Blog - Carla Coulson
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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.

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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!!!

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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.”


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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

Flyer_Poster 3

A Creative Immersion Retreat On The Island Of Lemnos

Creative Retreat
Dear Friends,


I am honoured to be part of a restorative and creative retreat on the island of lemnos this September 2017 with two rockin girls.


Although I have taught many different types of workshop I have never combined teaching in a retreat where one can awaken the senses, take time in nature to reflect, restore and evolve their creativity.


I’m honoured to be teaching for 2 days along side some extremely talented women. Shannon Fricke is an interior designer and stylist from Australia who will be teaching practical tips on styling and how our vision and voice comes to command our identity.


Paula Hagiefremidis, the host of the retreat will be teaching us to evolve your creativity and restore your senses. I am really looking forward to teaching on trusting your creative vision and intuition. And it’s all in an authentic space on the beautiful Island of Lemnos, amongst boat trips, delicious lunches and dinners in a beautiful village with a small intimate group of 6 people.


 No previous photography or creative skills needed. You can bring your iPhone!
For further information check out the details HERE, OR please contact Paula at


Looking forward to seeing you there!



How My Greatest Weakness Became My Biggest Strength

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

All Images Copyright by Carla Coulson

Dear Friends,

Last weekend I was on a beautiful balcony in the South Of France chatting with a make-up artist in between shooting different set ups. Somehow we got onto the movie called Sully, which is a true story about the pilot Chelsea Sullenberger who made an emergency landing on the Hudson river and not one person died.

We both saw the movie and were in awe of his strength, his vision and his ability under incredible stress to make a snap decision to land an Airbus on the Hudson river and do it in a way that all lives were saved.

It didn’t even take a 1/1000th of second before I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over my body just talking about the feat of this man. I could imagine the joy, the tears, the strength, the fear and the tenacity to pull off such a thing.

The client heard us talking and when I walked back in she saw I had tears in my eyes and told me she loved how I was so connected to my emotions.

We then started a beautiful chat about emotions and empathy and for most of my life how I believed it hindered me, made me weak in the eyes of others because I couldn’t ‘control’ my emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard things such as ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘get over it’ or ‘it’s not appropriate now’.

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I often wondered were these jangly emotions some sort of ‘karmic hang-over’? Was there a lesson being passed down from another life that I failed to learn and this time the folks upstairs wanted me to learn it so badly they would throw other people’s emotions at me like they were mine?

I have never really tried to explain how empathy works for me but there is an immediate connection, followed by a flood of emotions and I can feel the emotions as intensely and quickly as though it was happening to me. I’m there, it’s not only you who is feeling the pain, living the joy, it’s me. The same goes for watching movies, I can’t handle violence of any kind, it haunts me and my dreams for nights to come.

Living in Italy allowed me to start the process to embrace this part of myself that I had always tried to push away, my tears and laughter were celebrated and held up to me as a gift.

The more I embraced this ‘gift’ the more comfortable I became with who I was. Not only what is it my secret weapon in my photography bag but when I stopped squashing it and pushing it away, it allowed me to read situations and people and bring the right ones into my life.

It took me years to realise I could ‘feel’ my way through life and use these emotions like a divining rod! These emotions no longer frighten me but they enhance everything I do. I treat them like friends I have always had but no longer wish to ignore. I let tears roll and try not to apologise for them.

Just recently I was so curious about this over sensitivity and my ever ready emotions I Googled it. I found that ‘we’ had been categorized. There was such a category knows as Highly Sensitive People and I appeared to fit perfectly into it.

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This led me to a book called Highly Sensitive People, In An Insensitive World by Ilse Sand and of course I hit buy.  Sheesh I had been curious about this subject for my whole life.

There were so many answers for me in this book (no she didn’t pronounce it to be Karmic hangover) but I realised that I am not alone.

So folks, if there is a little part of you that you have always squashed or hidden because you don’t know how to deal with it or are embarrassed about it like I was, maybe giving voice to this part of you maybe the secret to finding the authentic you.

And when you find the authentic you, you can stand so solidly in your bones and feel proud of who you are, that you can do whatever it is that you came here to do.

Sending love.