Yearly Archives: 2013

How I Photographed The Emotions Of Naples

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0006

Shooting a book from scratch of a city you love is a wonderful project especially when it is as rich photographically as Naples.

Naples is Italy on steriods, everything is on surround sound, emotions are strong as is the driving! Life is rich, markets overflow on the streets and the Neapolitans inhabit their emotions (all of them) like a comfortable shirt.

I wanted Naples A Way Of Love to reflect this richness of emotions.

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Fab author Lisa Clifford and I discussed and researched Naples for months before shooting.

Lisa the true pro that she is got on the batphone straight to the Italian Cultural Association who gave us access to photograph so many special places out of hours and normally out of bounds.

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But for me what I really wanted to capture was the heart and soul of this great town and it’s people.

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On previous trips to Naples during a 12 year period I was astounded by the passion and verve with which the Neapolitans live life.

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They literally throw their bodies into a discussion on the simplest subject, live their lives on the streets for all to see, worry just about enjoying today as tomorrow is another day and revel in spontaneity.

I adored the body language of this guy!

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To capture this as a photographer you need to be part of life. Lisa and I walked the streets of Naples most days from daylight to dusk talking with the locals, drinking coffee with them, entering kitchens and pizzeria’s and watching life unfurl before our eyes.

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I am always looking at body language, trying to capture movement, being as discreet as possible in some moments and let life play out as naturally as possible in others and then provocative when I need to be so the image is full of life.

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I am always looking at life like choreographed music and what it is saying to me? A linked arm, a tender moment, fun, body language and when the moment it is right and all the legs and planets have aligned I snap!

This was the first time I have shot Italy since Italian Joy with total freedom and no agenda. Naples A Way Of Love and it’s photos were taken from the heart, in awe and wonder of this great town and for the pure joy of taking great photos.

Where can you get it?

All good books stores in Australia and New Zealand and if you can’t make it into one you can order it online here




“The crisis is not financial: the crisis is in people’s hearts. We need more love and happiness not money.”  Anna Matuozzo from Naples A Way Of Love 

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‘M’ is for Manual Photography Week 4 – Exposure

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Original Image via here

Dearest Manual Enthusiasts

If you have made it this far my sincere congratulations. I know there seems like a lot to plough through (hey we’re just getting started) but once you have mastered the basics of manual photography it’s about practice and moving onto some more advanced concepts.

Today I want to chat about exposure because this is the zenith of photography. And you need to know how to correctly expose your images.

A correctly exposed image is simply the right combination of an F-Stop, Shutter Speed and ISO. Yep girls, that is how easy it all is!!

Now I can hear you saying but what is the right combination of F-Stops and Shutter Speeds?

Think of it like a recipe, you have the choice of many ingredients and depending on how you want your cake or photo to turn out on which ingredients you choose.

You can start by choosing an F-Stop or by choosing a shutter speed you want to work on or an ISO. Depending on what light you are shooting you will need to consider the ISO so select one that you think suits the lighting conditions.

Now choose an F-Stop that you would like to work with and find something you want to photograph.

Once you have done that, look into your viewfinder and at the bottom of the image you should see a slider like in the above image. This indicates if your image is correctly exposed or not.

To expose your image correctly adjust your F-Stop or Shutter Speed so that the slider finishes right in the centre. As you move your dials watch closely and you will see it move.

Trouble Shooting:

If your dial will no longer move you may need to adjust up or down your ISO as your ISO doesn’t match the light conditions and the F-Stop/Shutter speed combination you want to work with.

Once you have found the right exposure re-check your shutter speed and make sure it is above 1/125 second if you want to hand hold your camera otherwise you will have camera shake. If it’s not consider changing the F-Stop to compensate for it.

If you have found the right exposure you but want to change F-Stop or Shutter speed, remember that you can’t change one without the other otherwise your image will be under or over exposed. For eg. If you were working at F-8 1/250 sec and wanted to shoot with F-5.6 you would need to adjust your shutter speed to 1/500 sec.. Why because when you go from F-8 to F5.6 you are doubling the light coming into the camera and to compensate you need to change your shutter speed so that it will take this ‘adjustment away’. From 1/250 to 1/500 sec you are halving the amount of light coming into your camera..

There are somethings that will trick your camera into exposing the image incorrectly, like a pure white wall or a pure black wall or a back lit image. For this exercise try and avoid these.

