Self Development

7 Quotes Photographers Need in Their Lives

Do you feel like being a ‘creative’ or an ‘artist’ is just too darn hard? Like it’s a constant mental battle? Battling with your feelings of inadequacy and the ever increasing pressure to create something that is ‘perfect’, and let’s not forget original! Maybe you tell yourself that you weren’t born a creative and should just quit and leave it to those who are actually gifted?

Well, you’re not alone. Every artist, (and human let’s be honest here), has these exact thoughts throughout their creative lifetime. The difference is how you let those thoughts affect your journey.

Take a deep breath, and find comfort in knowing we’ve all been there.

7 Quotes Photographers Need In Their Lives

7 Quotes Photographers Need for Inspiration, Motivation and Comfort on Their Journey.


1.  Art isn’t a result, it’s a journey ~ Seth Godin

Often when we create something and fail, we attach this precious idea of our creative worth to the result or outcome. Failed shoot? A poorly executed idea? Didn’t turn out the way you wanted? Well, guess what, your worth as an artist (and a person) isn’t attached to that result. Focus on the bigger picture, your journey as a photographer. We’re all at different stages on our journey so how can you compare results?

Love this? Read Seth Godin’s: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?


Art isn't a result, it's a journey ~ @ThisIsSethsBlog

Click to Tweet


2.  If I waited for inspiration, I’d never have any work ~ Chuck Close

Art isn’t about gaining exclusive access to some fancy shmancy, inspiration dripping club where you get to exclaim I am a ‘true artist’ because I have a degree in art wank and get moved by a plastic cup with popcorn glued to the rim, (I’ve actually seen this in a gallery once. True story). Sometimes you just need to create in order to keep moving on your photography journey. Don’t wait for inspiration to dictate how quickly you move along that path. Shoot, create, find out what works and what doesn’t.

tls quote 1

3.  Everything has been done before, do it better ~ Steve Simon

There are very few original ideas left out there, so you could work on the premise that you’ll most likely not be the owner of one in your lifetime. Depressing thought? Not really. Art doesn’t have to be original, never seen before to be appreciated. See images that you appeal to you? Shoot it! Do it better. Make it yours.

Love this? Read Steve Simon’s: The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great.

Everything has been done before, do it better ~ @stevesimon

Click to Tweet


4.  Your work is something you do, not who you are ~ Austin Kleon

You’re going to make crappy work, I can guarantee you that. It’s part of the journey baby, whether you like it or not. But guess what, crappy work is not who you are! Liken it to Goyte’s – Somebody That Used to Know, it’s just something you did once, (or twice. Or if I am honest, once a week). So there. You’re not crappy. Frame this for when you need a reminder and don’t get attached. Thank me later.

Love this? Read Austin Kleon’s: Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.


5.  Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough ~ Alain de Botton

Ah yes. You’re probably thinking that this is what those annoying ‘glass half full’ people say, to try and pull you out of your funk. Why do they do that? Well, the real reason is they care about you and the second, IT’S TRUE. I’m glad your embarrassed by your work. Me too. By so much of it. I say good, it means your learning and pushing boundaries. Time to relax and have a brownie.

7 Quotes Photographers Need In Their Lives

6.  Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating ~ John Cleese

By definition, we’re all creative. Creativity is the hallmark of our species. Don’t let current social ideas tell you that you need to a) be able to draw to be an artist (I can’t draw!) or b) that your output needs to fall into the ‘creative arts’ category. If you are alive, you are a creative person. Not to burst your bubble that hey, we’re all actually creative, because this is actually great news. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re not creative or will never strike a creativity gold mine, cause mate you were born with it! Now go forth and be human.


7.  Self-assign your dream job ~ Penny De Los Santos

The sad news is that most of us will never be randomly approached by a client with a bag full of money and a contract to sign up for our dream job. )Does anyone else even know what your dream job is anyway? Have you put it out there into the universe?). Well, the great news is that you don’t need to! Who is this journey for anyway? You, remember? So don’t wait. Life is too short to wait. Give yourself the gift of creating those personal projects that really make you feel alive. Self-assign that dream job.

