Blog - Carla Coulson
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On Changing Your Life, Love, Laughter and Tears

I had one of those weeks that was busy, full of great people, photos, locations and meaningful life moments. After back to back photo sessions late Thursday night, Friday and Saturday AM I limped off to yet another ‘blind date’ to meet a dear friend of a friend  for a coffee.

I was tired yet happy, it had been a big week and I had just spent a morning in a spectacular hotel suite with a beautiful girl taking the kind of photos I love.

I would have loved to cancel, I needed an afternoon for myself but I kept my promise. I arrived early at Merci, ordered a ‘detox’ tea and hope that it would help me survive the questions about Paris and small talk that I presumed i was about to have.

Instead, in walked this divine gal who sat day down and within five minutes we are discussing the things that really matter in life.

Listening to her was like looking at myself 12 years ago, she had just said goodbye to Sydney in search of a richer life and love. She was on the road to somewhere but still didn’t know where she was going. I was filled with excitement for her.

We swapped stories with a vigour only two girls who have lived almost the same life can do, we cried, we laughed, we talked about men, babies (and lack of) and being single. I told her about the roller coaster ride I have lived during the past twelve years and the big gulps of life I had the chance to breath. I told her there have been good days and bad days but never a day I wish I could go back.

My tiredness evaporated and was replaced with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for all of you out there who are single and asking yourselves what are you going to do with your life. On one side of the table was the old me (her) and on the other was the new me. It was looking at a journey of my life with my bags packed on the station (her) and then fast forwarding to sitting on a train passing through a wonderful country side to a destination that I still don’t know it’s name.

Sorry about the blur, I didn’t have my glasses!

Gals, it’s all possible. Each of us have the power to change our lives and live a new life. We have all had our hearts broken, lived through difficulty and things we wished we hadn’t done. But never be fearful about trying again or loving again.

As we hugged goodbye I had to whip into the ladies room and there on the toilet walls were notes for us girls. I couldn’t resist shooting the ones above, such wise words on a toilet wall and so in the moment. I skipped all the way home thinking of all of you embarking on new lives or wishing to.

Oodles of love dust from a traveller on the same road.



PS; If you are in Paris stop by the Merci cafe toilets for loads of inspiration!!!!

Portrait Shoot – Paris


All photos copyright Carla Coulson

I love my job, I loved this job!  love my life, I love these photos, I loved this beautiful mum and her darling son and I loved Paris the day I shot these portraits.

Sometimes even I don’t know what to say other than I love it all!



PS: Shot on location in the Jardin Du Luxembourg,hair and make-up by the super talented Veronique Marot. Shot on my Canon 5D Mark II

Picture This Locations + Get Published

I am super excited to show you the locations I will be using this summer in Sydney for my Picture This Fashion/Portraiture workshop.

I love a location and put as much work as I can into choosing the right location for every shoot, fashion or portraiture and after much searching in Sydney (and thanks for my in touch stylist friends) I found this fabulous shabby chic terrace in Woollahra.

So for all of you who have signed up for the Picture This Fashion/Portraiture workshop we are bound to make great pics and have lots of fun.

To mix things up and create variety in the styling, location and for your portfolio building I found a little piece of un-renovated Sydney, yes, somethings haven’t been touched. I have always loved the original 1930’s Vaucluse Yacht Club that sits out on the water at Watsons Bay and thank heavens no-one has laid a hammer or saw on this place for years. Yippeee..

A big thank-you to everyone who has signed up for Picture This and Get Published and to all of you who have sent me wonderful notes of encouragement. I have been overwhelmed by your response and thank-you all from the bottom of my heart for your faith and trust. I look forward to imparting as much knowledge as I can in our time together.

For the full story on both workshops please click here.

Please feel free to tell your photographer friends and share.



My Puglian Address Book – Valle D’Itria

Terre e Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

I am back! And a big thank to you for all your lovely comments on my trip around Puglia.

I am full of inspiration, energy and enthusiasm for more photography. One of the fabulous things I love to pieces about being a photographer is that I rarely feel sick about coming home from a holiday, in fact some times I just can’t wait to get back to get my hands on my camera and to put all the ideas whirring around in my head into action.

It has been six years since Francesco and I holidayed in Italy and along with a guzzillion other Italians we went to Puglia. To escape the masses at the beach (see photos below) we headed to the Valle D’Itria, a little triangle of beauty and calm dotted with stone ‘cone’ adddorrabbblleeee trulli’s, wonderful villages, fresh air and amazing food.  Puglia didn’t disappoint.

