Blog - Carla Coulson
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The Best Flower Delivery On Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day

Dear Friends,

Valentine’s Day and I have had a very strange relationship.

When I was single, it was one of those days I wanted to skip straight across. I dreaded (but hoped) that a delivery might arrive at the office, someone would surprise me who secretly fancied me (dream on) or serendipity would step in and the guy at the local café would pass me a bloom.

Well, none of that ever happened!! And I have learnt there is far more important things to do than wait around for someone to love me. Like loving myself.

Valentine's Day

 

So gals, if you have an aversion to waiting around on Valentine’s Day and want the power back, deserve to treat yourself because you are fabulous or you have a beautiful daughter, niece or friend who needs a bunch, my ‘Jeune Fille En Fleur’ series has a  15% DISCOUNT for JUST 24 HOURS will be the best Valentine you have ever had or gave

Valentine's Day

With the code: lovethyself on checkout you will receive a 15% discount.

And for Valentine’s Day I have added a new gal titled I Saw You Standing There.

You can start the love HERE NOW.

Sending you a big bunch

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carla coulson, best year of my life, raise your rates, photographers life, creative coach

The Best Compliment of 2016

The Best Compliment

Dear Friends,

I had a great year last year.

For so many reasons, I became a life coach, stretched my photography business to places I never believed it could go, travelled, laughed, learnt and most importantly had my beautiful niece work with me for most of the year.

Yes, folks that is what dreams are made of, or at least for me.

For 15 years I have harbored the fantasy that those little munchkins I left behind in the year 2000 and who were the stars of Italian Joy, would one day grow up and want to come to Europe and hang out with Aunty Carla.

Well, I can safely safe folks, dreams do come true. I have had the fortune to have more than one dream come true and having my darling Eliza by my side was possibly the best one.

We travelled, we photographed, we laughed, we cried, we ate ice-cream and did crazy selfies in old fashioned photo booths in Florence, she taught me stuff and I returned the favour. Not only did she come but so did her beautiful sisters, her fab cousins and her mother. What a year!

The Best Compliment

At the end of the year it felt all too good to be true. It was hard to let her go but I know she has great things coming her way.

Just as she was about to go we had a little chat and she gave me the biggest compliment of 2016. She told me ‘I don’t care what people think of me’!

For a minute I was almost offended and then she explained, “no matter who you are with on a shoot, (including some famous folk) you goof around and make a fool of yourself and you don’t decide things based on what other people think you.”

After I got use to this compliment, I felt proud that I had the chance to show someone (without knowing it), its ok to stand up and be who you are, to stand in the power of being truly you, to live your life the way you always wanted to, as my authentic self.

If I gave her just one gift last year, this was my proudest moment.

The Best Compliment

And boy do I know the road well to being that comfortable with myself.

I too would love to pass this onto you too, if you want to make 2017 the best year of YOUR life, un-lock the recipe to your greatness, I have just 3 places left for the coming six months.

If you want to flip your career, stretch what you are doing further than you have ever taken it before, raise your prices and get out of exhaustion or overhaul your current creative business I would love to help you. You can check out the details HERE or get in touch with me her for a chat HERE.

I would love to help you make your dreams a reality.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

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Ps.. If you have a creative business and want to stay in touch you can join my private Facebook group HERE.

Travel Photography Workshop Puglia June 2017 – One Place Available

Travel Photography

Travel Photography

Dear Friends,

If you have dreamed about travelling to the heel of the Italian boot whilst improving your photography skills but have never found the right occasion, I have it for you.

One place has become available on my Visionary – Creative Storytelling Workshop in Puglia. Six full days of photography and travel,  June 10 – 17th  2017 based  in Martina Franca and visiting nearby villages to put all the techniques and concepts taught in the workshop into practice.

Travel Photography

Travel Photography

There will be in-classroom lessons and plenty of time outside practicing, learning and photographing the local life.

If you are feeling spontaneous and would love to discover this part of Italy with myself and my super team and a group of like-minded souls click HERE for full details or get in touch with as us workshops@carlacoulson.com

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How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Portrait of Kate Taylor Stylist shot at 1/50 sec

Copyright Carla Coulson

 

Dear Photographers and Lovers of Life,

Though portraiture can look easy, creating a connection with your subject can sometimes be a challenge. Many people have a chronic fear of being photographed in particular I have found women to be more sensitive than men.

I have worked with models and loads of people on the street and I have noticed the great images come from those that have ‘let go’, the ones that have no fear, that are willing to play, to make an idiot of themselves and ‘to dance as though no-one is watching’.

Emotion doesn’t come just from the eyes and the face, our bodies are a vital part of the emotional story. The way we place our hands, our heads, the ‘shape we create with our body’, how we sit and the movement of our body tells its own story. If your body is tense, the camera sees it.

