Blog - Carla Coulson
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My Favourite Parisian Florists

If you are coming to Paris you won’t want to miss her flower shops. Amongst the flowers and the perfume you will discover the true style of the Parisians.

Those sweet little local shops with their fine selection of peonies and sweet peas, lillies and roses and their devoted staff creating bouquets with love. All the flowers are sorted into colour and there is hardly a mixed bunch to be found.

Here are some of my favourites:

L’Artisan Fleuriste

95 Rue Vieille Du Temples

75003 Paris

This florist is in my hood and they always have an exquisite selection of seasonal flowers. I had my wedding bouquet made here and let them decide on the flowers and colour as  I trusted their good taste.

Vertige

11 Rue De Sevigne

Paris 75004

Vertige is located in the heart of the Marais just two steps from St Paul Metro. They have a beautiful display of flowers outside that has caused me the odd trip every now and then.

Marche Place Baudoyer

Place Baudoyer

Paris 75004

Each Saturday I take my place at my local flower stall in Marche Place Baudoyer in the 4th to select my weekly flowers from Carole’s seasonal array. All colour coded on hue and type! This is a small market and most Saturdays amongst the market stalls you can catch the weddings happening in our local town hall that spills into the same Place.

dani roses, paris florist, carla coulson, fleuriste paris, hotel costes

 Me a tiny little bit excited to be at Dani Roses

Dani Roses

239-241 Rue Saint Honore

Paris 75001

Ok gals if you love roses this place is going to spin your head. It’s heaven.. Roses and glitz all together. The clever folks next door at the Hotel Costes opened this boutique designed by reigning French king of sumptuous design, Jacques Garcia. The roses here are like the ones you used to find in your grandma’s garden, heavenly perfumed in pastel colours and it’s a life changing experience to receive a bouquet of these I know, (thank-you Claire).

 

Nouvelle Eve

7 Rue du Jourdain

Paris 75020

If you want to go see an upcoming neighbourhood you could head to the 20th. Fleuristes like Nouvelle Eve are quietly going about their business of beauty thrilling the locals and visitors like me with mini purple arum lillies and peonies in every colour imaginable.

 

Even Montmatre

53 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette

Paris 7500

Sopi (South of Pigalle) is the hot new area to visit in Paris for so many reasons. Every time I go to my hairdresser up here I marvel at the new and groovy restaurants, bars and shops. A little New York vibe happening for sure. You will find beautiful florist Even in this area and if you are poking around looking for beauty do drop by.

Where to see beautiful flowers

Go treat yourself to a champagne at the bar of the George V Hotel just so you can walk through the foyer and feast your eyes upon the flowers of superstar florist Jeff Leatham.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg in any season will stop you in your tracks. This garden never disappoints thanks to 80 gardeners keeping her flowers perfect.

I hope you enjoyed my little floral tour of Paris!! Wherever you go in Paris it is a visual feast and even the trees leave us lovely little messages of love.

“All I wanted was to connect my moods with those of Paris. Beauty paints and when it painted most, I shot”

Ernest Haas

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PICTURE THIS WORKSHOP – WHAT I LEARNT SHOOTING THESE FASHION PICS

“I have no formal qualifications as a photographer, just the school of life. I learned most by just taking pictures; a lot of pictures…. Being a photographer is like being an athlete. You must practice every day.” And like an athlete, you must be tough”.

PATRICK DEMARCHELIER

I am having the most marvellous time at the moment, knee deep in magazines, books and images preparing for the Picture This Workshop. Avedon (that would be my kitten) is a great help, flipping the pages of magazines even when I haven’t asked him!

I love the above quote by Demarchelier, how photography is like being like an athlete and how you must practice everyday and the tough bit is so true. Even Mr Demarchelier got a knock back from Elle magazine on his first try. See you need to have thick skin and lots of passion.

I am sure photography from the outside looks easy but Mr Demarchelier’s words are so true!

