Blog - Carla Coulson
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Carla Coulson, chasing a dream, da adolfo, amalfi coast, italian joy, photographers life,

Panning People In Street Photography

Panning People, Black and White Photography, Paris, Paris Cafe, Fashion

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson


Dear Friends,

One of my intentions as a photographer when I take pictures is to take pictures that have a feeling in them and we are lucky with photography to have many different tricks to be able to do this,  even when there appears like not a lot is happening.

One of the techniques I have always loved is panning. My first book Italian Joy had a photo of a couple on a scooter ‘panned’ and I have since incorporated it into photographing people.


Panning People


You need a lot of patience when panning people as the technique is even more difficult with people as they are moving slowly. You ‘pan’, move your camera from left to right or vice versa at the same speed as your subject in a fluid movement and then click when you like the frame.

Panning creates the feeling of motion even if your subject is moving slowly.


Panning People


Here’s what I do:

  1. Set my shutter speed at about 1/20 sec depending on how quickly the people are walking – the faster they are walking the faster your shutter speed needs to be
  2. I wait for a subject that is parallel to me on a straight line in front of me
  3. I set the focus on manual and focus on a point between them and me knowing they will pass that line
  4. I remain still but allow my camera to follow them and when I see the composition I like I press the shutter but I don’t stop there
  5. I continue to move the camera with them in a fluid movement to complete the ‘pan’
  6. The part of your photo that you have focused on is in focus but the rest is fluid and blurry,


Panning People, Carla Coulson, Martina Franca


Trouble shooting:

  1. Don’t despair if your photos are ALL blurry the first couple of times you do it. Often it is because you AREN’T moving at the same speed as they are.
  2. Check your focus and make sure if you are using autofocus to set it to single shot not continuous and keep your finger on the shutter with the correct focal point till your subject appears in the right spot.


Have fun..

For instant feeling just pan, stir, shake and rinse and repeat!!!!



lemnos, evolve, retreat, carla coulson, guest speaker, photographer, photography, sensory

Lemnos Creative Immersion Retreat – SOLD OUT!

Dear Folks,

Thanks to the gorgeous folks who will be joining writer Paula Hagiefremidis, Stylist Shannon Fricke and myself on Lemnos in September. This restorative retreat is sold out.

If you would like to get on the waitlist for one of Paula’s other retreats get in touch with her here

Sending love and can’t wait to meet the group in Greece.




Carla Coulson, photographers life, harpers bazaar, photography as a career choice, italian joy, chasing a dream,

Would You Let Your Child Have A Career As A Photographer?

harpers bazaar, published, press, carla coulson, photography, creative coach, italy, chasing a dreamDear Friends,

I love this subject and probably not being a mum I have never had to worry about my child becoming a creative or a photographer but it is something I think about often.

I remember when I announced to the world (well my little world) almost 16 years ago after doing a photography course in Italy that I was going to become a photographer.

I had all sorts of reactions. A dear friend who was a radio announcer made a couple of wise cracks about the sun setting over the water and clichéd photos and with a wave of a hand sort of dismissed the idea (in his mind). In mine, I had that beautiful naivety of not knowing anything about what I was doing and thought I would show him better.

Others told me that I had had my fun and now it was time to get a real job. I am sure it was out of care and visions of poverty in my old age but I was so ‘all in’ there was no way I was taking his advice either.

harpers bazaar, published, press, carla coulson, photography, creative coach, italy, chasing a dream, creatives


But when I told my mother that I want to be a professional photographer, she looked at me with belief and trust and said ‘that sounds lovely dear’. She didn’t ask me for a business plan, she didn’t come up with all the excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it and go live on the other side of the world.

My mum did the most fabulous thing a mum can do for a creative which is to believe I could do it. She had seen me struggle for years in a business I didn’t love, she had seen me single and lonely with one too many heartbreaks to even suggest for a minute a safe alternative in a city office. She had seen me try to cuddle up to my Gucci and Pucci without it working!!!

harpers bazaar, published, press, carla coulson, photography, creative coach, italy, chasing a dream


I am sure it hurt I was spending a ton of time on the other side of the world but she put what I wanted before what she wanted and what a gift she gave me.

My mum and dad came to stay with me in Florence and walked around the piazzas and hear my endless enthusiasm for this place I loved so dearly. They ate, drank and lived like Italians. They got to see their daughter bursting with happiness when her first article was published in Marie Claire and they almost popped with pride at the same time.

They took my favourite boat ride with me to Da Adolfo on the Amalfi Coast and fell in love with the concept of a beachbed and a restaurant at the the back of the beach. They felt special and lived a beautiful moment and saw the coast I love so much when Sergio the owner let us tag along on a boat ride to Amalfi.


Career as a Photographer, Career Photographer, Photography, Carla Coulson, Photographers Life, Chasing a Dream, Creative Career


They have devotedly dashed up to the newsagent every time a magazine has come out with my pics and bought numerous copies of my books for everyone and anyone who needed a present.

