Category Archives: Photography Tips

Unwrap Your Christmas Gift From Me Early This Year


fine art travel photography, fine art paris photography, photography paris fine art, carla coulson, paris travel photography You guys are the best,

You have joined me on a year of health ups and downs and supported me in every way. It’s a been a great year to learn something about myself and good health and thanks for sharing your advice, tips and comments, it is so appreciated.

You have generously participated on a daily basis here, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram and it means a lot.

paris fine art photography, carla coulson, fine art travel photography, paris black and white photography, paris snow, paris winter, paris dreamy


Place des Vosges Snow Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

I want to give back, to say thanks for being there and I know many of you have been following along since Italian Joy was published in 2005, that’s a lot of years!

To celebrate your generosity I am giving away a print of the same size with every purchase from my print shop Departure Lounge. There are over 100 images of Paris, Italy, Australia, black and white and colour and some of my favourites. There are summer and winter, cats and dogs and places we would love to go but may never get to. Prices start at 24,78 Euro.

Here’s How To Do It.

1. Simply pick the two prints you would like here

2. Purchase ONE either regular or fine art paper. Then in the notes section after your purchase, copy and paste the link of the 2nd print you would like as a gift from me (it will automatically come in the same size and same paper) and I will send both of them to you at the same address for the price of just one print..(please note this offer only applies shipping to one address)

3. Offer valid only till 1st December 2014 9pm Paris time and then it will be gone forever.

4. Christmas shopping done in one click!

These are are just some of prints available.. loads more here.



amalfi coast, carla coulson, beach from above, position

Amalfi Coast Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

paris seine, paris photography, carla coulson, morning light paris

Peniche along the river Seine Paris Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

paris snow, paris photography, black and white, carla coulson, departure lounge

Paris Snow Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge


Pont Neuf Paris in fog Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

sifnos greece, carla coulson, greek islands, greece photography

Sifnos Greece Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

polignano a mare, carla coulson, fine art print italy, italy photography, beach, fishing boats italy

 San Vito Polignano A Mare Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

cat italy, carla coulson, black and white photography, martina franca

Fabulous Cat Martina Franca Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

cattle dog australia, carla coulson, dog jumping, black and white photography, mudgee

Australian cattle dog Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

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Martina Franca Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

door martina franca, carla coulson, baroque italy, puglia, carla coulson, departure lounge

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson for Departure Lounge

I hope this helps to make your Christmas shopping easy!

“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” Fanny Burney


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Chateau Gudanes – Tips On How To Shoot A Chateau

Chateau Gudanes, karina waters, Carla Coulson, France, French Chateau

All photos Chateau Gudanes Copyright Carla Coulson

A while back I was asked by Harper’s Bazaar to shoot the beautiful Chateau Gudanes and the Water’s family, the wonderful family that fell in love with this place and have taken on the massive job of renovating it.

While it’s awfully exciting to be asked to shoot a Chateau (I blogged about it here) it’s also daunting. The sheer size of this place makes it a photographic challenge in the taking and in the planning. You see we are talking about a place that has 70 rooms and is perched on an exquisite piece of land surrounded by mountains.

I thought it would be fun today to give you some inside tips on how I shot it.

1. Scout It

Chateau Gudanes, carla coulson, karina waters, french chateau, france

I Shot the exterior and interior in one day but I was never going to be able to shoot everything. I had the luxury of seeing the Chateau months earlier which made me realise I would need to rent special long lenses to be able to shoot it from up on the mountain.  I made a list of my favourite things and started with number 1!

2. Hero Shot

Chateau Gudanes, Carla Coulson, Karina Waters, French Chateau

Ok, so on a place like this there are probably only going to be a couple of hero shots (the one the magazine will use to open the story). I felt it would be a shot of the Chateau or the gates because both of them a breathtaking. So I shot the Chateau from as many angles as possible. I was up at sunrise and it was a day that changed every five minutes so I was lucky to catch fog, sunshine and rain in a space of an hour.

french ironwork, french chateau, chateau gudanes, Carla coulson, karina waters,

So I am like a dog with a hamshank! I am not walking away from a shoot without the shot so I will shoot from as many angles as I can to make sure I have what the magazine needs. These are just half a dozen of maybe 16 options I handed in of the Chateau and the gates giving horizontal and vertical options. French ironwork, gates, chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau, karina waters,

The gates were such an amazing subject to shoot..

3. Get Up High Or Shoot It In It’s Context

Chateau Gudanes, Carla Coulson, french chateau, Karina Waters,

chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau, karina waters,

So we all want to know where is this Chateau and what’s around it! The only way to do this is to go for a drive and see what you can find. Fortunately I had the lovely Karina Waters as a guide who knows this little baby’s best angles and she kindly showed me her favourite spots.

4. Shooting Interiors

interior staircase, french ironwork, carla coulson, chateau gudanes, karina waters,

I am super excited by interiors like this, I love the patina, the architecture and the light. There is only one difficulty the proportions are huge so you really need to be careful from where you shoot or you end up with very distorted lines. I shot all the interiors on a tripod on approx 400 ISO..

In the case of the staircase I centred myself between the staircase and the door on the right and put my tripod up as high as it would go and then stood on a little stool.