Looking back through my old fashion photos is like time travelling, each shoot seems so vivid the  difficulties I had on the day, the way the model worked, wrestling with the light (and the rain), the excitement as the model exited from hair and make-up, the fun (oh the fun of it all) and seeing the final results printed in the magazine.

My road has been long and bumpy and ever so exciting. These are some of things I have learnt from shooting fashion:

1. How to work with a model

2. How to get the most out of natural light working outdoors, indoors and when it is raining cats and doggies.

3. What emotion, movement can bring to a photo.

4. Creating a connection with your subject.

5. Posing and how the human body looks more interesting at certain angles.

6. Creating variety in the images

7. Using scale change from wide shots to portraits

8. What works in fashion doesn’t necessarily work shooting portraiture (like blue lips for example)

9. Creating authentic images

10. Working side by side with stylists and hair and make-up artists and observing their craft

11. Knowing their is no room for mistakes

12. Getting the shots under any circumstances

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

13. What my style is!

14. What my colour preferences are and how I like to post-process my images

15. How images work together

16. Working on location and scouting them

17. And how much I love photography!!!!

I have ONE PLACE LEFT  in the Picture This Workshop where I hope to share as much as I can in three days about what I have learnt in fashion and how it can help you make unique, beautiful portraits.

We will spend 50 percent of the time shooting and the rest discussing fashion, working with your subjects, portraiture, post-processing and workflow, how to balance it all and creating a business plan.

If you would like to join me and a great list of other photographers for the 7,8,9 January please get in touch asap or check out the full story here.

“You don’t make a photo with a camera, you bring to the act of photography every picture you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”.

Ansel Adams

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Living and Working Overseas – Tip #1

Who wouldn’t want to live and work overseas?

The idea sounds so romantic.

Even as I write this on a 2 degree Parisian day with the the light fading outside and the lamplight glowing with the soundtrack of Parisians on their way home, it still feels romantic. In about 15 minutes I will run out the front door to a divine Parisian specialty store and purchase something delish to cook for our 2nd wedding anniversary dinner (with my Italian husband). Sounds even better hey!!!

Well the reality of living and working overseas is a little different to what we imagine but I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

I could fill a book on this subject but for those of you toying with the idea my #1 tip is to take a reconnaissance trip to the country of your choice and not a holiday. Try and stay at least one month or more if possible before uprooting your life and see if you actually like it. Don’t go in your favourite season everything looks good when it is warm.

A holiday and living in a country are two totally different things. Rent yourself an apartment and start gathering information. Do an intensive language course whilst you are there so that you can start to communicate.

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

Whilst you are there find out about:

1. How much it costs to rent a property long term and what documents you will need.

2. What are your weekly budgets for food, bills, restaurants, travel.

3. Get to know locals in your neighbourhood

4. Track down someone from your country who is living in the country of your choice before you leave and arrange to meet them. You will learn more from someone who has already been through this experience.

5. Read as many books by expats who are living in your country of choice and see what difficulties they have hit.

6. Ask yourself how you will make money and investigate any of your potential ideas whilst on your reckie trip and the possibility of getting work.

7. Go to the consulate of your chosen country in your own country and get all the paperwork necessary for moving overseas and see if there are any documents you can gather on your reckie trip.

8. Try and get that bar job to tide you over and see if it is really possible to get one.

9. Imagine you are there long term. See how it feels.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.???  St Augustine

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Learning to Say ‘No’

Photographer unknown (but I love it) image via

Learning to say ‘no’ was one of the greatest lessons of my life.

For the first part of my life I was a ‘yes’ girl. Not sure why, maybe I just wanted to please everybody. I ran myself ragged racing from one thing to the next and most of the time collapsed exhausted on the couch every night.

Not long before I left my life I learnt to say ‘no’. I had to be told by someone else when I was on the verge of nervous collapse that it was ok to say ‘no’. I had never thought it was an option (drrrrrrr)..

