Category Archives: Changing Your LIfe

Your Photography Career – Freedom vs Security

Collezioni Sposa Night running Carla Coulson

Collezioni copyright Carla Coulson

Ever felt like running away to join the circus? Whoops… I actually did.

I am sure many of you have been overcome with feelings at some stage of wanting to just pack it all in and run off and do something you love? Kiss your boss goodbye forever, toss your high heel shoes and tight skirt in the bin and slam-dunk the bundy card forever.

I crocodile wrestled with this feeling for years (the packing it in bit)..and then eventually my world imploded and I left.

I was having a chat with Francesco (super cute hubby)  the other night (yep he wants to join the circus, I am thinking Lion tamer) about him eventually switching careers.

My darling architect is studying to be a Geobiologist (study of the earth’s and man-made energies and it’s effect on your health) and he always feels there is never enough time in the day/night to study what he loves and yearns for more ‘time’.

We got into a fabulous discussion about Freedom vs Security and I am the first person to support his eventual career change but baby everything has it’s time.

We both agreed that it ‘appears’ the more freedom you have the less security you have and vice versa.  I had plenty to say on this topic about making your ‘freedom more secure’.

Francesco is a tiny bit green with envy each day as he leaves home to go to his day job and leaves me to get on with my work day. I secretly think he thinks I swan through the day from one coffee to the next , kick back on the sofa with super kitty but you all know that isn’t so.

Francesco doing zorba Astylpalia

Francesco doing a happy dance in Greece copyright Carla Coulson

Let’s look at some concepts of:



Regular income

Daily structure


Someone creating the work for you

Paid holidays


Repetitive Routine

Times not yours

Settling for a job you don’t necessary love



Work your own hours

Do the work you love

No boss or office politics

More free time


No regular income

No structure

You need to find clients and create the work

Bookkeeping and accounts

Find a balance between not enough and too much work

Work on your own

happy dance CARLA COULSON

Of course these lists are stereotypes of what Freedom and Security mean to the individual but it has been my goal from the beginning of my photography career to make my career and life as ‘secure’ as possible.

I too crave security. There are many things that come with freedom that can be unsettling like not enough money to pay the rent (been there- scary) but there is nothing so rewarding as doing something you love.

Here’s How I Did It

1. Structure/Work Routine. Once I had my photography skills at a good level and wanted to start working I created a ‘work’ routine. I decided on when I would start work each day and when I would finish and this gave my day, week and life a sense of structure. Even in the beginning when I didn’t have clients there was still a lot to do like have a great portfolio, understand who would be my clients and research them and how to get in touch with them and I started putting together my own stories. Create a structure that suits you and the way you want to work. Ask your friends and family to respect this and not to just drop in or call whenever they feel like it.

2. Invest in the longterm/Regular Clients. When I started working with magazines my goal was to work with the same magazines over and over again so that they would become regular clients. I knew from having a business that a regular client was worth gold.  I worked with one magazine that pretty much gave me a job each month during the year over a period of almost 10 years. This worked out better than even I could have dreamed of. The other magazines I worked with gave me a job on a regular basis let’s say 3 or 4 times a year over a period of 10 years so you can see already how a pattern of security was building between my 6 favourite magazines. I also worked with other magazines on a not so regular basis as one-off clients. Think about who could be your long-term client and how you can reach them and build a lasting  relationship.

3. Income Streams. One of the reasons I started doing books other than for the love of it was to create additional income streams. The great things about books if they sell well is that they can go on selling for years and create an income stream from royalties. When I published Italian Joy thanks to all you kind folks it was a success so that heartfelt book kept selling and selling and even today almost 10 years later I still receive income from it. I have collaborated on 3 other books and written and photographed 3 of my own so together they have been another patch in my ‘security blanket’. Think about what kind of income streams you could create such as selling prints, e-books or ideas.

4. Market Your Work. It can be hard as a photographer or creative to put yourself out there but I knew from the beginning I was only going to survive if I marketed my work. For me this meant getting in to see key art directors at the magazines I loved and eventually publishers. This was one of my goals in the beginning and I have continued to market my work throughout the years by regularly visiting my clients when in Australia, meeting new contacts and getting involved with social media. Even if you don’t want to work with magazines you can apply this to what you do want to do.

