The Best Travel Photography Quotes

Looking for the best travel photography quotes? These words of wisdom from master photographers (as well as a few from non-photographers too) will prepare you for your next photo adventure.

More people than ever are documenting their travels through photographs, but creating images that capture the feel of a place and the spirit of its people can be challenging. 

So we decided to put together a list of over 100 of our favorite travel photography quotes. 

So without further ado, here’s our ultimate list of the best travel photography quotes. If you find it helpful then we would be grateful if you could share with others.

100+ Travel Photography Quotes

The most valuable things in life are a man’s memories. And they are priceless.

Andre Kertesz

My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.

Diane Arbus

Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.  

Ansel Adams

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.

Steve McCurry

My vision of the world is simple. Tomorrow, each new day, I want to see the city, take new photographs, meet people and wander alone.  

Marc Riboud

Photography isn’t about just pushing that button. It’s about the experience of being there.

Don McCullin

Related: Landscape and Nature Photography Quotes

No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.

Robert Adams

The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

The world makes up my pictures, not me.

Lee Friedlander

Carrying a camera on vacation pretty much guarantees you won’t see anything worth shooting.  

Bob Krist

I think of myself as an explorer who has spent his life on a long voyage of discovery.

Paul Strand
Paul Strand Photography
Tir A’Mhurain, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954. © Paul Strand Estate

Understanding Travel Photography

Travel and photography have always been intertwined. I think we have such a brief amount of time in this world that I can’t think of a better use of my time than to travel, to photograph the world, experience life in different places. To me, there’s nothing more important than that.

Steve McCurry

Most of the information we now get is through television and is mutilated. Photography offers the opportunity to spend much more time on a topic. It’s relatively cheaper medium, and can allow a photographer really to live in another place, show another reality, get closer to the truth.  

Sebastiao Salgado

Photography cannot change the world, but it can show the world, especially when it changes.  

Marc Riboud

If I go to a place, it’s not to record what is going on only. It’s to try and have a picture which concretizes a situation in one glance and which has the strong relations of shapes. And when I go to a country, well, I’m hoping always to get that one picture about which people will say, “Ah, this is true. You felt it right.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

I think of myself as a writer who photographs. Images, for me, can be considered poems, short stories or essays. And I’ve always thought the best place for my photographs was inside books of my own creation.

Sam Abell

A traveler seeks engagement with the local people and culture, while a sightseer just checks off sights in the guidebook. A sightseeing photographer stands apart from the culture, snapping pictures at a distance. A travel photographer becomes involved with his or her surroundings and the people; the resulting pictures become more intimate.

Jim Richardson
Travel Photography Quotes, Jim Richardson
Approaching Storm. © Jim Richarson

Finding your Subject and Story

I’m not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it’s not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller.

Sebastiao Salgado

Technique isn’t important. Technique is in the blood. Events and mood are more important than good light and the happening is what is important.  

Andre Kertesz

I used to try to figure out precisely what I was seeing all the time, until I discovered that I didn’t need to. If the thing is true, why there it is.

Walker Evans

I hope to bring back pictures from the world that open people’s eyes – pictures that suggest the enigmatic nature of the world we live in, as well as its variety, complexity, beauty, and pain.

Alex Webb

Related: Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Quotes

When I arrive at any place in the world I buy postcards because then you find out where all the places you should be are.

Norman Parkinson

Sometimes the most interesting visual phenomena occur when you least expect it. Other times, you think you’re getting something amazing and the photographs turn out to be boring and predictable. So I think that’s why, a long time ago, I consciously tried to let go of artists angst, and instead just hope for the best and enjoy it. I love the journey as much as the destination. If I wasn’t a photographer, Id still be a traveller.

Michael Kenna

Having a camera around your neck gives you a good excuse to be nosy.

Martin Parr

It was more about trying to find the essence of the place, what was unique. What was it about this place that made it intriguing? There’s no guarantee that you’re going to make good pictures just because you happen to be in an exotic location. The same rules of photography still apply: light and composition and a particular moment. You may be in an incredible place with an incredible story to tell, but you still have to craft it in a certain way.  

Steve McCurry

No matter what lens you use, no matter what speed the film, no matter how you develop it, no matter how you print it, you cannot say more than you can see.

