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100 Photography Quotes, Facts, Myths and Trivia

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Everyone loves a good photography quote. I’ve pulled together 100 enlightening quotes, intriguing facts, eye-opening myths, and bits of photo trivia to impress your fellow photographers.

You’ll find inspiring quotes from some of the most renowned photographers, which might just shift your perspective on what it means to look through the lens.

I’ll also debunk some common photography myths that have long misled both novices and experts, and introduce you to some lesser-known trivia that showcases the quirky side of photography.

Read: 50 Inspiring Thoughts About Photography

25 Photography Quotes

“To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye, and the heart.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” – Susan Meiselas

“Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” – Sally Mann

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” – Diane Arbus

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams

“All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.” – Richard Avedon

“Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame.” – Meshack Otieno

“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus

“Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.” – Kim Edwards

“Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” – Berenice Abbott

Snake River Valley in the Tetons by Ansel Adams
Copyright: Snake River Valley in the Tetons by Ansel Adams

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol

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

“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.” – Aaron Siskind

“The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.” – Orson Welles

“Photography helps people to see.” – Berenice Abbott

“I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs.” – Wayne Miller

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

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

“The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.” – Annie Leibovitz

“The photograph itself doesn’t interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt

“A photograph is like a recipe – the memory is the finished dish.” – Carrie Latet

“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” – Ansel Adams

 

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25 Photography Facts

  • The first colour photograph was taken by James Clerk Maxwell, a physicist, in 1861. It was a simple image of a tartan ribbon.
  • The oldest surviving photograph is from 1826, captured by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, showing the view from an upstairs window at his estate, Le Gras, in France.
  • The most expensive photograph ever sold is “Rhein II” by Andreas Gursky, which was auctioned for $4.3 million in 2011.
  • Before modern cameras, there was the camera obscura (Latin for “dark room”), which is a darkened room with a small hole or lens at one side through which an image is projected onto a wall or table inside the room.
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer, coined the term “The Decisive Moment,” which describes capturing an event that is ephemeral and spontaneous, where the image represents the essence of the event itself.
  • The first true digital camera that recorded images as a computerised file was created by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson in 1975.
  • The longest exposure photograph ever taken was captured by German artist Michael Wesely. He set up his camera to take continuous shots for 34 months from 2001 to 2004 documenting the renovation of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Daguerreotype
Image: Daguerreotype Photographs
  • Before Photoshop was introduced in 1990, photo editing was done manually by retouching with ink, paint, double-exposure, piecing photos or negatives together in the darkroom.
  • Early flash photography involved a dangerous process using a mixture of potassium chlorate and magnesium powder that was lit by hand to produce a brief but brilliant flash.
  • The first photographs of the moon were taken by John W. Draper in 1840, but the first detailed images were captured during the American Civil War.
  • A chimpanzee named Mikki learned to take photographs as part of a Russian art project in the 1990s. His photos were later sold at a Christie’s auction.
  • The first high-speed photography capable of capturing speeding bullets in motion was done by Ernst Mach in 1887.
  • The first underwater photograph was taken in 1856 in the Bay of Arcachon, France, by Louis Boutan.
hobbyist or professional photographer. Young girl developing photos in a dark room. Retro style photography
  • In the early 20th century, Julius Neubronner patented a method for aerial photography by attaching miniature cameras to pigeons.
  • As of 2021, the world’s smallest camera is the size of a grain of salt and was developed by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington.
  • John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, was the first president to be photographed in 1843.
  • Early film and photos were colourised using a technique called hand-tinting, where artists would manually paint colours onto black and white prints.
  • Invented by Louis Daguerre in 1837, the daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process.
  • George Eastman, founder of Kodak, popularised the use of photographic film rolls over plates that were commonly used, changing the future of photography.
  • You can make a simple camera out of practically any light-tight container by making a tiny hole in one side (the pinhole) and adding photographic paper on the opposite side.
  • Infrared photography captures light that is not visible to the naked eye and can yield surreal-looking landscapes or portraits with different foliage colours and skin textures.
  • Astrophotography dates back to the mid-19th century, and the first photograph of a star (other than the Sun) was taken in 1850.
  • Stereoscopic photography, which creates the illusion of three-dimensional depth, was developed in 1838 by Sir Charles Wheatstone.
  • The first self-portrait photograph, or what we would now call a “selfie,” might have been taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839.
  • One of the first known examples of war photography was captured by Carol Szathmari, who documented the Crimean War in the 1850s
a close up of a digital sensor inside a digital camera

25 Photography Myths

You need expensive equipment to take good photos. Great photos can often be captured with any camera, even smartphones.

More megapixels mean better photos. While megapixels are important for print size, they don’t necessarily dictate photo quality.

Automatic mode yields the best results for beginners. Learning to use manual settings can greatly improve your control and the quality of your photos.

A cloudy day is a bad day for photography. Overcast conditions can actually provide very good lighting for photography by diffusing sunlight and reducing shadows.

Flash is only for indoor or nighttime photography. Flash can also be helpful during the day to fill in shadows, particularly in portrait shots.

Professional photographers don’t use post-processing. Post-processing is a common practice used to enhance colours, adjust lighting, and correct images.

The “golden hour” is the only good time to take photos. While lighting during the golden hour is indeed beautiful, creative opportunities exist at all times of day.

You should always centre your subject. While centering can work, following the rule of thirds often leads to more engaging compositions.

