Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I love photography!

I have been a professional photographer for more than 8 years now, and have been teaching photography for the last couple of years. And since all of my classes are online at the B&H YouTube Channel, and available for free, people often ask me why I do all of this. So I thought I would write a blog to let you know why I love photography so much. If you take and share photos, my guess is that you will be able to relate to many of these.

A grouping of Tulips by a government building in Toronto. Something beautiful that I would have just walked by and not "seen" if not for photography.

I see the world and light in a whole new way

Believe it or not, before I got into photography, I would see a tree full of fall colors, drive by a beautiful hill of flowers, look at snow covered mountains, see someone's face with tons of character, and honestly, I did not pay attention to those details. I remember driving with my mother and she would say "look at the amazing colors in these trees" and I would say "uh huh" and think nothing of it. It was not until I started capturing photos and seeing the beauty on my screen, that I began to see details, colors and light in a whole new way. Now, I will be eating in a restaurant and see someone sitting by the window, and think "wow, look at the perfect light on their face. That would make a perfect portrait." I feel like a veil was lifted and I see what I was missing for all those years before. I was just telling someone today, "Photography has changed the way the world sees me and the way I see the world."

Jessica Steffens (USA Water Polo Gold Medalist and now Friend) and me

The camera helps me meet amazing people

The photo above shows me with an Olympic gold medalist, but as cool as it is to get to know Olympians and other well known people, I am talking about your average interesting people who surround us in our daily lives. I can not tell you how many times that people have seen me with all of my equipment and asked what I was shooting. Or, assuming that I know what I am doing with a camera, they will ask me to take their photo. Many times this leads to a conversation with these strangers. And I have met some really amazing people across the globe. Even just last week, if you read the previous blog entry, I met 3 people from Europe and ended up joining them for lunch and dinner and getting an invite to their place in London.

And it is not just people who I am meeting face-to-face, it is the chance to interact with all of you. I get numerous emails every day from blog readers, people on the Facebook page, and others who want to share images or ask questions. I was very lucky early in my career to have so many great photographers willing to share their knowledge with me. I like being able to do the same for others now.

One of the last photos of my mother, and one that helps define my photography.

I get to capture family history and memories

Sure, when I shoot an event like a bar mitzvah or wedding, I am making money doing that. But that is not the only reason that I shoot these types of events. I love being there to capture that important moment in time, a moment that will hopefully be remembered forever through my images. This was never more true than my own experience taking a photo of my mother, who passed away 2 1/2 years ago. Four months before she died, my mother took the extended family on a cruise to Mexico. I took a photo of my mother, on the formal night, that even she liked (and she never liked herself in photos). Four months later, she was gone and I am SO thankful to have that one photo. It was at this time that I realized that we are not photographers, we are historians!

I will also tell you that there is nothing that makes me happier than to walk into a friend or neighbor's house and see, on their walls or mantle, countless family photos that I have taken for them over the years. Did I charge any of them for those photos? Nope. But I feel like I was well paid, in their sheer appreciation for the photos.
Brooklyn being a 3 year old
This is better than any check I have ever cashed!

Note: I wrote this blog on Saturday morning, and then headed out for a day of fun with my family other family friends. When we got to our friend's home, we were happy to see that their granddaughter was there as well. Since I had my camera with me, I thought it would be fun to take some photos of Brooklyn in their backyard. I shot a whole bunch of photos of her, and then at the end of the evening, she came downstairs in her pajamas and handed me this thank you card. It just melted my heart, and, I thought to myself, "this is exactly what I just wrote about in the blog!"

My daughter learning to shoot at the early age of 8 years old.

I can inspire and teach others

I never once thought of becoming a teacher, and surely never pictured myself teaching photography. (Pun intended) But here I am many years later, and even though I never intended to become a teacher or mentor to others, it happened. I have so much passion for photography and really love sharing that with others. I have received many messages from others who tell me that I inspired them to take better photos or rekindled their love for the art. I love that my influence, in some way, has helped other people have that veil lifted to see subjects, color and light in a whole new way!

