Jeff Cable Photography
Shooting from the sidelines of each Olympic Games since 2008, Jeff is never
far from the action. As a sports and event shooter, he loves capturing and
sharing important moments in his subjects’ lives. Jeff is also known as an
established educator and enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge with up and
Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?
I was born and raised in San Francisco and have stayed in the Bay Area for my whole
life. Of course, that is not completely true since I have traveled extensively for much
of the last 20 years, but I still call it home. I currently live in Saratoga, CA, which
is about 45 minutes South of San Francisco.
What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you
most passionate about shooting?
I shoot a really wide variety of photos from local events to the Olympic Games.
My passion for photography bleeds across all genres. There is definitely a thrill
when shooting the Olympics, but I also love shooting family celebrations, landscapes,
portraits, macro and teaching photography.
How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?
I have been shooting professionally for 9 years now, but been shooting photos for
much longer. My entry into this crazy world of photography happened almost by accident.
A friend of a friend asked me to shoot their daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. Everyone who
was at their party saw the images I was projecting, and asked me to shoot their
events. The rest is history.
How has Zenfolio helped your business?
I was using Apple’s iWeb program to create my own web site and did this for many
years. But then, last year, Apple announced that they would no longer support that
application. At that point I knew that I was in serious need of a new web site.
And having a marketing background, I know how important my web site is to my business.
At the time, I had a little over 11,000 fans on Facebook, so I decided to ask them
what they were using, and many responded that they were using Zenfolio. I did some
research, saw how easy it was to set up my site and was able to move my entire web
site over to Zenfolio in a couple of days. That is incredible. I also love the fact
that Zenfolio is web based (unlike iWeb) so I can make changes from any computer
and anywhere in the world. This is a big deal for me since I travel so much. Now,
I can add new images to my home page directly from the Olympics. I could not do
that from Beijing, Vancouver or London. I can’t wait to do this from the next
Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?
Unlike most other photographers, I do not use Lightroom much. I use a program called
Photo Mechanic to sort through all of my images and then I do my retouching in Adobe
Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?
I have been a Canon user for the last 10 years and I really love their products.
They have amazing cameras and their lenses are superb.
What is the best part of being a professional photographer?
Honestly, I have to answer this with three different answers. First of all, I love
the way that photography has changed the way I see the world. I see beauty in the
simplest things now. Secondly, I love the people that I meet. Whether it is at a
photography trade show or out shooting in the streets. I always meet amazing people.
Lastly, I get a chance to travel the world and see things that most people never
get to see. Every time I am at the Olympics I am amazed that I get to see all the
action from up front. We have the best seats in the house, we get to mingle with
the athletes, and we can go to any event we like.
Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?
Most of my photography skills were self-taught. But early in my career, I was fortunate
to become close friends with some of the best photographers in the world, and they
pushed me to become better with each shoot. Their honesty and willingness to share
is what inspires me to share with up and coming photographers today.
What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?
Learn as much about business and marketing as you do about taking and editing photos.
This is a really tough business, and there are many great shooters, with bad business
skills, who cannot make it. Also, be persistent and don’t be afraid to shoot images
in your own style.
What was your first published work?
I honestly can’t remember. How’s that? I know that I had numerous photos published
in some of the photo magazines in the late 90s, but it might have been the national
ad campaign I shot for Lexar.
What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?
The feeling of getting that really killer shot! That is a feeling that cannot be
described. I love that! As for other photographers, I have been inspired by Moose
Peterson, Jay Dickman, Joe McNally and so many others.
Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?
If you are a proficient photographer, show your work to as many people as possible.
What is the very first camera you ever owned?
It was a Pentax ME Super. I loved that camera.
Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.
I have been playing ice hockey for the last 13 years and love it!
Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?
Am I a first class shooter? Can you please tell United Airlines that so they upgrade
me every time? Honestly, I feel lucky every day to be a mentor to people and to
have followers who appreciate my work. I think it is really important for us established
photographers to give back to the photo community and help spread the passion.