Self assign your dream job ~ @pennydelossanto

Click to Tweet

Do you have any quotes photographers need? What photography quotes inspire you? Please comment and share the love!


You Might Also Like

  • Reply Marisa Franca @ All Our Way May 6, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Hi Rachel! I really needed these quotes this morning. I believe life and photography is a learning process and I get frustrated I’m not learning fast enough 🙁 I have several learning videos made by Penny De Los Santos and I really like her. She is so down to earth and I am picking up some new tips from her. And I have to thank YOU because I am always inspired and enthused after I read your posts and you’re kind enough to share your talent and tips — Thank you! Have a great weekend.

    • Reply Rachel May 11, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Oh that is great Marisa! We all get frustrated, I am with you there. That is so great to hear!

  • Reply Aysegul May 6, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    These are amazing quotes Rachel. I am a huge fan of Seth Godin and Austin Kleon. As a matter of fact, I just read Austin’s latest book, Show Your Work. Such a great read with a lot of great ideas to get out there and share your work with the world…
    As a photographer, I sometimes beat myself up for not getting the right shot, compare myself to others, and feel not good enough. But in reality, we all have our own paths and need to work on staying on it. Getting 1% better each day is enough. As long as you do it
    It is easier said than done, but a working process for sure…
    Find so much inspiration in your words/photography/candidness, my friend. Keep them coming.

    • Reply Rachel May 11, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Me too! How are you finding the book? I am always comparing myself to others much to my detriment. I write these posts as a reminder for myself as well. (Take my own advice Rachel I say). Great to know we are not alone I think!

  • Reply Wilmari May 7, 2016 at 2:33 am

    Thank you for always being so encouraging Rachel. You and your work are an inspiration. I’m on the brink of following my dream and growing as an artist and this quote by Ira Glass is one of my all time favourites:

    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

    • Reply Rachel May 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Oh you are so welcome Wilmari! I love when I see my favourite creatives sharing their struggle, it helps me sleep at night knowing that there is nothing wrong with me! I love your quote. Thanks for sharing. I am always on the look out for inspiring words.

  • Reply nicole ( May 8, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Thank you for another great post, Rachel! I love Alain de Botton’s quote here, how right he is! A quote that has inspired me lately is this one by Seth Godin: “Anxiety is practicing failure in advance.” I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind at all times and it really helped me to approach things (including my photography) a little more relaxed.

    • Reply Rachel May 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Oh this is a good one too Nicole. Anxiety is definitely something I’ve had to deal with in my life. I like how this put. Me in a nutshell some days I think!

  • Reply Weekly Coups de Coeur - Pardon Your French May 23, 2016 at 4:44 am

    […] was inspired by Rachel’s post “7 quotes Photographers Need in Their Life”. My favorite: Your work is something you do, not who you are ~ Austin Kleon. You’re right […]

  • Reply heline June 14, 2016 at 4:57 am

    The quote, which inspires me deeply is “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
    For me it means I can create anything I want, I am in control,and that I can always, always learn and improve myself and my photos. There’s no failure.

    • Reply Rachel June 14, 2016 at 11:17 am

      This is great Heline! I love this quote too and I think it really resonates with food photography for me as this type doesn’t occur naturally. You have to create it from the ground up. Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply CrazyLittlePolka. June 16, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I like the quotes very much. I am in the beginers phase, so they are just for me. 🙂 The quote that I have printed and standing on my desk is: “Development happens outside a comfort zone” – Lama Ole Nydhal – that is very useful in hard moments.

    • Reply Rachel June 17, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Great quote! That is so very true. Thanks for sharing. One to definitely keep in mind in those hard times.

  • Reply Erin September 12, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I love all of these so much! My favorite is “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough” by Alain de Botton

    This applies not only to my work but also my life – I’ve been through a lot and overcome some serious hurdles. Thank you so much for sharing these!

    • Reply Rachel September 16, 2016 at 11:27 am

      Hey Erin, thanks for sharing your favourite quote from the post. I think that is so true and something I feel quite often!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.