56 Portrait Photography Quotes: Get Inspired by Words (+30 Quotes for Instagram!)

I love reading and hearing portrait photography quotes from time to time. You get to know some renowned photographers from that field and get insight into their thinking and, eventually, what made them renowned in the first place!

So lay back and get inspired by all these quotes I collected for you! If you’re looking for a caption for your latest Instagram post instead, have a look at them further down:

56 Inspirational Quotes From Renowned Photographers

  1. “In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a Leitmotiv.”Henri Cartier-Bresson
  2. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”Diane Arbus
  3. “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Richard Avedon
  4. “When I take a picture, I take 10 percent of what I see.” – Annie Leibovitz
  5. “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
  6. “A good portrait tells a story, hints at a life beyond the edges of the frame.” – Steve McCurry
  7. “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.” – Yousuf Karsh
  8. “It’s important to photograph people in a way that honors their individuality.” – David Bailey
  9. “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.” – Elliot Erwitt

    "Once you own amazing portraits they affirm you daily" portrait photography quotes by judy reinen, photography quote
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  10. “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen
  11. “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol
  12. “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.” – Ansel Adams
  13. “Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” – Destin Sparks
  14. “Every face I see seems to hide and sometimes fleetingly reveal the mystery of another human being.” – Alberto Korda
  15. “A portrait is a painting made by the eye, with the hand, and the heart.” – Joseph Szabo
  16. “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld
  17. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” – Diane Arbus
  18. “Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” – Paul Strand
  19. “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph, it is no longer a fact but an opinion.” – Richard Avedon


  20. “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.” – Elliott Erwitt
  21. “A photograph is the pause button of life.” – Ty Holland
  22. “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Audrey Hepburn
  23. “When you photograph a face, you photograph the soul behind it.” – Jean-Luc Godard
  24. “A good portrait is incredibly hard to create. It’s about the connection and the emotion, not just the person.” – Peter Hurley
  25. “What I like most about photography is the moment that you can’t anticipate; you have to be constantly watching for it, ready to welcome the unexpected.” – Martine Franck
  26. “A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, be the testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he or she was.” – Philippe Halsman
  27. “A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.” – Brigitte Bardot
  28. “I believe that the essence of photography is black and white. Color is but a deviance.” – Sarah Moon
  29. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” – Duane Michals
  30. “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen
  31. “The eyes have one language everywhere.” – George Herbert
  32. “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” – Scott Lorenzo
  33. “A photograph is a moral decision taken in one-eighth of a second. Or it isn’t.” – Salman Rushdie
  34. “I paint with light.” – Anonymous
  35. “Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt
  36. “A portrait is like an ornamental headstone. It is not for the subject but for those who look upon it.” – Marcel Proust
  37. “Every time I press the shutter, it takes me one step closer to Mother Nature.” – Man Ray
  38. “A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” – Ansel Adams
  39. “The camera sees more than the eye, so why not make use of it?” – Edward Weston

    The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don't have to explain things with words. Elliott Erwitt photography quote, inspirational instagram quotes
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  40. “The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.” – Charlotte Brontë
  41. “A portrait is a picture in which there is something wrong with the mouth.” – Eugene Speicher
  42. “The eye should learn to listen before it looks.” – Robert Frank
  43. “I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” – Gilles Peress
  44. “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
  45. “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
  46. “In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz
  47. “I am not interested in shooting new things. I am interested to see things new.” – Ernst Haas
  48. “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis
  49. “What makes a photograph a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.” – John Berger
  50. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.” – Diane Arbus
  51. “When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.” – Annie Leibovitz
  52. “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
  53. “A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it.” – Irving Penn
  54. “Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burk Uzzle
  55. “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
  56. “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey
photography is an art of observation. it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. elliot erwitt, motivational and inspiring portrait photography quote
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30 Portrait Photography Quotes for Instagram

If you’re looking for inspirational portrait photography quotes to add to your Instagram post instead, we’ve got you covered as well! We’ve all been there, after all…ready to post our newest portrait, but lacking a nice caption. Have a look at those quotes:

