Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson

Contributor, Photographer

Jeff Carlson is an author, photographer, and writer of the “Smarter Image” column on PopPhoto, which explores how computational photography, AI, and machine learning are fundamentally changing the art and science of photography. He’s covered the personal technology field from Macs and PalmPilots to iPhones and mirrorless cameras, publishing in paper magazines, printed books, ebooks, and websites. He’s also the co-host of the podcasts PhotoActive and Photocombobulate, and has spoken at several conferences and events. He lives in Seattle, where, yes, it is just as gray and wet and coffee-infused as you think it is.



  • Author of more than 75 books covering photography and personal computing, published by Rocky Nook, Pearson/Peachpit Press, and Take Control Books.
  • Article credits include CreativePro, DPReview, Macworld, The Seattle Times, TidBITS, The Wirecutter, Adobe Create, iMore,, Photoshop Elements Techniques, HOW Design, and Adobe Magazine.
  • Published photographer specializing in landscape and slice-of-life photography. Work has been featured in Adobe Create, appears on many book covers and interiors for Rocky Nook and Pearson/Peachpit Press, and has hung in the Art Wolfe Gallery in Seattle.
  • Leader or co-leader of photography workshops throughout the American Northwest.



Jeff’s writing and publishing career began with a handful of article bylines, a PalmPilot full of contacts, and a hazy “five-year plan to become a full-time writer” that kicked into gear suddenly when his employer shuttered the book packaging company where he worked. In the decades since, he’s written news, analysis, and how-to articles covering the earliest days of web design, the rebirth and dominance of Apple, the rise of digital and computational photography, and most of the technology innovations that have shaped the modern world. He’s published scores of books about personal technology (from the PalmPilot to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch), design, and digital photo and video editing.

He’s spoken before large and small audiences at industry events such as Macworld Expo/Macworld | iWorld, CreativePro Week, and the HOW Design Conference, as well as taught remote classes and hosted webinars for online events.

As a photography workshop leader, Jeff has led personal one-day photo excursions in Seattle, and been a co-leader of small-group adventures in the San Juan Islands, the Palouse area of Eastern Washington State, Northern California, and Oregon.

His writing, photography, and workshop experiences inform and inspire the podcasts he currently co-hosts, PhotoActive (with Kirk McElhearn) and Photocombobulate (with Mason Marsh).


Jeff graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in English from Whitworth University, back when it was just a century-old indie darling known as Whitworth College. While there he was Editor-in-Chief of the Whitworthian, the campus newspaper, and could often be spotted riding his bike at all hours to the newspaper office with a Macintosh SE slung over his shoulders. He was also a featured student speaker at his graduation ceremony, where he showed a surprising lack of aptitude for public speaking; he’s just as surprised as the patient folks who attended that he’s become a conference speaker and educator.

Favorite photography subject

Much of my experience is in landscape photography, but I’m drawn to portraiture and the interaction between photographer and subject.

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