Other ways to make changing your career more secure

Transition – this is one of the most under-rated of all the fabulous moves you can make. Start preparing your career move long in advance, use your steady income to buy equipment, set up websites and create a social media profile. Start doing jobs on the weekend if you can and when you build your confidence and client base, go for it.

Savings – Make a budget of how much you will need to live on for a year or two and work towards having that money set aside before launching your career. You will be free from financial worries in the beginning and can concentrate on being creative and getting where you want to go.

I hope this helps any of you feeling insecure about giving up your day job and flying over to the other side. Leave me a comment below and I promise to get back to you..

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” Chuck Palahniuk




Please share with other freedom fighters! x 

An Affair With Italy

an affair with italy carla coulson julie adams

Carla Coulson by Julie Adams at An Affair With Italy

So honoured and thrilled to be interviewed today on An Affair With Italy about my journey to photography and Italy. It’s been a long road and having a chat with Emma brought up things I had long forgotten about.

This is one of the most heartfelt interviews I remember having in all these years, thanks to the brilliance of writer Emma Scott.

And what a treat to be photographed by the talented Julie Adams, with whom I share so many similarities, photographer school in Florence and a deep and profound love of Naples.

You can read the full interview here.

Deep love, respect and thanks to the girls..

“Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” Bertrand Russell


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The Power Of Food

Carla Coulson Loc Boyle small

Me at Bondi in Sydney by Loc Boyle

I promised myself I wouldn’t turn this blog into a food/health/auto-immune blog but couldn’t resist sharing a little update with you.

You may remember from this post that I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (which is an auto-immune disease) in December and at the same time found a bald spot  (Alopecia Areata) in the back of my hair. Oh and there is another one at the other end of my body called Lichen Sclerosus that begs you too scratch all day!!

The doctors wanted to kick this under the carpet as ‘hereditary’. My mum and all her sisters have vitiligo, my uncle had Psoriasis another Uncle has Sarcoidosis,  my sister has vitiligo and my cousin has had Alopecia since she was in her 20′s.

Well, it is almost 2 months now that I have been on a Paleo Diet, no grains, legumes, milk products, no sugar or processed food. No coffee, alcohol or stimulants.. Just good old veges, fruit, nuts and seeds and protein..

A couple of weeks ago I checked in with my French doctor (always an interesting experience). There was a lot of head shaking (you need to take drugs), whipping out of the prescription pad and ‘non non non’ this natural thing is no good.

But I don’t have any symptions I insisted. My acupuncturist had been working on my gut and my head (think of woody the woodpecker and his beak knocking on my bald spot) and my hair is starting to sprout and the itchiness in my nether regions has subsided.

I begged her to let me take another blood test and then we would talk about it.

Begrudgingly she  agreed.

On weigh in day (cause that’s what it felt like) I was doing  ‘Oh what a feeling’ Toyota jumps (the Aussie’s will know what this is)  all the way down Rue du Rivoli hugging my results to my chest.


Fruit for sale in Puglia by Carla Coulson

Not only had 2 out of 3 Thyroid values entered the ‘normal range’ but they were buried right down there in the middle smug as can be no longer teetering on the outside. But the big news was my auto-immune antibodies had almost halved.

Reading blood results are like reading the deep sea scrolls for the uninitiated but in French they are extra tricky so I thought I better check with my doctor.

More head shaking, she couldn’t believe the results. I secretly think she thinks I am taking medication and not telling her. She has given me another months ‘leave of absence’ before she threatens to bring out the prescription pad.

I walked out of that doctor’s office feeling Round 1 to the organic farmers..

As well as changing my diet I am changing the way I do things. No instagramming, Facebooking in bed! Nothing happens before my morning walk and 20 mins of meditation and yes Carla you can actually take a lunch break.

I have dragged my sore and sorry body to Yoga for the past 2 months and enjoyed the experience of going slow and realised how broken my body is after all these year of carrying camera gear on my back for hours and days at a time.

But most of all ‘hail’ to the human body that after decades of battering responds to kindess so quickly.

