Carla Coulson by Loc Boyle smallWould you like to bound out of bed and do a job you love everyday? Do you dream of becoming a pro photographer or taking the first steps in that direction? Fabbo, you are in the right place!

I switched careers from an unfulfilled businesswoman to a life I love as a photographer and I have personally road-tested the whole journey and each week I share the tips and stories I have learnt working as a pro photographer in magazines, fashion, portraiture and publishing here with you. And I REALLY LOVE photography and how it has changed my WHOLE life!

I’m Carla, an Australian living and working in Paris and I am married to an Italian. I started out in photography late in life. At the age of 35 I swapped a small business for a camera and Sydney for Florence. I studied photography in Florence and went on to further study in Sydney and just one year later had my first photographic story published in Marie Claire Australia.


The following year I had the great fortune to receive two commissions, covering Carnevale in Venice for Marie Claire Australia and shooting 4 travel stories for Qantas Magazine. During the past eleven years my fashion, portraiture and travel photography has been published in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Entertaining and Travelling, Gourmet Traveller, Inside Out, Belle, Collezioni, Firenze Magazine and the Australian Women’s Weekly. You can see some of my published work here.

By the way I have also photographed six photographic books with the fabulous publisher Penguin and written three of my own. Phew!! No wonder the years have flown.. My titles are Italian Joy, Paris Tango, Chasing a Dream, and I have collaborated on Naples A Way of LoveMy French Life, French Essence and My Amalfi Coast. The road has been long and joyous and I wouldn’t swap a day of my new life for anything. For any of you embarking on new adventures I wish you all the luckdust and happiness in the world.


I landed in Italy in August 2000 with just two suitcases and an old camera. The plan was to stay for a couple of months to study Italian. I fell instantly in love with Florence, the food, the people and my surroundings. One month became two, two became 4 and after 6 months I was still there. I enrolled in a photography school and stayed another year. My photography career started working with Australian magazines and it continued writing and photographing Italian Joy. In 2003 I met the love of my life gorgeous Italian architect Francesco Cataldi and in December 2004 we moved to France, Francesco to Lyon and I to Paris. In October 2010 Francesco and I were married in a small ceremony in our local town hall in Paris. My love for Italy has endured all these years living in Paris and will probably last a life time.


I arrived in Paris on a cold morning in December 2004 without a word of French. I remember wandering around Paris excited to be in such a beautiful city and full of hope. The next few months proved the most difficult of my life, language locked again and in a city where I knew no-one I thought I would die of loneliness. It took me a long time to get going in Paris and thanks to working on my book Paris Tango it connected me to incredible people and places in Paris. It was the beginning of a slow burning love-affair with this incredible town and once my honey turned up almost 9 months later from his sojourn in Lyon the party really started. I currently live in the Marais in Paris in a crazy orange padded apartment.


I had an idea for my first book way back in 2002. I had shot thousands of different images in Italy all full of emotion and I wanted to do a book on Italy broken into subjects. I had the great forture that my future publisher responded to an email and allowed me to present my work and idea. Little did I know the wonderful label Lantern owned by Penguin was just being launched in Australia. My timing (un-beknown to me) was perfect. My editor wanted more of a story to go with the images of Italy that I had presented. She asked me about how I ended up in Italy and I told her my story of giving up my corporate career to chase a dream to become a photographer. And that is how Italian Joy was born. I thought I would die from excitement when I left her office with a book deal that day. The future looked bright!

I have continued to work with the wonderful people at Lantern and have now published three of my own books Italian Joy, Paris Tango and Chasing A Dream. Vicki Archer and I were old friends back in Australia and we coincidentally moved to Europe at the same time. When we re-met in Florence a seed was planted that would one day become My French Life. It was such a hit we collaborated on French Essence. Australian author Amanda Tabberer and I met over a couple of glasses of white wine at Da Adolfo on the Amalfi Coast. Years later I had the pleasure of photographing one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world in her book titled My Amalfi Coast. Along the way my books have sold over 100,000 copies. Makes me want to do a little Carla Tap Dance!!

My Work

In 2011 I moved into full time portraiture with a fashion twist creating images of women full of beauty and emotion – you can check out my work here. I continue to work with numerous Australian magazines concentrating on portraiture, fashion and interiors. Last year my portraits were published in Australian Gourmet Traveller, Inside Out and The Australian Wish Magazine and my Interior images in Belle Magazine, Inside Out, Madison and Grazia Germany. And I give a couple of workshops each year on my favourite photography.. more info here.