I learnt that everything in life wasn’t right for me and this applies also to the photography we choose to do.

When you become a photographer many people will ask you to take photos for them. Someone in the family or a friend is getting married, the guy across the road is starting a door company and needs some photos of his products and the lady at the bread shop is organising her child’s christening.

But you want to be a fashion photographer?

Why should you say no to these jobs?

Just because you can take great fashion pics doesn’t mean you have the right lens or the right eye for taking creative pictures of doors. Wedding photography is a particular game, most pro wedding photographers work in pairs and know exactly how a wedding works, what the crucial moments are and not to missed, they know not to overlook anyone as they maybe an important family member even if they are giving you dirty looks and they will spend days editing, retouching, printing and managing the files. That’s why they ask BIG $$$$$. Because it is a BIG job.

So if you role up most of the time for free you are bound to lose a week on the job, get paid nothing and lose focus for creating your fashion photos, seeing clients or doing a job.

Likewise if you shoot doors for the guy across the road, the couple of doors will become days of work, taking photos of a product you don’t understand, trying to figure out how to straighten the lines afterwards because they are all wonky and maybe your neighbour won’t even be happy. Nothing I can assure you in photography takes 30 mins that’s why magazines have only half-day or full-day rates.

The power of no:

1. You save time and don’t get involved with things you don’t know or want to know about

2. You don’t create an additional problem by having an unhappy neighbour!

3. You can concentrate on what it is you really want to do in life

4. Recommend someone who would be good at that and you are helping both of you out.

5. Everyday of your working life you will face situations that aren’t right for you, politely saying no isn’t a bad thing for you or them.

Remember every client isn’t the right client for you!

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

Henry David Thoreau

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Photographic Permissions + Recently Published Work

Yesterday I had two gorgeous women contact me, one to ask how much to charge a client for her first job and the other who has just received her first commission from a magazine wanting to know about permissions.

And whilst we were on the subject of publishing I wanted to share a story I recently photographed with super stylist Vicki Archer in House and Garden Australia.

I am going to tackle permissions today for any of you who are interested read on?

Permissions in Paris nearly killed me and my book Paris Tango. I thought I would never get to the end of it because of the incredible amount of paperwork, number of phone calls needed to get permission to enter fashion shows, historic hotels, backstage at the Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris and anything slightly fabulous in Paris.

But without the permission of these places to shoot us photographers are unable to get to all the good stuff.

Whose permission do you need?

If you plan on shooting in a private space, a big hotel, a restaurant or a shop you need their permission in theory to shoot in their space and publish the images. I always ask their permission, arrange a time to go and ask for a contact on the day because I want total freedom once I am in the place and their help to get the photos I need.

I always write to the PR person of each place or if it is small to the owner detailing why I need to photograph in their place explaining where the images will be published. Most people especially small businesses are happy to have you because it means free publicity but famous places (especially in Paris) sometimes see it as a nuisance or a time waster unless you are Architectural Digest or Gourmet Traveller.

All Photos styled by Vicki Archer and Copyright Carla Coulson

To show them you are serious you can do the following:

1. Ask the publication for a letter with your photographic story commission to show it is real!

2. Write to them with your request, explain where the magazine is published and their readership figures. Send a link to your website and attach any other publications where you work has been published.

3. Follow up, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive an email back (especially in Paris) and call if need be. Just be your charming self.

4. When shooting,  if you photograph any of the staff you will need a photo release with their permission to publish the images. Many places will also want to sign a photo release detailing where you can publish the images.

5. When the images are published send them a copy of the magazine or PDF and you will have a good contact for life.

Its worth getting the permission because if you go hoping to take images and you are asked to leave you won’t be able to fulfill your job.

Best of luck girls, I hope this helps.

I always felt that acting was an escape, like having the secret key to every door and permission to enter into any realm and soak it up. I enjoy that free pass. Edward Norton.

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