Blog - Carla Coulson
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Backstage At The Picture This Workshop – Sydney

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

What happens when 12 photographers get together in 3 different locations with two make-up artists, 6 real women models, a truckload of clothes, styling and props and the world’s best workshop organiser (Athalee)?

Two participants and me (I am the one catching flies with my mouth open)

Lots of laughs, creativity, excitement, ideas and beautiful photos.

On the 7th of January I kicked off Picture This, my first portrait photography workshop with the help of super organiser Athalee and my assistant from Paris, the one and only Loc Boyle. We spent 3 fabulous days with 10 incredible women talking photography, shooting and creating images.

In the above pic those screams of laughter were because the beautiful girl in the black dress (see top photo and below) was twirling and twirling a lot… and we were liking it!

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

Day 2 was at the Vaucluse Yacht Club, an old 1930’s club down at Watsons Bay and we had 4 fab models doing their thing. The pic below is me shooting our gorgeous vintage inspired model and yes I was pretty excited that the club hadn’t renovated the original men’s bathrooms. She wore a vintage swimsuit and a striped straw! 


 Day 2 On location at the Vaucluse Yacht Club Copyright Carla Coulson

Day 1 The girls in the boys club.

Day one was a theory day on fashion and how to weave it into portraiture to create unique images. It was held in a historic gentleman’s club boardroom! Loved adding the pink touches (what would the boys have thought)!

Looks like I am doing a cha cha cha dance move but probably just excited about a pic on the big screen.


One of the girls shooting a model on Day 3 in a shabby chic private home

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

Showing the model how gorgeous she is!

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

 Voila the gorgeous group and moi!!

So a big round of applause to all the photographers who participated and survived a scorching 43 degree Sydney day. Can’t wait to see your photos!

Three of the most rewarding days of my photography life..

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  Ansel Adams

PS for anyone who would like to stay updated on up and coming workshops you can join the mailing list here

Paris Under Snow


Talk about one extreme to the other!

Days ago I was basking in 30+ degrees in Sydney, loving the colour, surf and getting around in thongs and voila, a plane ride and 24 hours, to wake up to Paris under snow.

And if there is one way I love Paris that is buried in a layer of white. Extra gorgeous and glamorous..How very kind to park the red Citroen in front of a picture perfect cafe.

I donned hubbys mountain gear and left the house clumping around in the snow. This is where I normally go to get a summer ice-cream now the whole street looks like ice-cream….

If there was ever a day to empty the Boulangerie todays the day. Burning carbs just breathing!

A little stroll to the river via Hotel De Ville in the background.

Along past the bouquinists on the river still clumping..

Summer picnics along the river seem faraway but this scene was so beautiful we can wait for summer.

Don’t leave the house without your Ikea shopping bag, never know what you might pick up in Paris!

Notre dame and a snowball fight in the background

The Latin Quarter was silent and magic, maybe we can have 10 inches of snow more often?

An ever so chic Parisian snowman in the 5th..

Shakespeare and co closed for business – snowed out!

So if you are thinking of coming to Paris in the next week hold bringing the Chanel jacket, here’s a list of things you should bring:

Long johns

Chains for your car

Gloves, hat, earmuffs, scarves

Trekking shoes with rubber soles (so chic not sure Christian Louboutin does them)

A camera or Iphone cause Paris is so pretty

A carrot and two pieces of coal to make your very own Parisian snowman

See you in Paris!

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilirating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather”. John Ruskin



Where Do You Come From?


My mother with her grandfather on the verandah of the family house in Tempe

Where do you come from?

Is this a question you ever ask yourself?

I often do. As my Australian visit comes to a close and my family and I spend more and more time looking at old photos and recent ones I often wished I could have a day with some of my grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles to hear about their adventures, dreams, difficulties and life’s lessons.

The above photo is where I come from. That is my great-great grandfather on the verandah of his Tempe home with my mother.

My great grandfather had tennis courts and a farm in Tempe which the NSW government resumed overnight that became the railway yards. Mum always told me it broke his heart.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to chat with my relatives but thank-god we have photos of them that I can look at to see if there is an insight into where I come from, what they once wore, ate, how they played, laughed and lived.

I had the luxury of having a photographer Aunty who always photographed my sisters, brother and me and we have a wonderful record of our childhood in black and white and colour on horses, in creeks, picking wildflowers and doing all those things kids do.. Thanks to Aunty Val someone down the track will know how we too lived, laughed and played.

