Blog - Carla Coulson
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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

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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!

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Get Published Workshop – A Day I Will Never Forget

A little booklet for everyone written by moi!

On Saturday in the ever so cool complex of Mike’s Kitchen and stylist Megan Morton’s The School I held my first ever workshop on how to get your photos published in magazines and books.

The calm before the joy

In a large photographic studio (where else?) 28 photographers travelled from all around Australia to join Creative Director of Inside Out Sharon Misko and Deputy Editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly Bryce Corbett and myself to learn how to shortcut the road to getting published.

Sharon and Bryce provided invaluable information as insiders with extensive experience in the magazine industry, we were all so fortunate to hear their advice.

Magazines awaiting to be analyzed

I couldn’t wait to share all the the things I have learnt along the way, the good stuff as well as my mistakes. The do’s and don’t direct from the ‘coal face’.

A little gift for everyone!

And then 30 divine Aussie’s arrived and filled the room, with joy and happiness, curiosity and wonder and love. It was such a joy to meet all these fabulous people who I felt I knew through my blog and Facebook in person.

Sharon Misko talking the photographers through how a magazine story works

Sharon Misko has worked for Harper’s Bazaar, Delicious, Vogue Entertaining and Travel and is currently making Inside Out beautiful.

Having a creative director talk through the do’s and don’t on how to present your work to a magazine was fascinating stuff and to hear feedback on the participants work wonderful! What an eye she has!

Some of my published work on the pin boards

 

And some more

Bryce Corbett

And Bryce Corbett taught us not to be prima donna’s, how to pitch your story and how to take advantage of where you live..

The gorgeous guys and gals who now know how to Get Published with moi!! (photo by Athalee Brown)

I adored sharing the experience that comes with having worked for 12 years in the magazine industry and publishing industry, the life experience that comes with hundreds of published articles and photographing 7 books, those thousands of kilometres on the road and millions of pics.

 Though I started off shaking seeing all your lovely faces in the audience gave me the courage to carry on and not to keel over!

A day I will never forget…

Grazie mille, merci, thank-you, efkaristo poli. Endless hugs

“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now”. Sophia Loren

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You Make Me Happy

To all the fabulous women (and men) that I have had the pleasure of shooting this year in Paris a heartfelt thank-you and a noisy Carla tap dance to all of you for trusting me with your photos.

At the end of each shoot when I would go home and sit in the quiet of my apartment, preparing your photos to show you I was overcome with a feeling of happiness looking at what we made together.

Happiness for the time we shared, the fun and excitement of planning the shoot, the laughs along the way and all of you beautiful gals beaming back at me.

Although you all started out as strangers you now feel like long lost friends and I am so happy that our paths have crossed.

What more could a photographer ask for than a year of wonderful people who have all been a treasure to work with? And to top it off my talented right hand woman the fabulous hair and make-up artist Veronique Marot who enhanced your beauty with her magic wand(s)!

There wasn’t a Parisian location left unturned or a portrait client that didn’t participate in the shenanigans!

And if I could do it all over again I would as these were some of the loveliest  days of my photography life.

So to all the women I have photographed this year (including those not in these photos sorry there were too many of you to fit in this post) thanks for the laughs, the fun, for allowing me to do something I love and for making me happy.

To little princesses, us big girls know just how exciting that first dab of lipstick is and that the magic of make-up doesn’t fade as you get older!

My apologies to the women I have disappointed by not being in Paris for the next two months but I hope our planets will collide nicely in the future and we can make some beautiful photos together.

And to the women I am about to photograph in Sydney I say BRING IT ON!!

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams”. Ashley Smith

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