Some links you may like:

My favourite books Practical Paleo and Nourishing Traditions Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease

Websites I enjoy Mr Paleo himself Loren Cordain at The Paleo Diet  Rob Wolf Sarah Wilson Paleo Mom Dr Amy Myers

Sending my deepest love and thanks for all your well wishes each and every day.

Stay tuned for more photography..

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Hippocrates




Please feel free to share with anyone this may help. xx

Live The Life You Love + Cat Stevens + Marie Forleo

Cat Stevens Marie Forleo I have just arrived home from an inspiring week shooting in Italy! The minute I cross that border champagne bubbles in my blood and I am singing and dancing my way down cobbled streets…

Lately I have been reflecting on life and how we live it.

Just before I left for Italy I was cuddled up on the couch with super hubby and Avedon watching La Festival di San Remo when one of my childhood heroes appeared, Yusuf Cat Stevens.

The music of Cat Stevens was a soundtrack of a certain part of my childhood as important as vegemite sandwiches and my skinny legs hanging out the bottom of a checked school uniform. I distinctly remember singing at the top of my voice with my sister Jan ‘remember the days of the old schoolyard’ on a holiday.

It seemed apt at the time as my parents where doing up an old schoolhouse on Magnetic Island where our great uncle once lived so we had school on our mind. We were jus skinny kids running wild in the sunshine without a care in the world and Cat’s music mirrored our freedom and happiness.

There was so many songs I loved, Peace Train, Father and Son, The Cats in the Cradle, Wild World, Another Saturday night and Morning Has Broken. God love the teacher in our music class in Port Macquarie Primary School who taught us Morning Has Broken and I still almost know the words off by heart. My Italian hubby was a little jealous of the cool choice of songs at our school.


We were all in love with Cat!! And then poof just like that he disappeared from our lives and left a big gaping hole and it seemed never to return. But his music soothed our souls throughout the years.

Cat was looking for bigger things in life and found it in Islam. In 1977 he auctioned his guitars for charity and devoted his time to philanthropy, education and peace.

So there I was after all these years watching San Remo when Yusuf Cat Stevens came onto the stage to standing applause and started to sing. I burst into sobs not tears. I wasn’t the only one, many people in the crowd were moved to tears to hear his songs after so many years.

I couldn’t control myself (as it happens with my emotions round here) and with his magical words and voice I thought what a joy it must be to be able to sing like Yusuf Cat Stevens and create and give so much joy and love to others. I thought ‘what an incredible way to live your life’. Doing what love when you want, moving onto to other things and coming back to music when it felt right.

It got me thinking about the many ways we can live our lives and how there are many ways to live yours.

One of the things I love about my life is that I don’t have to go to an office at the same time each day week after week.

Wow, there it is I said it.. Of course I love doing something creative, meeting new people everyday and having the personal reward of doing something I love but more than anything I love creating my own routine and not getting ground by someone else’s.

Marie Forleo

So what does this have to do with Yusuf Cat Stevens? A lot.

Well, one of the great courses I did last year that helped me clarify where to go (cause sometimes there are too many options) was the fabulous Marie Forleo’s B-School and it could just help a budding Yusuf Cat Stevens or caftan designer!

Yes the gorgeous Marie Forleo sings a lot of the same songs as Yusuf Cat, about peace, love and doing what you love and the universe will look after the rest.

I have always believed the same thing but Marie’s B-School helps you find out what it is you want to do and then tells you how to do it fabulously online.. I, like many people was lost in the internet world of blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and all the questions that come along with that, like where should i put my subscriber box and what should I call my business and who is my client??

Marie cuts out the white noise and tells you straight how to do it along with some of the big guns out there doing great things.

B-School closes on Wednesday 5th, yep that’s tomorrow and if you need the tool to make the next move you might just love B-Schoool.. You willl love Marie Forleo.. you can’t help but adore her infectious enthusiasm.

BTW I am NOT getting a kick-back from this recommendation just sending the love your way.

So if you want to be siting on a stage singing one day, selling caftans online or have a successful blog or business online check out Marie Forleo. She’s the biz!