My mum and her team of ninja grannies became my biggest fans, moving books around the shelves in Sydney bookstores so they were always up the front and couldn’t help telling anyone that wanted to listen that it was her daughter’s and it would be a REALLY good thing if you bought it.

Although we have shared many years apart we have also shared this amazing journey together. They knew the backstory, they have seen it from the start, brick by brick building this thing, every brick I built was their brick and they have helped me and shared in the joy and reward that I have shared. They welcomed my Italian boyfriend (now husband) into their lives with open arms and without jealousy or fear.


Career as a Photographer, Career Photographer, Photography, Carla Coulson, Photographers Life, Chasing a Dream, Creative Career


When ‘we’ started this journey who would have ever known how it was going to pan out. Maybe they could see the fire in my eyes or in my belly, maybe they decided to trust that I was finally on my path and this time I would hit ‘emotional’ and creative gold.

If you are reading this and you are a mum and your child wants to go on a journey of their own that maybe doesn’t fit with your vision for their life, stay open to the magic that you could share together, the love, the support and the joy that you too could bring to your beloved child’s life and the magic that you will help them find in themselves and in the world.

Love you Mum and Dad,  thanks for the belief and trust.



carla coulson, black and white photography, black and white prints, photographers life, photographing movement, portraiture, carla coulson, workshops, carla coulson photography workshops

The Secret In My Photography Sauce

Photography Secret, black and white photography, carla coulson, inspiration, photography, photographer, creative


Dear Folks,

I love it when people write to me and ask me where to start, how I got started in Photography and which camera should they use?


Like many of you out there I started with an inkling, a whiff of an idea I might like photography and took one step at a time. Each decision led me to the next step and to the next learning.


But my big secret happened one day in a darkroom in Florence when I had wrestled my camera all day, I believed I had taken some photos I thought I liked and then watched them in the quiet developing just with a little red light to illuminate them.


Something bigger than the chemical reaction I was watching happened, it was a mixture of wonder, magic and love. And it that moment as a face appeared in the developer the universe gave me a gift of love and passion for photography and creativity.


From that day forward I have woven love into everything I do, I make decisions based on passion and love and most things I do in business I would be doing even if I didn’t get paid.


All the workshops, the magazines, the books and the prints I have done over the years I have done because I was addicted. Like Quincy Jones said The people who make it to the top – whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos – are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.”


Photography Secret, black and white photography, carla coulson, inspiration, photography, photographer, creative


When you do what you love you put your heart and soul into it, you love Mondays as much as Fridays because you just can’t wait to start and do it all over again. In the act of creation there is nothing old or stale, every week is a new opportunity to discover the world, try things out and see what else you have in your tank.


This love and passion led me to create workshops that ‘I want to go on’ and hope that there are enough like-minded folks out there who would like to join me, I take the pictures that ‘I want to take’ and hope the magazines and publishers get what I do and like them too.


Each fork in my road I have asked myself ‘what makes me happy, what excites me’ and then I follow that and once again put my heart and soul into.


If you are sitting reading this and feel ‘nah’ about what you do, ask yourself how could you do it better, what ingredient could you add to it to stoke your fire and at the same time stoke others!


Photography Secret, black and white photography, carla coulson, inspiration, photography, photographer, creative



Many parents are concerned for their children taking a path into creativity as a career but I want to lay their qualms at rest. Would I take back riding along the Amalfi Coast at dawn with someone I love, would I take back holding a book I created in my hands with tears of joy streaming down my face, would I take back the joy of finding a ‘decisive moment’ and creating something I didn’t believe I could do, would I take back the chance to learn from masters such as art directors, fashion editors, stylists and fellow photographers and fill up not only my creative tank but my self-esteem. Would I take back the chance to see and meet the world? Would I take back the chance to stand in my bones and own them? The answer to all of them is no.


I attribute the person I am today to that moment back in the darkroom when I was struck by a lightning bolt of love. The lightning bolt gave me the courage, the strength, the love, the joy and the wonder to not only dig into my creativity but to live the best years of my life.


So my dear friends if you are looking for your secret sauce in life, photography or any other creative field instead of looking outwards look inwards. That’s where your secret sauce is. Ask yourself ‘what would you be doing even if you didn’t get paid?’


Sending big love







in bloom

Out Of This World Peonies In Paris – Limited Edition Print


Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

Dearest Flower Lovers,

You know better than anyone that nature is the ultimate master! Peonies

And working with flowers just keeps teaching me more beautiful lessons about life.

When I picked up this enormous bunch of peonies they were closed little coral fists. Within days they grew into beautiful, big works of art that were hard to believe they were real. A gentle reminder for gals of the beauty they hold inside and who they can become.

This beauty, aptly named In Bloom, has just landed in the shop and she has a hippy chic heart just like the beautiful gal holding them in her arms. She was photographed in Paris in the 6th arrondissement.

She is available in Australia as a fine art print exclusively through Forman Picture Framing HERE or for the rest of the world HERE.

For custom size enquiries please get in touch with us at

I hope she brings you joy.

Carla x