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Fashion shoot – movement shot at 1/500 sec 

Copyright Carla Coulson

 

I am a fan of all emotion, it can be happiness, joy, frustration, questioning, fear, what is important is that in an image there is real ‘connection’ and this comes through in the photo. Our job as a photographer is to create this connection, it isn’t enough to have a pretty photo with nice light and nice composition and a dead subject!

So if your subject is paralysed with fear or doesn’t know how to pose (who does) then YOU dear photographer need to charm them, to put them at ease, make the experience fun and have a secret booty of poses that will make anyone look good. Think about an appropriate emotion that will give strength to the story you want to tell.

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Market worker Palermo Italy shot using low aperture such as F2.8 and and Greek Lady Amorgos

Copyright Carla Coulson

HERE’S WHAT I DO – ON THE STREET

  1. I always talk with my subjects before whipping out the camera. Make small chat about the fruit, weather or ask directions.
  1. I buy something small like fruit or veg and then ask can I take a photo.
  1. I ask my subject to do something ‘as an action’ so they are occupied and I have the chance of getting a natural looking shot. I ask them to do it over again till I have want I want.
  1. I say dumb stuff that makes them laugh.
  1. I love when the person I am shooting suggests something, you never know what might happen.
  1. I know what I want before I shoot so I will ask them to do that, chat with them, flirt with them to get the emotion that I think is possible.

 

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Portrait shot at 1/15 sec

Copyright Carla Coulson

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Portrait shot at 1/15 sec

Copyright Carla Coulson

 

IN A PORTRAIT SHOOT

  1. Portraiture is all about trust. If someone trusts you then they will do what you ask them to do even if it sounds strange.
  2. I build trust, I speak with my clients before the shoot and listen to their ideas.
  3. I work towards a combined vision so the client feels part of it and is excited about the shoot
  4. I make sure they are an ideal client.. How do I know this? Most of their emails start with ‘Hi Carla, I really love your work…’ for me this is the first sign of trust and means we can have a great time together.
  5. I never get the camera out straight away, I always talk to them and make them feel like they are hanging out with a friend.
  6. The first shot depending on the person, I will ask them to do something really simple that takes their mind off me.
  7. I never ask them to stand simply on their own (the hardest thing for a non-model to do)
  8. As I feel like they are gaining confidence I get gamer and gamer with my requests!!!

 

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

Making silly comments to Sonia Choquette this is her reaction

Copyright Carla Coulson

TECHNICAL TIPS

  1. I love to use slow shutter speeds. I ask my subject to do simple movements and it can create magic. See top shot. 1/50 sec
  2. I get them moving, using a shutter speed of 1/500 sec so that I can freeze their movement and get them walking or running.
  3. Low depth of field can create beautiful emotion and isolate your subject from the background
  4. I am not afraid of a really slow shutter speed to create purposeful camera shake and blur.
  5. If I know I want to say something silly I make sure I am ready to go, know my shutter speed and have my client in focus.

 

How To Create Emotions In Your Photos

left Horsing around with Wayne Chick– right shot for Cestmarobe getting my model moving

Copyright Carla Coulson

I hope this helps you working with people and creating emotions in your photos.

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” Roger Ebert

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How To Find Your Photographic Style

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photo Copyright Elliott Erwitt

Dear Photographers,

One of the questions I am asked often is ‘how do I find my style as a photographer’?

So let’s look first at what is a style or vision?

Photography is a personal vision. It is an individual way of looking at the world and capturing a photo that tells a story.

No two photographers see the same subject in the same way. Your particular taste and vision will set you apart from other photographers and this is your precious gift.  A photographer’s vision can be seen repeated in their photos over and over again, like a brand.

The great Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt’s trademark black and white images of dogs, street photography and portraits are infused with humour, wit and romance.  Steve McCurry another Magnum star almost works exclusively in vibrant colour with a more serious tone and if you look closely at his portraits they are always simple and engaging.

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photo Copyright Steve McCurry

Robert Doisneau exclusively used black and white and his images of Paris are romantic, sweet and always with a dash of innocence. You can almost feel the kindness of this man in his images.

The great Elliott Erwitt also has this to say about his style and his choice of subject matter. Erwitt mentions in interviews that ‘his colleagues in Magnum are generally seen as more “serious” photographers– who photograph more “serious” events.’

However Erwitt tries to not take himself too seriously: “Well, I’m not a serious photographer like most of my colleagues. That is to say, I’m serious about not being serious.”

One thing that all these photographers have in common is that you can easily recognize their work without seeing their ‘byline’ (byline is a photographer’s or a journalist’s name printed alongside their story in a magazine). Their work is their byline.

They all have their own vision, their own style of lighting, emotions they wish to portray, their own presentation of their photos, mood of their work, personality and their own special way that they communicate through their images

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

How I Found My Style

When I arrived in Florence in the year 2000, I didn’t have access to a huge group of friends or contacts but I did have Popi (my gorgeous landlady) and her friends. I started there, I asked to photograph them, the kids I shared the house with and the people on the streets of Florence and slowly the people I would interact with each day.

