough” quote, remember that he died from stepping on a landmine. It is possible to get too close!

    I knew Sally's quote but not as the difference between good or bad photographers but as:

    What's the difference between a professional and an amateur photographer? The professional never shows his bad shots.

  • Nacho Broadway August 5, 2009 10:50 pm

    Photography is the easiest art, which perhaps makes it the hardest.” — Lisette Model

  • Denny July 29, 2009 06:54 am

    Although I think Ansel Adams is the greatest there ever will be, I think no. 8 is the best advice.

  • Eros July 29, 2009 04:45 am

    "Owning a DSLR does not make you a photographer. It makes you a DSLR owner" - Best quote ever imho

  • Mr. Nikon D1x July 28, 2009 02:05 pm

    Rizal Minon Says:

    There’s no such thing as a bad camera, only photographers.

    This one is great, I love it. In Russia, that's where I'm from, they say: What photos, such and the photographer meaning that it's not the pictures' fault that it''s bad, it's the photographer's fault. :)

  • Mr. Nikon D1x July 28, 2009 01:10 pm

    I was looking through the 20 Ways to Stunning Photos and the one where it talks about candid shots, about photographing children when they can't see you or notice you. The same technique works very well on weddings, especially if you have two or more photographers. Please visit: www.andreysphotography.webs.com There, you will find two weddings and on those two weddings there were more than one photographer. I was the paparazzi. Most of the time I specialize in that type of photography, but wasn't sure how to call that... paparazzi photography?? :-)

  • Erik Eneddy July 26, 2009 06:26 pm

    this is my fave:
    “ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good". – Anonymous

    I laughed when I read the quotes, because it's so true. :D

  • Betty Rainge July 26, 2009 07:18 am

    I Love these quotes. the question is I would like to keep a camera with me at all times because when I don't is when I see pictures that I don't have to compse the problem Florida sun. Do you have any suggestions how to fix the problem?

  • Kim July 25, 2009 05:08 am

    While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see. ~Dorothea Lange

  • Toby July 24, 2009 11:32 pm

    One I like is:

    "Amateurs worry about equipment, professionals worry about money, masters worry about light... I just take pictures... " ~ Vernon Trent

    Helps me keep some perspective when I start drooling over new camera/lens models....

  • simon July 24, 2009 08:31 pm

    "Any photographer who says he's not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar" - Helmut Newton

  • Angelo July 24, 2009 05:02 pm

    Being a technique (meaning precision mechanics and optics) enthusiast myself, I have nonetheless to admit that one of my favourite quotes is:

    "Getting the technological foundation to make perfectly exposed photographs was easy, but amounted to nothing on its own. I simply had to commit myself, to express feelings about what I was undertaking." [Bjorn Rorslett]

    Bjorn Rorslett really is a master.

  • Brandon July 24, 2009 03:27 pm

    I'm surprised nobody's posted this one:

    “If it makes you laugh,
    if it makes you cry,
    if it rips out your heart,
    that’s a good picture.” – Eddie Adams

  • Keith July 24, 2009 01:54 pm

    haha, i love Robert Capa's quote too! =D

    @Matt Needham:
    Oh my gosh, i never knew o.o What epic irony.

  • Chris Lee July 24, 2009 12:57 pm

    Heres a quote i read when i was just starting out and its always stuck with me
    `A painter starts with nothing and keeps adding things till he ends up with the perfect picture. A photographer starts with everything and takes things away till he has the perfect picture`
    Always make me think about the composition of a photo before i take it

  • lilly hurley July 24, 2009 08:55 am

    where are the women photographers?

  • Peter Kirring July 24, 2009 07:21 am

    I'd like to add Ken Rockwell's quote [from www.kenrockwell.com]

    “Photography is the power of observation, not the application of technology.”

  • Wes July 24, 2009 07:11 am

    Some of these quotes are really profound! I especially like what Ansel Adams (#1), Matt Hardy (#3), Elliott Erwitt (#4), and Imogen Cunningham (#5) said.

    There are some good quotes in the comments as well! We have a lot of wisdom out there if we only learn to apply it!

