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10 Photography Quotes That Inspire Me

If you’ve been following my blog, I am sure you’ve noticed that some of my articles start with a quote. Most of them are photography quotes from famous photographers. I am not really a big “quote” fan in my everyday life. Sometimes I think they can be a little corny. For some reason, the opposite is true when it comes to photography. I find photography quotes inspiring and very motivating.

Here are ten photography quotes that I really like. They influenced me in the way I take photos and the way I see photography in general. Some of them are very well known, from famous photographers like Ansel Adams, and some are less known. Either way, I hope you’ll find them as helpful and motivating as I did.

1. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” – Ansel Adams

If I look at the thousands of pictures I took in the last year I would probably find a handful that stand out. Perhaps a few more than twelve, but by my standards, definitely not Mr. Adams’. Take a look at your pictures from last year. How many do you see that really stand out from the rest?

2. “No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.” – Edward Steichen 

I love this quote. In fact I am planning on writing an article around the “what’s the best camera” topic. The idea that you need a better camera to take better pictures is wrong. I think that the photographer and the lens are so much more important.

3. “Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph.  If it were, they would have more to say.” – Unknown 

Many years ago, when I was just getting into photography, I would take this as a compliment. I kept saying to myself, I must have a great camera if my pictures are so sharp. Not anymore, especially after I came across this quote.

4.“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams 

Most of the time I do like to include some life in my pictures: a person, an animal, or even a bird. But for those shots that may seem a little lonely, I like to use this quote as an explanation. Lonely? What do you mean?

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

I am never fully satisfied with what I’ve photographed. I encourage you to never stop photographing. It’s very likely that your best photograph is yet to be captured.

6.“I never have taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.” – Diane Arbus 

Yes, cameras do a great job at capturing the moment. But think how many times you  photographed beautiful scenery, looked at the picture and you were disappointed. Sunsets come to mind here, as they are pretty difficult to capture. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment and give the camera a break.

7.“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” – Jim Richardson 

Not much to say here. The good news is that we are surrounded by so many interesting things. We just have to get out there and start shooting.

8.“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams 

Again, another great quote from Ansel Adams. This is one of the first photography quotes that caught my attention, and probably one of the most famous.  Full awareness of what makes a good photograph definitely pays off. And most importantly, think before your press the shutter button. Click here for an example of a checklist I go through in my mind before photographing landscapes.

9.“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 

Persistency also pays off. I know that sometimes we all get a little tired of carrying the cameras with us. But you know what happens. When you don’t have it with you, that’s when you see something worth capturing and you wish you had it.

10.“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” – Dorothea Lange 

It’s amazing how the cameras change the way we see everything, especially light, shadows and reflections. Have you realized that?

I hope you enjoyed these quotes and you learned from them at least as much as I did. What is your favorite photography quote?

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