17 inspiring photography quotes


These are the quotes that embody A Year With My Camera - the way we learn and the way we grow:

1. "The only photographer I will compare myself to is the one I used to be."

The internal conversation you have with yourself is your biggest friend (or your biggest enemy). You will make faster, better progress if you can acknowledge that every single photographer on the planet once stood where you do now, and there is nothing positive that can come from comparing yourself unfavourably to people who have been practising for years. By all means be inspired, but don't let it slip into self criticism.

2. "One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time." - John Wanamaker

Make incremental, measurable progress each week and by the end of the year you will be the best photographer you know.

3. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - attributed to Aristotle

You can't learn photography in a weekend, or by dipping in and out of Instagram challenges. It takes 3 months of concentrated non-stop study (or a year of weekly lessons) to fully understand your camera and the image-making process. 

4. "She thought she could, so she did."

You don't need to wait for permission to learn to use your camera. Or for someone to explain it to you (again). Carve your own path, starting today.

5. "Progress, not perfection."

We don't dwell on our mistakes, we celebrate our achievements.

6. "A good photograph is knowing where to stand." - Ansel Adams

Move, compare viewpoints, tweak your vantage point until you have made the image you can see in your head.

7. "My first thought is always of light". - Galen Rowell

Light, background, composition - that's all you need to remember.

8. Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography. - George Eastman

You can't know too much about light and how it behaves. Photography is 'painting with light'. 

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

There's always a photograph, just keep looking.

10. If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa

Especially true if you're shooting on your phone.

11. You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. - Ansel Adams

This quote answers the criticism, "But all the photographs have been taken! There's nothing new. Why should I bother?" Yes, all the photographs have been taken. But not by you. Not with your memories to colour the image. It's your life, your camera, your vision. Go forth and take all the photographs again.

12. What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time. - John Berger

I love this one. 

13. To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. - Elbert Hubbard

Cultivate the ability to ignore the people telling you it can't be done.

14. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Join the A Year With My Camera Facebook group, share an image, and just watch as people say nice things.

15. Art is not what you see but what you make others see. - Edgar Degas

Can you create an emotion in your viewer?

16. If you hear a voice within you say, "You cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. - Vincent van Gogh

Same if someone close to you tells you you cannot understand your camera. 

17. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

You know it's true. Just do it.

Join a Year With My Camera here

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It's free for an entire year. No catches, just lots of fun.