I started messing around, taking photos that I thought I wanted to take from portraits to fashion inspired photos. I followed my heart and this is where it led me. I now realise the values I held dear and subjects that were in my subconscious at the time came through.

LOVE AND EMOTIONS

Love and lack of it in the previous years had been a big theme for me and when I arrived in Italy it seemed like I was surrounded by it. Photography has always been about the emotions for me. Capturing all those outwardly expressed emotions in Italy came naturally. I couldn’t believe the amount of public displays of affection and I think it was also a reflection of the highly emotional state I felt after leaving my life in Sydney to find something I loved – photography.

A lot of what we shoot as photographers is about how WE FEEL.

MOVEMENT

I had been trapped in an office for the best part of my adult life and movement felt like the opposite to me, it represented life, action and adventure. I was obsessed with movement of all kinds including families on vespas, people of all ages riding bikes in Florence or driving strange little vehicles in the Italian countryside. Movement has become part of my style as I am always attracted to it no matter whether it is vespas, cars or people. I love blur and the emotions that come with movement in a photo.

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

RELIGIOUS ICONOGRAPHY

My obsession with religious iconography had to do with my lack of religious grounding in Australia and arriving to the overload and beauty of religious iconography in Italy. I was a magnet to a Madonna! I was obsessed with every tabernacle on a street corner, statues of Madonna’s in churches and religious art and just kept shooting them. I never asked why or what I would do with them but I think it comes back to my instinct.

I was attracted to the emotion they portrayed and just went with it.

ELEGANCE

I have always loved fashion and had long been a lover of fashion magazines and beautiful clothes. This love flowed over into photography even though I was shooting travel and life photos in the beginning it was often reflected.

I loved the innate elegance of Italians and would stop well-dressed people in the street and ask if I could take a photo. If I had the choice I would seek out someone dressed at the market in a certain way or with the right apron and boots. Clothes have always been a big deal for me and they are still are a big part of how I love to shoot. They really help make an image stronger.

Confession: I have ‘tweaked’ or created photos from the beginning, dressing friends and even Francesco on holidays to go out and take a photo that I wanted or felt would express something.

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

HUMOUR

I love things that make me laugh in life and even more when I can capture it in a photo. I think this comes back to who we are as photographers, often what we shoot is how WE FEEL OR THINK. IT IS OFTEN ABOUT US.

BLACK AND WHITE

I shot and printed almost exclusively in black and white in the early years and as I didn’t have an end use at the time for my images, I did what pleased me. Black and white became a huge part of my style and in the early years I loved shooting at night and would always end up with half a roll of film in my camera the day afterwards and go out and shoot in daylight – hence I always had a lot of grain in my images – all by accident.

SUBJECTS

There is a certain romance, nostalgia and love of all things old and falling apart in my style (except for people). You will probably notice in most of my travel images there is rarely a modern building or a clean hard edged interior, you are more likely to find a building or street with an ancient story or full of life, walls with peeling paint and faded colours. This was and is a reflection of my love for Europe and its stories and layers.. just like life.

I love authenticity and textures.

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

How To Find Your Style

Your style will have a great value in the future.

  1. Don’t be in hurry to develop your ‘style’. It will come naturally if you take the photos that you love and from the heart. Try not to be too influenced by everyone around you.
  2. Ask yourself what are your values, what is important to you?
  3. Keep shooting the photos you want to take and listen to your inner voice. Don’t ask why
  4. Ask yourself what is it you want to say in your images?
  5. With time your style will come without you even realising it. You may find using a particular camera, a particular lighting setup, a post production process, a lens, injecting energy and emotions or using a certain depth of field may create an effect you like and your natural style will develop.
  6. The post production choices that you make to present your photos is also a big contributor to your style, whether you choose to use high contrast black and white, punchy colour, faded vintage colours or low contrast sepia images all becomes part of your photographic look.

Music portrait photographer Anton Corbijn found his style by accident. He decided against using a flash or a tripod when shooting his portraits — he claims that he’s never been good with the technical stuff — and because of that he developed an instantly recognizable style using high speed grainy film early on.

How To Find Your Photographic Style

Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

Your handicap is your strongest asset,” he explains. “I made it work for myself, and then somehow that becomes how you take pictures, which is different to a lot of people. I mean, you always strive for the perfect thing, but then life gets in the way. A lot of my better pictures have slight imperfections… I look back at the old pictures, and I made so many mistakes.

I hope this helps you on your path to finding your style and personal vision.

“But I tell you, for me, each photographer brings his own light from when he was a kid, in this fraction of a second when you freeze reality, you also freeze all this background. You materialize who you are.” Sebastiao Salgado

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