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Rumi




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Grateful for Graves Disease – A Surprising Xmas Present

carla coulson loc boyle

Me fooling around at Bondi by Loc Boyle

Gosh.. I have been meaning to say hello for the longest time and to wish you all a fabulous 2014 but something has kept me from the computer.

After living through an exciting week of my book launch in early December in Sydney and meeting so many gorgeous people, finishing the Get Published Workshop and meeting more gorgeous people I finally found some time to get a couple of things I wanted done including a blood test.

So when I received an urgent call telling me to come to the doctors on Christmas Eve I knew something was up (yeah.. I had already received a copy of the blood test and was onto Dr. Google with the results).

Seems I had something with the terrible name of Graves Disease, an auto-immune disease that attacks your thyroid and makes your heart race (even when hubby isn’t around) and your hands shake and lots of other symptoms you check out here. I clocked in at 11 on a scale where you need just 2 to be positive.

The doctor being doctors scare the crap out of you, tell you you have no choice but a lifetime of medicine and you MUST take it otherwise you could risk a thyroid storm (gees just the sound of this brought Steve Speilberg images to my head of guys arriving in white suits with kalashnikovs to attack my poor defenseless thryroid).

But you see I had already been onto Dr. Google and I had questions of my own, what about changing my diet? what about checking my vitamin levels? am I deficient in anything? etc etc.. A big straight NO was responded and I was escorted to the door.

And by the way I wasn’t feeling THAT bad..well I at least felt confident those storm troopers weren’t on the way over.

Gees.. Merry Christmas Carla!

But here are the reasons I am grateful for my unusual Christmas present.

Grateful to live in this internet age and for the people out there and the information they are sharing about their stories and alternative solutions like Sarah Wilson. Sarah who offers tonnes of tips and advice and also talks to the marvellous Andrea Beaman who ate her way back to good health.

I am grateful for sites like Weston A. Price and even the heavy breathing Dr Johnson (a little salesy at times) and his almost 2 hour video that walks you through Auto-immune and how to heal your body naturally. To friends who told me about Nourishing Traditions an incredible book by Sally Fallon that talks about the studies of Weston A Price and offers create recipes and tips.

Their information gave me the courage to say NO to the medication and to call a naturopath at Newton’s Pharmacy, one of Sydney’s oldest herbalists. The naturopath wasn’t even slightly alarmed, she changed my diet, no gluten, no lactose, no sugar, no coffee, no tea, no stimulants, no alchohol (you getting the picture) but loads of good fats and proteins and whole foods (I had almost been exclusively vegetarian for the best part of 5 years cause I intensely dislike the industrialisation of animals) and she said to have regular blood tests to see what happens. Wonderful herbal supplement to get my intestine working again and lots of food state vitamins. Oh and the really good news was I was told to sit in the sun and eat lots of organic butter. That’s when I started to like this condition!

Here’s the funny thing, I thought I was eating well, lots of pulses and rice, veges, fruit and salads and all of it organic but almost no fats.

I went to see my favourite acupuncturist and more good news, there were things that could be done.

But the wellness package (if I didn’t want to take the drugs) included me changing the way I do things, slowing down, having time out and giving my body and mind time to regenerate and heal itself instead of rushing onto the next thing. I was part of the problem and the way I do things.

So I pulled out the plug (literally) no dinner outs, no running around the city instead I swam, slept and learnt to meditate.

Within 3 weeks I was almost sympton free, even i was shocked. I learnt there were things that could trigger it off like SUGARY fruits (Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar program is onto something) and indoor heated chlorinated Parisian pools.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you this? January is Thyroid Awareness Month and so I thought I would share my story in the case that any of you out there are in a similar boat and as confused as I was when I walked out the doctor’s door.

Also I ask forgiveness if I haven’t got back to you in the past month..

I am grateful to have had a wake-up call when I had always PROMISED myself to change things but never seemed to turn the corner or get to the bottom of the washing basket of tasks to do.

I am grateful for photography that is my balm, my meditation and one of the things that I love most in life and I look forward to a wonderful year of photos, memories and great people.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and I look forward to sharing lots of photography and tips with you in 2014.

Wishing you great health, happiness and photos..

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”


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