  • Rizal Minon July 24, 2009 06:30 am

    i meant "bad photographers"

  • Rizal Minon July 24, 2009 06:30 am

    There's no such thing as a bad camera, only photographers

  • NormalEyes July 24, 2009 06:15 am

    All are inspiring and thought provoking. Another quote that could be applied to photography, but originally wasn't, is from John Lubbock. "What we see depends mainly on what we look for."

  • EllenK July 24, 2009 05:26 am

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

    This is my favorite quote. I have read it in a couple of different places, but I believe it was Jim Richardson who provided this advice.


  • bibin July 24, 2009 03:22 am

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

    Read more: https://digital-photography-school.com/photography-quotes#respond#ixzz0M6WAqryT

    This is the best one.....
    I was always worried about bad shots.... but i have to take at least 10000 worst shots before i get my perfect shot...I am ready for it

  • marty golin July 24, 2009 03:06 am

    An excellent listing

    However I feel obliged to comment on "Full awareness of what makes a good photo is essential in taking great photographs. "

    I humbly disagree if "full awareness" does not include intuition.

    For me at least, while I can say that I have a reasonable good grasp of the graphic elements that help/hinder a photo, the images that stand out are those taken by something beyond my conscious awareness. Once these images come back (in the good ol' slide days) or are viewed, then I can consciously see what I saw, but didn't recognize before.

    I think what separates good from great from spectacular is more an intuitive sense rather than conscious. But I definitely acknowledge that it's all awareness.

  • Steve Orthwein July 24, 2009 02:13 am

    The first photography course I took - a Photo Journalism class, the teacher wrote on the board first thing, "Rule #1 - Film is cheap!!!" Of course he was speaking relatively to the fact that we often never get a second chance to take or make an important photo. I've always lived by that rule and end up taking two or three times as many photos as those around me, but I feel I heve a better chance at getting exactly what I want. Of course digital cameras have invalidated that rule, but I still use a machine gun approach, even wihen shooting artsy stuff... I may shoot the same thing twenty times, constantly changing angles, composition, focal length and exposure. I drive my friends and family nuts when we're on vacation, but my photos are always the best, and I rarely miss anything. I love and admire the great works of Ansel Adams, but his style of waiting for hours for one exposure would drive my up the wall.

  • Sephi Bergerson July 23, 2009 02:59 pm

    I recently read this one:
    "Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here".
    Joe McNally

  • Lou Ann July 23, 2009 12:20 pm

    What happened to "f8 and there!"? :)

  • Angelino Pan y Vino July 23, 2009 11:10 am

    "Saying a camera takes nice pictures is like saying a guitar plays nice melodies."

    You may quote me on that.

    This goes to both amateur photographers, who don't have top-notch equipment, as well as those 'professional' photographers, who like to compensate in gear what they lack in skill (ie: buying 10+ studio lights, 4-5 different cameras, with countless lenses and props)

    You can spend all your money in professional equipment, but if you don't have the skill to use it, it's pretty much worthless. Likewise, even if your equipment isn't top notch, you can still accomplish wonderful things, as long as you know what it is capable of.

    The Dominican photographer Wilfredo García, when going on photography trips with his students, and clubs, always came back with the best picture. He was known for having a huge collection of cameras, going well over a hundred.
    During one of these trips, a student challenged him, saying he would obviously bring back the best photograph, as he had the fanciest cameras. He replied "So why don't you choose a camera for me, for the next trip?"

    He went with a disposable film camera, and still bought back the best picture.

    As long as you know the limitations of your equipment, and how to overcome them, it is possible to take gorgeous photographs, even if you don't have a fortune to spend on your gear.

  • Jamie Lapeyrolerie July 23, 2009 02:51 am

    This one is my favorite :)

    “ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good. – Anonymous

  • KLBO July 23, 2009 02:40 am

    Great quotes, really makes me think about how I approach photography.

  • Ryan Coleman July 23, 2009 02:37 am

    Great post :) - I got inspired to add some visuals to this post and created a slideshow using the quotes (crediting the source of course). Check it out here: http://www.slideshare.net/rycoleman/10-photography-quotes-that-you-should-know

  • Victor Augusteo July 22, 2009 05:02 pm

    argh, Sorry didn't entered the url properly, this is the one: http://bit.ly/IEImi

  • Victor Augusteo July 22, 2009 05:01 pm

    Nice quotes.
    I love the number two the most though.