Paul Strand

Never stop looking, no matter where you are, everywhere there are good photographs.

Art Wolfe
Travel Photography Quotes, Art Wolfe
Moments of life Shepherd’s Lookout, South Island, New Zealand. © Art Wolfe

The Photo Project

I enjoy traveling and recording far-away places and people with my camera. But I also find it wonderfully rewarding to see what I can discover outside my own window. You only need to study the scene with the eyes of a photographer.  

Alfred Eisenstaedt

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

I never stay in one country more than three months. Why? Because I was interested in seeing, and if I stay longer I become blind.

Josef Koudelka

The golden rule is work fast. As for framing, composition, focus-this is no time to start asking yourself questions: you just have to trust your intuition and the sharpness of your reflexes.

Jacques-Henri Lartigue

I would strongly encourage anybody embarking on photography as a career to embrace and enjoy the whole process. Being a photographer can be a wonderful way to experience the world.

Michael Kenna

I very much like to work on long-term projects. There is time for the photographer and the people in front of the camera to understand each other. There is time to go to a place and understand what is happening there… When you spend more time on a project, you learn to understand your subjects. There comes a time when it is not you who is taking the pictures. Something special happens between the photographer and the people he is photographing. He realizes that they are giving the pictures to him.  

Sebastiao Salgado
Sahara, Sebastiao Salgado
Sahara, South of Djanet, Algeria, 2009. © Sebastiao Salgado

The Process

Of all the photographs in The Americans, I think there were only two or three photographs where I did talk to the person, but most of the time I was completely silent, walking through the landscape, through the city, and photographing and turning away. Well, that is my temperament, to be silent, just looking on… What I liked about photography was precisely this: that I could walk away and I could be silent and it was done very quickly and there was no direct involvement.  

Robert Frank

People will never understand the patience a photographer requires to make a great photograph, all they see is the end result. I can stand in front of a leaf with a dewdrop, or a raindrop, and stay there for ages just waiting for the right moment. Sure, people think I’m crazy, but who cares? I see more than they do!

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Sometimes, I’d take shots without aiming, just to see what happened. I’d rush into crowds – bang! bang! … It must be close to what a fighter feels after jabbing and circling and getting hit, when suddenly there’s an opening, and bang! Right on the button. It’s a fantastic feeling.

William Klein

Related: Street Photography Quotes

I like discovery. I’m attracted to it. I like the feeling of going out, being at someplace, looking in at something. Observation is important.

Bruce Davidson

Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.

Joe McNally

I very rarely start photographing immediately. I like to walk and walk and walk. And the beach was nice because I can walk and unwind and then after a while start photographing. You can go to the sea where it’s beautiful and you are a part of it and I guess you want to let somebody else know about it.  

Harry Callahan

It may look like I’m just pointing the camera at what’s in front of me. But I’m trying to photograph what people see, but don’t notice – something that’s mysterious and unknown in everyday life.  

Daido Moriyama

A photographer must be prepared to catch and hold on to those elements which give distinction to the subject or lend it atmosphere. They are often momentary, chance-sent things: a gleam of light on water, a trail of smoke from a passing train, a cat crossing a threshold, the shadows cast by a setting sun. Sometimes they are a matter of luck; the photographer could not expect or hope for them. Sometimes they are a matter of patience, waiting for an effect to be repeated that he has seen and lost or for one that he anticipates.

Bill Brandt

I’ll wait for colour, I’ll wait for light and I’ll wait for people to walk into a situation. First, find your picture and your background. Setup your camera and wait. If you wait long enough something will eventually enter the frame you can finish your composition.

Sam Abell
Travel Photography Quotes, Sam Abell
Branding and Castration. Utica, Montana, 1984. © Sam Abell/National Geographic

What Makes a Good Travel Photograph?

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

Jim Richardson

It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country.

Bill Brandt

My ambition was always to show aspects of daily life as if we were seeing them for the first time.

Brassai

Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.

David Alan Harvey

A picture of a tramp sitting on a park bench can be very interesting… sometimes. This also applies to a picture of a man in high hat and tails. But-snap them both on the same park bench, and you have one of the most forceful, ironical features in photography… contrast.

Weegee

When you look into your camera, if you see an image you have ever seen before, don’t click the shutter.