First stop was in the town of Ceglie Messapica, that I had only seen previously in mid-winter, this little white jewel was rocking, concerts every night in the main piazza, cool little ‘frutteria’s serving up delicious fruit cocktails and food (and prices) to break my Parisian heart (err and waistline)…We stayed with the fabulous Pamela, a young local who has converted a 19th century building into a wonderful B & B named Sant’Anna. Great hospitality and a wonderful little gem in the heart of this great town.

Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica Copyright Carla Coulson

After three days exploring the nearby villages and countryside, the glorious Cisternino, Martina Franca and the wonderful ceramic town of Grottaglie we headed to a little B & B called Terre e Mare in the countryside near Cisternino(see above).

A wonderful couple, the fabulous Danish, Caterina and her Pugliese partner, Guiliano packed up life in  northern Italy and have recently opened this rustic little piece of paradise under the olive trees. They are living their dream and we were thrilled to be along for a couple of days of home-made bread, jams, tarts and great company.

Under the olive trees I delved into ‘Ultimo  Giro della Giostra‘ by Tiziano Terzani, a writer I already loved and enjoy in his celebrated ‘A fortune teller told me‘. ‘Ultimo Giro della Giostra is wonderful if you read Italian and it is a big book in all the senses of the words, about life, love, spirituality, evolution and dying.

What Puglian holiday is complete without the sweets, gelato, cakes and many hours at the table with a carafe of cool white wine and big chunks of smoked scamorza.  Francesco constantly shooshed me each time I grabbed the menu and uttered ‘it’s almost free’! An antipasto that consisted of 12 portions of food that costs only 7 Euros.. What else was there to say other than I’ll take two? I kept thinking about all those plates and the poor person who had to wash them up…

Chiesa Sant’Anna Ceglie Messapico Copyright Carla Coulson

Whilst in Ceglie Messapica, the fabulous Pamela organised a private viewing of the Church of Sant’Anna just steps away from her B & B of the same name. This frescoed church is cared for by the local ladies, all elderly now and risks being closed permanently even though it is built on a Greek temple that dates back to BC.

If you are in Ceglie ask around to have a look inside, it is something else.

And although we trundled around Italy at a slow speed, I have never felt safer on Italian roads than when I called into the local Agip petrol station to fill up only to see his holiness watching over all Italian (and foreign) drivers. Maybe that is why they drive so fast, they know someone is on their side!

My Puglian Address Book


My tastes in accommodation are modest and I loved these two places.

Terre E Mare

Caterina and Guiliano will show you true southern hospitality in their adorable Trulli B & B just kilometres from Cisternino.

B & B Sant’Anna

The young, beautiful and hospitable Pamela (pronounced Pammm eeeellllaaa) runs a B & B with a super terrace in the heart of Ceglie. She will point you in the right direction for all you will need in Ceglie.


Osteria Pugliese

Via Orto Nannavecchia,

Ceglie Messapica, Italia

This humble Osteria serves great quality traditional food in the beautiful white stone side streets just off the main square. We left with change from 20 Euros for the two of us (and a I have a husband who likes to eat!).


Set in a 15th Century convent Cibus was at the heart of the gastronomic culture that Ceglie Messapica is now famous for. Continually searching to mix the local products of the highest quality in new and interesting ways. Loved this place.


This is the kind of restaurant I would never have expected to find in Ceglie Messapica. The gang at Botrus have brought ‘nouvelle cuisine’ to Puglia and have created new flavours that would have nonna throwing salt over each shoulder warding off the bad ‘spirits’. A dining experience of the grown-up kind.


Avocado Fruitteria

Piazza Vecchia

Ceglie Messapica

In a beautiful ancient Piazza with towering trees and bounded by white buildings, grab a seat and a drink made from your favourite fruit and enjoy the calm.

Il Santino

Cool bar with low chairs and ‘cafe del mar’ music in one of three of Ceglie Messapica’s main piazza’s. For late night lounging at it’s best.


Quartiere delle Ceramiche


All the marvels of southern Italian ceramics in this wonderful baroque town in the Valle D’Itria. Entire quarters of the city are devoted to this Italian art, both decorative and minimal.  Back the truck up!

Buon Viaggio e buona dieta!!




Scenes From an Italian Road Trip

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

We are leaving tomorrow…is there a  Not Happy Dance?

We will be meandering our way back to Terlizzi and then onto Paris, I just love a road trip something about the freedom and a reminder of my child hood.

 I thought I would treat you with a few pics taken along our journey if you have never traveled to Puglia do yourself a favour and add it to your list.

PS: None of the above vehicles is our hire car

PPS: No that is not Francesco and I shopping for fruit in Image 2…….Not yet anyway!

On The Road Again