When you have found the right combination and your slider is directly underneath the indicator take a pic and voila it should be correctly exposed.

I hope these past 4 weeks have helped you make the jump from automatic to manual. If you were lost at any point my suggestion would be to go back and try again. Sometimes the concepts are a little slow to sink in.

Wishing you wonderful photos and much enjoyment taking your digital SLR off road.




“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

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Leaving Loved Ones For The Festive Season

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Avedon and Francesco

I thought I would share with you a photo of ‘my boys’.

I feel torn in two on days like today but also lucky.

My heart is heavy saying goodbye to my mini family, Francesco and super furball Avedon to head to the airport knowing when I arrive on the other side of the world my beloved family and friends will be waiting.

A giant thank-you to all of you for putting up with me this year.

For now a little break from Paris and if you want to follow my Aussie adventures you can find me here on Instagram.

Much love to all of you and to any of those who are leaving loved ones behind for the festive season you are in my thoughts.

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.” Mother Teresa

PS: I am giving a way dinner for two at my Sydney launch all details here


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Win Dinner For 2 @ My Naples A Way Of Love Sydney Launch

Naples A Way Of Love small

 Naples A Way Of Love

Did you miss out on booking a place at my Sydney book launch (sorry it’s sold out)?

Well, I am giving away dinner for two and a signed copy of Naples A Way of Love to a lucky reader.

Woohoo.. It’s going to be a fun night of Naples, pizza and fun..

The details are as follow:

Event: Naples A Way Of Love Book Presentation – Sydney

Date:  Wednesday 11th December

Time: 6.30pm for 7pm

Where: Napoli in Bocca, 73 Dalhousie Street Haberfield NSW 2045

The Prize: Dinner for Two valued at $40 a head and a signed copy of my book.

If you would like the chance to win please share this post, like me on Instagram or Facebook or leave me a comment with the tag #naplesawayoflove. The more you share the more chances you have to win.

The gift is also re-giftable.. If you win and can’t come or are all ready coming you can give it to your mates..(one way to win brownie points and look like a super friend before Xmas) ha ha..

Drawn on the 8th December 2013.

“I spent a college semester in a small town in Italy – and that is where I truly tasted food for the first time.” Alton Brown




Please share for a chance to win.

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‘M’ is for Manual Photography Week 3 – ISO and Depth of Field

F2.8 50 mm lens carla coulson

PHOTO 1: Depth of field – Shot at F2.8mm Note the focus point doesn’t change in the following images. Wallpaper, book, phone, most of tulips and chair in foreground blurry. Click on photo to read all text

A big fabulous good morning to you as I am about to leave for Sydney.

This is the 3rd post in the series ‘M’ is for Manual photography and it is for those of you who want to get off automatic on your fab digital SLR and head on over to manual. You can catch the first two posts here  Your Camera and F-Stops and Shutter Speeds .

So here we go on one of the most exciting things about photography and something all the girls love. Good old depth of field.

Depth of Field

The depth of field refers to the amount of distance in your photo that is in focus from your focal point (the point you choose to focus on). Yep with manual photography we get to decide what we want in focus and what we want blurry.

Now here is the brain bender for all of us! There is double whammy bonus that is associated with F-Stops. Not not only do F-Stops control the amount of  light coming  into your camera (which you saw in Week 2 they also control the depth of field).

Are you still with me?

So we learnt last week that F-Stops halve or double the amount of light coming into your camera as we change them but something else happens.. drum roll….

Yep, girls it’s called more blur or less blur and it is one of the most fabulous techniques in photography.

So let’s talk about the difference in depth of field of our F-Stops.

When you choose a point to focus on in your image known as focal point that is the point you want to be sharp. There is a ‘field’ of space that is in focus other than the focal point depending on the F-Stop you have chosen.

I did a  little example for you starting with F2.8 changing to F5.6 then F8 then F22. The top shot (Photo 1) was shot at F2.8 and I focus on St Gennaro the little statue and you can see very little other than the stack of photos he is sitting on is in focus and maybe one of the tulips.

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PHOTO 2: F5.6 same focal point on St Gennaro

In Photo 2 I didn’t change the focus point here I only changed the F-Stop and the shutter speed. Changing From F2.8 to F56 meant I gained a lot more depth of field. If you have a look at the line on the right it has lengthened from the first shot. The foreground is in focus (not  the chair)  and more of the tulip flowers are in focus.