I have morphed into this generation’s Aunty, the keeper of the record and the chronicler of where we are going. From the minute I got my hands on a camera  I have been shooting my family. The above pic was taken this summer of darling Charlotte wrapped in one my scarves (loads more to come)!

Where do you come from? And who are you shooting?

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has al worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right Now” Author Unknown



Creating a Body of Work – Getting Started in Photography

Chantal Thomass Apartment Paris Tango Copyright Carla Coulson

This was a subject I spoke about in the Get Published workshop this summer and I thought it maybe of interest for those of you who are considering putting together a portfolio or body of work in the coming months.

For all those of you dreaming of launching a photography career there is a vital component that you need to carefully consider before you do.

So let’s say, you have done a photography course or you have assisted photographers and you are confident your skills are ready to start a career. You have chosen which type of photography you would like to pursue whether it be travel, interiors, food photography, fashion or portraiture or one of the many other specialised forms of photography. In theory you should know who you want to work with before before you even create your first portfolio/body of work.  Your future clients might be magazines, private clients or publishers, image banks or you maybe you want to seek an agent.

Without a portfolio or body of work you can’t make this step.

Le Petit Moulin Paris Tango Copyright Carla Coulson

Putting together a body of work.

The great thing about starting out is that you can decide who you want to try and work with, what type of photography you want to take and the type of images that you want to show to represent your style. It is a great chance to do the work you love.

Lets’s look at building a portfolio/body of work for an interior/lifestyle photographer.

Most photographers have their own particular vision and taste. So if you have chosen to be an interiors/lifestyle photographer you might only love hippy chic style, or minimilist or classic French or lived-in artistic!

Lets say you love hippy chic and lived-in artistic and minimalist style leaves you cold.

Who is your future client?

Probably not Belle Magazine but it could be Inside Out (Australian mags). Ask yourself where does your style sit? Know the answer before you starting taking photos for your portfolio.

French Essence Copyright Carla Coulson

Start by asking everyone you know if they know someone with the kind of house you are interested in photographing. Show them images of other homes that you love. You might find a small apartment, a cool beach shack or an artist’s home. Ask the owners permission to photograph their home and explain if you would like to eventually have it published. Often this is a great opportunity for publicity for the owners business or art.

You need to create a story with your images. Tell the story of house and someone’s style. Look at the magazine you would like to work with and analyse the images that make up the story. You will probably find that over an eight page story that the following types of images are included.

1. Shoot all the rooms in the house if possible. Some wide shots and others medium crops.

2. Connecting spaces – So that people interested in that kind of a home can understand how it works.

3. Details – Interesting vignettes that give an insight into the style of the home owner.

4. Focus on corners of the room that are interesting, architectural details like fireplaces and cool doors.

5. Colour Palettes – A lot of homes have a similar colour palette, see if the house you are photographing does. This can assist with layout.

6. Portrait of the home owner/dogs/kids

7. Outside spaces


French Essence Copyright Carla Coulson

Photograph the house the way you see it and the things you love about the home owners style. Shooting a house can take an entire day so take your time and don’t leave without having all the images that you love. You should end up with between 30-50 finals images and make sure you have a variety of crops, horizontals and vertical images.

This should give you a story that you can use as a part of your body of work or you can pitch to your eventual client. Maybe you want to shoot houses for architects?

Repeat the above process with other homes, highlighting your style. Each home you photograph can be part of your portfolio. Build up 3/4 houses before you decide to contact your first client. You can also include smaller shoots if you can’t find entire homes. Cool offices, working spaces, artist studios and lovely vignettes of still lifes. Try and have variety in your images so that the client realises you have shot more than one home.

Make sure you are 100 percent happy with the images before starting. If you aren’t happy don’t worry, keep practising till you have the body of work that you are proud of.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” George Bernard Shaw


Private Portrait Shoot

Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

Hey nothing like a little salt air and Sydney sun to get my creative forces flowing. This is a little preview of a colourful fun shoot I did this week in Sydney.

French chic flew out the window and Aussie madness stormed in.

I couldn’t resist a little craziness doing this portrait of a beautiful teenager in Sydney..She was so fab the Indian headress seemed like a brilliant idea.

More colour and fun to come..

“if it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right”. Bob Basso

High kick from moi!