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

    I just recently take a look at my old photos, and really the first 10000 is bad photos. from all aspect. composition, lightings, exposures, etc etc. But the good thing is, it kept going better and better!

    By the way, I also did a "21 Timeless Photography Quotes with the best of Landscape Photography" last year, come and check it out!



  • damaged lemons July 22, 2009 03:49 pm

    how about robert cappa's: "if your photo is not good enough, you're not close enough"? this one is my favorite ;)

  • Lisa B July 22, 2009 10:04 am

    A favorite quote that I like is from a movie:

    And if these pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it's this: I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture.

  • Samantha Zitter July 22, 2009 08:05 am

    These are EXCELLENT! Here is one that inspires me ever time I see something through my viewfinder...and I just can't help but share it with others. Its like an explosion...kinda like this quote.

    "Beauty...it rubs against one's tounge
    it hangs there
    hurting one
    insisting on its own existence
    finally it gets so one cannot stand the pain
    then one must have beauty extracted" ~Anonymous

  • Michael Sherman July 22, 2009 07:42 am

    One of my favorite photography quotes:

    If you can see, you can also take pictures. But learning to see may take a long time

  • Magly06 July 22, 2009 06:01 am

    I like Sally's and dennyboy's too.

  • David P. July 22, 2009 04:34 am

    Great, all quotes are so true.


  • Dennyboy July 22, 2009 03:52 am

    "You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" Mark Twain

  • Stephen Elliot July 22, 2009 02:02 am

    “Unlike a painter, a photographer starts with something finished and works backward.” -anonymous

  • Marthenya July 22, 2009 01:59 am

    RE #8. I love photos that have a story or at least a really interesting, descriptive title. For me, it's not necessary for the photo to stand alone. Sometimes, I'll write a story based on a photo I took. Sometimes, I'll take photos to accompany a story or build a theme. Words are very valuable and enhance creativity.

    I try not to focus so much on creating what someone else may like. I create art based on what speaks from my inner being as truely as possible. Somone is bound to like it.

    These quotes may have varying significance on different days, but all speak well to a photographer at any level. I vote #9 as my favorite for today.

  • raisingladders July 22, 2009 01:58 am

    This one has stuck with me for a while now.

    "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." —Ansel Adams

  • cristiano007 July 22, 2009 01:42 am

    I always quote the number two, in some sources they say is Ansel Adams who wrote this in one of his books. No big problem, both know what they're talking about. But is good to clarify that he was talking about film pictures where cost, time and thinking process could be bigger, so I think you have to multiply that by five to ten in the digital world to be faithful to the author's idea (a very hard number, lots of practice, experimenting, to be shooting all the time, to be open to make mistakes, to be very persistent, to ask yourself for top quality).

    To add something new. I would quote the great Blake Andrews: "Use right brain when shooting, left brain when looking over contact sheets. Paraphrased, this becomes... Shoot first, ask questions later." For me this is: Inspirated shooting, analytic editing.

  • Sally July 22, 2009 12:36 am

    The difference between a good photographer and a bad one? You never see the good photographer's bad pictures.

  • Bob July 21, 2009 10:46 pm

    I've been shooting since about 1958. Probably have taken tens - hundreds? - of thousands of photos. But my personal favorite was one I made as a child...have never been able to reproduce the mood and composition again. So, with all due respect to Henri, I am not impressed by quantity of shots. In today's digital world it is all to easy to simply click away. I'd say it takes patience and circumspection to see the shot before you push the button.

    The standouts can happen anytime all the other aspects of making a photo come together.

  • Matt Needham July 21, 2009 10:19 pm

    By the way, for all those reading Capa's "...you're not close enough" quote, remember that he died from stepping on a landmine. It is possible to get too close!

  • Matt Needham July 21, 2009 10:16 pm

    A few of my favorites.

    "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

    "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

    "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

    "People say photographs don't lie, mine do." -David LaChapelle

  • Eddy July 21, 2009 09:45 pm

    You've forgotten this one which should be in the top 10 :
    "If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough." Robert Cappa

  • Zack Jones July 21, 2009 09:24 pm

    "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" -- I'm glad I've crossed that barrier. I should be getting better with every new photograph I take. Thanks for the list.