A recent family portrait for our close friends, the Ikedas.

I get to share photos with others

What good is it to take photos if nobody is ever going to see them? I love capturing images for myself and my family, but also to share with others. It is for this reason that I started this blog and created the Facebook page. Of course, when I first created the blog, it was for friends and family to see what I was up to. Now, with more than 30,000 readers a month, I am sharing to a wider group around the globe. And I am very thankful to have all of you who view the images, ask questions and give your opinions. You are a big reason why I love photography.

The Sydney Opera House. One of my favorite places in the world.

I get a chance to travel the globe and experience so many amazing things

I have been traveling the planet for more than 20 years, and feel so fortunate to see parts of the world that most do not. I have hung out of a helicopter (with the doors off) over New York City to shoot an ad, been on race tracks during Formula One races, been feet away from historic Olympic events. Because of my photography, I am invited to explore the world and capture its beauty. Even though I have traveled from the US to Australia 14 times, I still pinch myself when I get there. I never take any of this for granted. Some people like to come home from a new place with a t-shirt or mug, I like to come home with at least one great photo. I am about to go to Russia for my fourth Olympic Games to capture images of some of the best athletes in the world. I am lucky.

My son and two nephews having fun with me and my remote flashes.

I get to give back

To me, the most important word in the English language is "passion." And I try to do everything with passion. Whether it is interactions with my friends and family, playing ice hockey, driving, or shooting photos, I do it all with passion. And through my photography and this blog, I get to spread that passion to others.

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Unknown said...

Yup! :) That's why I shoot as well. I used to take photos just for my family. Then at one of my son's soccer games years ago, another soccer mom asked me to take their family photos. "We always love your photos! You can do this!" she told me. Since then, I have created my own little business, do many shoots a year, create photo cards, and have many friends and family members calling for my photos. And I love it!! Not quitting my day job, but I sure have fun with photography. Your words resonate with my soul. :) Love your shots, and thanks for the blog comments! ~Cheryl Martinelli, Pieces In Time Photography

Unknown said...

Nice Blog. This was a necessary topic to post about. Thanks for sharing.

Jess said...

Thanks Jeff! By the way, couple weeks ago we had a huge family gathering to celebrate Grampa's life. It was a sad day, the end of an era, but incredibly incredibly powerful.
My entire family (minus 2 cousins) were there, which is nearly 70 people. Amazing. My mom gave me the job of photographer. I was glad to have a job and a responsibility to capture the moments.
Sometimes I realize I was in the way, but I tried to stay out of people's vision (thanks to mom's HUGE lens). The emotions I was able to get were so cool. And I know that the family is thankful to have the pics now even if in the moment, they were not as pumped up about it.
Thanks for the inspiration!
My Mom had to go through all the images....I took lots! You told me that you never know when the perfect situation will happen, so I pretty much captured everything....yikes.

ncoomber1961 said...

Hi Jeff,
You were so right and I can certainly relate to many of you observation. I like you have a real passion for photography and started my own wedding photography business 4 years ago. Unfortunately like many people I have to hold down two jobs due to fincial commitments but my passion for providing my customers with those special memories is no less than someone who earns their whole income from being a tog. You are truly an inspirational guy and thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us all. If I can grow and share my own passion for photography half as much as you I will be one happy 52 year old brit....Thanks :0) best wishes
Nigel. (Nlc Photography)

Sue B said...

Thanks Jeff. I think "historian" is how I feel about it, in addition to sharing with others. Much of my photography has been about my sons and their "sports histories" through the years, and I continue to share the photos with the other families.

Chris said...

I quoted you on my blog post (

You are such an inspiration to me and my photography.


Chris Howard

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Chris - I am honored to be quoted on your site. I looked at your site and love your macro and DC shots!!!

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