  1. “Capture the untold stories in every gaze.”
  2. “Every face has a story waiting to be told.”
  3. “In the eyes of the beholder, a myriad of tales.”
  4. “Portraits freeze time and immortalize moments.”
  5. “Life is art, and you are the masterpiece.”
  6. “Uncover the beauty hidden in plain sight.”
  7. Find the extraordinary within the ordinary.
  8. “Let your portrait be the window to your soul.”
  9. “Seize the unspoken poetry of the every day.”
  10. “Reveal the strength behind every smile.”
  11. “Let your authenticity shine through every shot.”
  12. “A single photo can speak the universal language of humanity.”
  13. Embrace the imperfections that make you unique.
  14. “The essence of character captured in a flash.”
  15. “Dwell in the magic of the present moment.”

    There are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them Diane Arbus, inspirational photography quotes about portrait photography by Diane Arbus
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  16. “Portraits tell stories beyond words.”
  17. “Through the lens, we connect worlds.”
  18. “Every portrait holds a hidden narrative.”
  19. Celebrate the unscripted beauty of life.
  20. “A picture not just seen, but felt.”
  21. “The art of capturing raw emotion.”
  22. “Crafting legacy with every click.”
  23. “Freeze a second, tell a lifetime.”
  24. “The silence of a portrait echoes the loudest tales.
  25. “Show the world who you truly are.”
  26. “Every line, every curve, tells its own story.”
  27. “Creating timeless treasures, one portrait at a time.”
  28. “The soul’s narrative through a portrait’s eye.”
  29. Frame the spirit, not just the face.
  30. “Let each portrait be your silent poetry.”

My Favorite Quotes

I like to include some quotes in my Instagram posts or sprinkle them on the website (our homepage, for example!).

Some quotes have really inspired me in the past, so I will share my top 3 favorite portrait photography quotes real quick:

Audrey Hepburn

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

Audrey Hepburn

Well…quite logical, right? But it’s not just that, I think this quote really resembles the history and emotions that can be captured by photos. Even just plain random selfies. If you don’t believe me, have a look at one of my favorite Youtube videos of all time:

George Herbert

“The eyes have one language everywhere.”

George Herbert

I love this! Because it’s just so true. Imagine a profession like writing or a lawyer – they are only capable of doing their job because of language or culture. Not so for photographers. Photos can be understood by everyone, everybody, even by babies who can’t even speak in the first place.

Kinda makes me happy to think that even someday when all language and culture are lost – as long as photographs survive, future people will be able to understand what we had to say.

Ansel Adams

“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 shows that a photo is not just about the camera, the plain act of pressing a button and taking a photograph. It’s about everything that led to that moment: You pursuing photography in the first place, selecting the model, getting that pose, that perspective…that’s what photography is about. What this art is about!

So, all in all, I hope I could give you some inspiration with my favorites and the quotes in general. If you want to dive further into photography and our articles, here are some recommendations on must-reads!

Also, have a look at our Pinterest, to stay up-to-date with the latest photography trends!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an inspirational quote for portrait photography?

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” – This quote captures the essence of portrait photography as a powerful storytelling medium, where emotions and personalities are conveyed through imagery.

How can I add humor to my portrait captions with a quote?

“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.” – Use this witty play on words to inject humor into your portrait captions, making them more engaging and relatable to your audience.

What are some powerful quotes for professional photographers?

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” This quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson emphasizes the importance of practice and persistence in mastering the craft of photography.

Can you suggest a beautiful quote suitable for a portrait photo?

“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” – Annie Leibovitz’s words reflect the profound connection and empathy that a photographer can express through portraits.

What’s a good quote to include in my Instagram post featuring a portrait?

“In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz’s quote can lend a philosophical layer to your Instagram portrait post, intriguing your followers.

How do I choose the perfect caption for my photography on social media?

When selecting a caption, consider what emotion or message you want to convey. Is it joy, contemplation, or an artistic statement? Align your quote with the mood and context of the photograph to resonate with your viewers.

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Luis Kleinheinz

Hey, I'm Luis Kleinheinz!

I am writing our articles here on lens-mastery.com. As a seasoned photographer myself, I love spreading my passion for this great hobby and teaching others about the Dos and Don'ts of Photography.

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