  • Lilia July 21, 2009 07:57 pm

    Love this article and the blurbs after each quote, thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Rowan July 21, 2009 05:56 pm

    Number 10 is especially important to remember

  • damianbenner July 21, 2009 04:37 pm

    I think this isattributed to Robert Cappa.

    Q - Do you really distance yourself from your subject? I mean, what would you do if presented with a young girl burning to death?

    A - about 1/60 at f5.6

    This is why I won't be a war correspondent.

  • Michael Yip July 21, 2009 03:48 pm

    Great list.

    My fav. is “ Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. – Imogen Cunningham

  • suresh July 21, 2009 03:42 pm

    “ Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow."..This is superb one..

  • Salvacion (Saanva in the forum) July 21, 2009 02:56 pm

    I love these quotes.

    My favorite is #1 “ You don’t take a photograph, you make it. - Ansel Adams

    I have to keep reminding myself about this.

  • goldfries July 21, 2009 02:03 pm

    Great quotes up there! I like the part mentioning Cartier-Bresson - Indeed, I've seen so many newbies entering the photography world and think they need high-grade gears and all, and that entry level and 3rd party stuff are stopping them from creating beautiful pictures.

    I believe it is their THINKING that's stopping them from taking beautiful pictures.

  • es July 21, 2009 01:19 pm

    If you're pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough" - Robert Capa

  • Mat Packer July 21, 2009 12:30 pm

    Some great quotes there, Imogen Cunningham's is definitely my favourite...though Henri Cartier-Bresson's is a very very close second.

  • ake_631 July 21, 2009 12:19 pm

    Those are some great quotes!!

  • MeiTeng July 21, 2009 11:00 am

    “ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good. – Anonymous

    I like this quote the most.

  • Kelly Anne July 21, 2009 10:43 am

    On my desk I have a postit with the following quote on it. The quote is by Cardinal de Retx (17th century): in "There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment."

    Henri Cartier-Bresson held to this theory with his own photography: "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." (from his book, the decisive moment)

    I think both are awesome quotes for photographers.

  • Scott July 21, 2009 10:42 am

    "There are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer" -- Ansel Adams.

    What is the point of taking a photograph if no-one can relate to it? I find the best (and hardest) part of taking a good photograph is to create an image that speaks to someone else. When I can do that, I know I have taken a good shot.

  • Nocturnatum July 21, 2009 10:33 am

    I knew the first and have seen a couple of others before.. TBH I thought this was a pretty good read and love to read this kind of article. I think that theory like this needs to be shared more on sites like this. I learnt stuff like this at College and Uni even though I didn't pass and take my camera with me everywhere. Its good to get in the frame of mind that gets you inspired and this material does just that.

  • PeacemakingTree July 21, 2009 10:12 am

    It is very inspiring. I can sense their desire to create. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” says to me, “Never give up!” Thanks for these quote. I think all those who are creative should read this to get even more motivated.

  • Beate July 21, 2009 10:10 am

    The important thing is not the camera but the eye. (Alfred Eisenstaedt)

    Photography is the art of observation. It is about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I have found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. ( Elliot Erwitt).

  • Tim July 21, 2009 09:54 am

    Don't have one at the moment, but I like these quotes :)

  • Brian DeMint of Eyeworks July 21, 2009 09:40 am

    I like the "Anonymous" quote but I really love the authors input that it is sometimes helpful to know the history of the image... .a perfect example for me is the painting "Guernica" by Picasso... at first glace it looked like a cartoon the neighbors bizarre kids had scribbled... but upon learning the history behind the piece the cartoon figures emerged into twisted heartbreaking victims of violence and chaos...

    My personal favorite quote is not listed but is by fashion photography Peter Lindbergh..... "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." Utterly Brillant.

  • Bjorn July 21, 2009 08:25 am

    Great quotes.

    But I could do without the "interpretations". Much like #8, if you have to explain it, it probably isn't a good quote.

    And if you don't need to explain it, then you're just adding noise.

  • Travel photos July 21, 2009 08:24 am

    I would move quote by Anonymous to the first place. You don't need explain good photo.