F8 50 mm lens carla coulson

PHOTO 3: F8 – Same focal point on St Gennaro

In Photo 3 I have kept the same focal point and changed the FStop to F8 and I am gaining more depth of field. You will see the line on the right stretches from in front of the chair right back to the tip of the book. The red phone is also starting to come into focus and the wallpaper is far less blurry than in Photo 1.

F22 50 mm Carla coulson PHOTO 4: F22 – The focal point is still on St Gennaro

In Photo 4 I went from F8 to F22 and you can see everything is in focus from the white chair in the foreground to the crazy wallpaper including the book, the orchid and the phone. F22 is the big kahuna of FStops, you know you want everything in focus this is your starting point.

F2- Only the focal point is in focus and a couple of mm behind it and the rest of the photo and background is soft blur.

F2.8- Still a very shallow depth of field but a little more field than the F2

F4 – More depth of field but still considered a shallow depth of field

F5.6 – A middle of the road depth of field that you will still have blur in the background

F8 – Good when shooting more than one person who are on different planes

F16 – Almost all the image is in focus

F22 – The whole world is almost in focus from the point of focus to the infinity of the background..



Image via Fuji


Remember in the old days when you wanted to take some photos you would buy a roll of film. Often the person at the camera shop would ask you would you like a 100, 200 or 400 etc?

These numbers referred to ISO or sometimes ASA and they are the numbers that determine the sensitivity of the film. You would choose your film based on the ‘amount’ of light you were going to shoot in or the effect you wanted.

The higher you go in the ISO numbers the more sensitive the film or ISO becomes which basically means it’s like gaining stops of light. So if you went from a 400 ISO to an 800 ISO it’s like doubling the light that will enter your camera. The same concept as we saw with F-stops and Shutter speeds (say for example you were working at 1/125 second, F4, ISO 400 but you wanted to shoot at 1/125 second F5.6 to have more depth of field you could go up  800 ISO and that would give you an extra stop of light you need via the sensibility of the film/digital).

Now let’s talk about light for a second because that’s the basis of photography.

When is there lots of light and when is there less light?

Midday in the middle of summer is about the most natural light you can have.

When you go into the shade on a sunny day there is less light than standing the in full sun.

In summer in the morning or the evening the light is softer, less harsh or strong than at midday so technically there is less light.

In winter the light has different angles and is softer than in summer and for example on a Parisian’s winter day the light is very low .

Entering a building you are dramatically reducing the amount of light that your camera will see.

Twilight hour as the sun is going you are loosing light.

Night – very low light

So it is really important that you understand what kind of light you are shooting in as this will help you choose your ISO. If you were shooting hand held (not on a tripod)  the following may help you select your ISO.

ISO Number – Light conditions

100 – Bright sunny day tonnes of light – Low grain/noise

200 – You have a little more flexibility with 200 than 100 like gaining a stop of light – low grain/noise

400 – Good for lower light conditions, cloudy, shady – Grain/noise

800 –  Shooting hand held inside or as the light is fading around twilight

1600 – Photo journalists often used this ISO as if they wanted to shoot inside or outside they had a lot of flexibility

3200 – Shooting at night or in low light interiors hand held – Really Grainy

You will see from the list above that as you go up in ISO your images will have more grain or noise. Everything in photography is a trade-off.

Now the key with ISO is about what light you are shooting in. In the old days say I wanted to shoot in bright sunlight (ie tonnes of light) I would have chosen a 100 ISO film and that is exactly what I would choose now on my digital dial.  Why? Because having a lot of light I don’t need to compensate by using more sensitivity with my ISO.

Now we are really lucky with digital because instead of having a roll of film in our camera that doesn’t suit the lighting conditions we can simply change the ISO setting on our camera by pressing the ISO button and rolling our dial.

I would suggest you do some tests of your own like I did in the above example with F-Stops to see what happens before your eyes and blow the images up on your screen. It’s magic.

Also press down your ISO button and see what happens. You should see the numbers moving along the bottom when looking through the viewfinder.

You’re almost there.. Next week exposure and once you have nailed that you are on your way.

Best of luck

“Balance of light is the problem, not the amount. Balance between shadows and highlights determines where the emphasis goes in the picture…make sure the major light in a picture falls at right angles to the camera.” Elliot Erwitt




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