The Picture Coach

“I can’t tell you how to shoot every situation but I can teach you how to THINK like a photographer.”
That was my mantra back when I first started teaching, at Santa Monica College in California, more than a decade ago. It was a basic photography class, and I still remember my first day there, standing in front of 30 people and wondering how I was going to keep their attention for 3 hours. I had tons of photography experience – a newspaper career, assignments for all the big magazines, Time, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, even a full-page picture in Life Magazine, the destination all shooters sought to reach. But I quickly realized that being a good photographer does make you a great teacher. Like photography itself, teaching requires hard work.
That’s where The Picture Coach comes in. I’ve since moved to Washington D.C., published a book (Faces of NASCAR – you can check it out at, but I kind of miss my teaching days. After years of informal coaching – it seems like every doctor in America is an amateur photographer, and so are all the parents on my kids’ soccer teams – I’ve decided to create this blog, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions I get.
Here you will find tips on everything from composition to lighting, a little talk of camera gear, but also much more – interviews with working photographers, picture editors and all manner of people who have an interest in, or practice photography. In the end, my goal is to teach you how to think like a photographer.

What’s going to be on the blog?


The web is over flowing with techie stuff. I searched “Photoshop” on You Tube and it kicked up 164,000 results. My vision for The Picture Coach is a place where photographers of all abilities can come to see and hear something different – an interactive conversation about what makes great photography.
A big component of the site will be interviews with photographers. I’ve spent my entire career working around these people and they all have great stories to tell – stories that people who see their images in newspapers, books and magazines almost never get to hear. We’ll see their photos, hear their stories and try to find out what makes them so good. How do they prepare for an assignment? Do they get nervous? How do they handle deadline pressure? Don’t forget: Every great shooter started out a humble beginner.
You’ll also hear from me, in occasional columns that I’ll post when possible. And you’ll find regular features, such as “What’s in Your Camera Bag?’’ a peek into the equipment that photography greats – and the mere amateurs – carry with them day to day.
And I want to hear from you, too. The whole point of this blog is to encourage conversations about photography. So don’t forget to write.
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One Response to “The Picture Coach”

  1. Rob IJsselstein says:

    Well, that was a very interesting lecture last night at the camera club of the Washington School of Photography. Also thank you for your critique on my photo of a heron in a Potomac side pool. I am preparing for a photoshoot with a charming young lady; it will be my second shoot to make portraits. I am a bit nervous about it. If you are interested, I could put some results on your blog with the aim to get some comments. I have no idea, however, how to do it. Nevertheless, I wish you much success with the blog

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