Alexey Brodovitch

The important thing is, you have to have something important to say about the world.  

Paul Strand

I believe in photographs that convey a certain level of ambiguity, that ask questions rather than provide answers.

Alex Webb

There are many photographs which are full of life but which are confusing and difficult to remember. It is the force of an image which matters.  

Brassai

It is easy to make a picture of someone and call it a portrait. The difficulty lies in making a picture that makes the viewer care about a stranger.

Paul Strand

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

Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach.  

Walker Evans

I remember when an editor at the National Geographic promised to run about a dozen of my landscape pictures from a story on the John Muir trail as an essay, but when the group of editors got together, someone said that my pictures looked like postcards.

Galen Rowell

Related: Quote Series: What Makes a Good Photograph?

I think just about everything has been tackled, but it may be that things will be done again, only better and differently.  

Jacques-Henri Lartigue

I still regard myself as an amateur today and I hope that’s what I’ll stay until the end of my life. Because I’m forever a beginner who discovers the world again and again.

Andre Kertesz

The most powerful stories are the ones that unite us, not divide us.

Ami Vitale
Travel Photography Quotes, Vitale
The Guardian Warriors of Nothern Kenya. © Amy Vitale

Quotes from Non-Photographers

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

Ray Bradbury

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.

Teddy Roosevelt

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Neale Donald Walsch

A journey of a thousand miles, must begin with a single step.  

Lao Tzu

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

Dalai Lama

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

Susan Sontag

Take only memories, leave only footprints.

Chief Seattle

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 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
Marc Riboud Photo
Washing elephants in the Ganges. India, 1956. © Marc Riboud Estate

Travel Quotes

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.

Paulo Coelho

Live your life by a compass, not a clock.

Stephen Covey

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Saint Augustine

The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.

Sir Richard Burton

Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.  

Yogi Bhajan

The trick is not to forget where you came from and where you have been.

Sandy Triolo

He who would travel happily must travel light.

Antoine de St. Exupery

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Gustave Flaubert

Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.

Tennessee Williams

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.

Seneca

Not all those who wander are lost.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Ibn Battuta
Mother and child
Mother and child at a car window. Mumbai, 1993 © Steve McCurry

The Journey

A ship in a harbor is safe, but it not what ships are built for.

John A. Shedd

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Andre Gide

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The journey not the arrival matters.

T.S. Eliot

The traveler is active; he goes strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him…

Daniel J. Boorstin

The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler, you’re a f’*ing tourist.

Guillermo del Toro

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.

Lao Tzu

Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.

Kurt Vonnegut

The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost.

Henry David Thoreau

The two impulses in travel are to get away from home, and the other is to pursue something – a landscape, people, an exotic place. Certainly finding a place that you like or discovering something unusual is a very sustaining thing in travel.  

Paul Theroux

Difficult roads always lead to beautiful destinations.

Zig Ziglar

One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.

Henry Miller

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled.

Robert Frost
Martin Parr Quotes
The Amalfi Coast, Naples, 2014. © Martin Parr

Travel Photography Summary

Unlike many photography genres, travel photography requires the ability to function across many specialties: landscape, documentary, portrait, street, wildlife, and architecture to name a few. 

When we think of travel photography, we often believe that you have to visit some exotic location on the other side of the world. The reality is, you don’t need to spend a fortune, nor live out of a rucksack to capture great photos. 

What you might consider being the perfect shooting location, other people may consider dull and mundane (and vice-versa). 

Great travel photography comes from great locations. 

Sometimes the best photos can often be found in your own country (and even your own neighborhood). Do some research, find your story, then start your photo project and see where it takes you…

Art is not to be found by touring to Egypt, China, or Peru; if you cannot find it at your own door, you will never find it.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Travel Photography Quotes Final Words

There you have it – over 100 of the best travel photography quotes from photographers, writers, artists, explorers and many more. I hope some of these quotes inspire you to plan your next photo project! 

Have a favorite travel photography quote? Are there any others you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Finally, don’t forget to bookmark the page and share it with friends and other photographers through the usual channels. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed this post.

David

Founder of Photogpedia.com. Photography enthusiast, occasional filmmaker, part-time writer and full-time dreamer. Rediscovered photography in 2012 and have been trying to level up my photography skills since (I'm getting there) #chasingthecreative

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