Great photos are created in-camera. The skill of the photographer in framing, timing, and envisioning shots is as crucial as the camera used.

Photos must be technically perfect. Sometimes, technical imperfections like motion blur or grain add character and emotion to photographs.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is always better. Overuse of HDR can lead to unnatural-looking images; it’s a tool that should be used sparingly.

Film photography is obsolete. Film photography is still appreciated for its aesthetic and has a dedicated following.

Photography is easy; anyone can do it. Good photography often requires understanding complex concepts, skills, and creativity.

Digital is always better than film. Both mediums have their unique characteristics and uses; one isn’t inherently better than the other.

You can’t shoot good images in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can be challenging but can also create dramatic and compelling photos with the right techniques.

Bigger and heavier cameras are better. The quality and capability of cameras cannot be judged by their size and weight alone.

You can fix all issues in post-processing. Some issues, like severe blur or poor composition, can’t be fixed after the fact.

A good photograph must adhere to all rules of composition. Sometimes breaking rules can result in more impactful photographs.

portrait photography composition

ISO should be kept as low as possible. Higher ISOs can be essential for capturing shots in low light conditions without sacrificing shutter speed.

Photoshop is cheating. Using tools to edit photos is a part of digital photography and is used to express the photographer’s vision.

Silhouettes are only for sunsets. Silhouettes can be effectively used in various lighting conditions to create striking images.

You should never shoot in JPEG format. While RAW has many advantages, JPEG might be suitable for situations requiring fast processing or limited storage.

Telephoto lenses are just for wildlife or sports. These lenses can also be excellent for portraits and compressing scenes in landscape photography.

Taking photos in bad weather is a bad idea. Bad weather often provides unique and compelling photographic opportunities.

Natural light photographers don’t need to understand lighting. Even when using natural light, understanding its qualities and variations is crucial to capturing great images.

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person stood on a rocky outcrop overlooking a sunset
Copyright Jordan Adelburgh (iPhotography Student)

Photography Trivia, Statistics and Oddities

In macro photography, sometimes a common object is used for scale beside tiny subjects—leading to some whimsically bizarre photo pairings!

You know that satisfying click when you take a photo on your iPhone? Completely artificial in smartphones, designed to mimic the sound of shutters that don’t actually exist in digital cameras.

Camera sales have declined by approximately 87% since 2010. This statistic reflects the shift in consumer preferences towards smartphones and other multifunctional devices. (Source: Camera & Imaging Products Association, 2020)

A typical wedding photographer shoots between 1,000 to 2,000 photos per wedding. This range provides insight into the volume of work involved in event photography. (Source: The Knot, 2019)

Photographers know the stress of racing against time to capture the perfect light at sunrise or sunset—often referred to humorously as ‘The Golden Minute’.

Long exposures can make moving people or objects vanish from the scene, creating ghost-town effects in busy places.

There’s a joke among photographers that the perfect number of cameras to own is ‘just one more.’

Image by Jakub Stefanski (iPhotography Student)
Image by Jakub Stefanski (iPhotography Student)

Chimping: That’s what you call the act of checking every photo on the camera display right after taking it—a common but sometimes frowned upon habit.

Over 100 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram every day. This statistic highlights the immense volume of content created and shared on just one social media platform. (Source: Omnicore, 2021)

Photographers in the U.S.: There are over 41,000 professional photographers employed in the United States as of 2020. This figure illustrates the size of the professional photography industry in the U.S. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020)

Smartphone Penetration: Approximately 85% of all photos are taken with smartphones, demonstrating the significant impact of mobile technology on photography. (Source: InfoTrends, 2017)

Pixel-peeping, or the act of zooming in on photos to check for sharpness, can sometimes distract from the overall impact of a picture.

The art of street photography often involves mastering how to shoot candidly without attracting attention—turning photographers into ninjas with cameras.

Capturing that perfect moment can sometimes feel like a high-stakes sport, complete with the anxiety and adrenaline rush.

Many cameras are weather-sealed, purportedly ready for any condition, yet many photographers are hesitant to test these limits in actual rough weather.

Adding colour to black and white photos can bring history to life but also sparks debates about authenticity.

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Oddly, taking too many photos can sometimes impair our ability to remember an event clearly without the photos.

With advances in technology, capturing galaxies is no longer just for observatories; amateurs can now take stunning shots of the night sky.

Like vinyl records, film photography has seen a resurgence as photographers seek a more ‘authentic’, hands-on experience compared to digital shooting.

Often maligned for quality loss, digital zoom can still be a useful tool when capturing details from afar if high resolution isn’t the priority.

The global digital photography market is expected to reach approximately $149.98 billion by 2026. This statistic underscores the growing prevalence of digital over traditional photography. (Source: Zion Market Research, 2020)

New York City, London, and Paris are among the top three most Instagrammed cities in the world, indicating popular global hubs for photography enthusiasts. (Source: Instagram Data, 2019)

The global photo editing software market size was valued at $773.3 million in 2019 and is projected to reach $1,485 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2020 to 2027. (Source: Allied Market Research, 2020)

Despite the dominance of smartphones, the interchangeable lens cameras market held a significant share of the photography devices market, accounting for more than 2.4 million units shipped in 2020. (Source: Statista, 2020)

An estimated 1.4 trillion photos were taken in 2020, and a significant percentage of these were shared on various platforms, illustrating the massive scale of photo sharing in the digital age. (Source: Keypoint Intelligence, 2020)

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