Chateau Gudanes, Carla Coulson, french chateau

As you can see I loved the staircase and didn’t want to miss a shot of this beautiful balustrade. I rarely use a wide angle lens but this is one case where it was the only way to get the whole perspective. When using a wide angle lens on architecture I often find it is better when you are on top of the subject as opposed to being far away. When you are far away it looks distorted.

chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau, france,

To shoot this pic I paid careful attention the lines and distortion. I had my tripod as high as it would go and used a ladder to shoot from so that I was as close as possible to the middle of the distance from floor to ceiling. The closer I am to the floor with a height like this the more the vertical lines will be distorted..

carla coulson, chateau gudanes, french chateau, karina waters,

I adored how Karina had little still lifes happening in many of the rooms, I wandered around the rooms looking at them from all angles taking hand held snaps till I liked something I saw and then I would set up my tripod.

chateau gudanes, carla coulson, karina waters, french chateau, tapestry,

As I was conscious of shooting a whole series of portraits the following day, I wanted to be careful that I had many different angles and wasn’t presenting the same room over and over again shot from the same perspective for the interior shots and the portraits.

stairwell, carla coulson, french chateau, karina waters, chateau gudanes,

I love playing with lines and shapes when shooting interiors and this one was fun but a challenge. I had recently bought a super tripod with a central column that lies horizontally (I could have got a pair of Louboutins for the same price) but this is where it out performs any other tripod. I set the camera up with the lens pointing straight up through the stairwell and I crawled under my camera to check focus, composition and exposure.

chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau,

This too was shot from a ladder and I centred myself in the middle of the shot.

5. Details

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I shot as many details as I could of the architecture. Detail shots give you a sense of intimacy and are great combination for an art director to work with with general interiors (of course we managed to squeeze a cat into our pic – thanks Karina).

6. Exterior Landscapes and Grounds

chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau, karina waters,

We are almost done! I shot scenes from the Chateau windows down onto the village below, shot from the front of the house looking back towards the mountains, in the park and played with the light.

Unfortunately I can’t show you all the shots as my blog will blow up but I hope this helps and gives you an idea of what a wonderful place Chateau Gudanes is and if you ever stumble across a Chateau to shoot  these tips might help.

Check out the fabulous Chateau Gudanes cause it’s marvellous.. A huge thank-you to the Walter’s family and the lovely Karina for making this shoot a dream. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook.

You can see the Harper’s Bazaar final shoot here.

“For me, every day is a new thing. I approach each project with a new insecurity, almost like the first project I ever did. And I get the sweats. I go in and start working, I’m not sure where I’m going. If I knew where I was going I wouldn’t do it.” Architect Frank Gehry




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Travel Photography Series Part 5 – Colour Palettes

travel photography, food photography, carla coulson, colour palettes, octopus panino, octopus, carla coulson

Octopus Panino Polignano A Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

For those of you who love travel photography I started a Travel Photography series a while back. The series was in four parts and covers food, people, architecture and events and if you missed them the links are at the end of this post.

I have been meaning forever to add a chat about colour palettes as it is important when creating a travel story so I have added a fifth part to this series.

Colour is one of the most powerful tools we have to use in photography. And when you look around life just serves up the most extraordinary colour situations and is often repeated in the strangest of subjects. Love this!

The way we use colour in our images talks about what we want to say, what mood we want to create, what feelings we want to heighten and it can also speak of your style. Just the way painters choose a colour palette when creating a canvas we can do the same thing with photography.

Some photographers will go out of their way to avoid a certain colour or go in search of their favourite colours across a range of subjects.

The language of magazines and the way an art director will put together a story revolves around the way images sit harmoniously together and it all depends on the colour.

Here’s a quick look at some colour palettes:

Neutral Colours

Nordic photographers are famous for their simple colour palettes based around white and neutral tones of beige and grey which bring a sense of calm, serenity and cleanliness to their images.

blue and white

Neutral Colours of blue, terracotta and green at Masseria Cimino Copyright Carla Coulson

puglia, travel photography, carla coulson, baroque, martina franca, white and beige, colour palettes

Neutral colours of white beige and brown repeated in statues in a workshop and the baroque streets of Martina Franca

Copyright Carla Coulson

Spot Colour

Shooting a spot colour can be loads of fun, like going on a treasure hunt. You can focus on one particular colour that appears in all sorts of different situations with a neutral background.  It could be red repeated in a jumper, a sign, scarf, or a door or in the case below the green doors, curtains and shutters against the white backdrop of Puglia. It adds a pop of energy to your images.


 Spot colour on the streets of Ceglie Messapica and Door Martina Franca Copyright Carla Coulson

travel photography, puglia, italy, colour palettes, carla coulson, ceglie messapica,

 Neutral colours of white and blue repeated in the streets, shirt and umbrella

with a spot colour of yellow repeated in the tie and doorway

Local boy and a street in Ceglie Messapica Copyright Carla Coulson

Bright Colours

Bright, strong saturated colours bring a sensation of energy to a photo if combined harmoniously. When I was shooting the pics below on different days in different locations I was surprised at the repetition of royal blue and orange..

travel photography puglia, carla coulson, colour palettes, san vito polignano a mare, blue orange,

Beach Polignano A Mare and San Vito Polignano A Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

There are loads of other colour palettes you can choose to photograph including beautiful pastels, serene blues, dark colours to add mood or quirky colour combinations.

Depending on your aesthetic as a photographer as to which colour palettes you will find pleasing.

If you would love to hone your travel photography skills and shoot colour palettes to your heart’s content you might like to join me and my ‘Caravan’ and travel to the yet to be discovered part of Puglia in Southern Italy (where my hubby’s from and in the pics above) with like-minded souls. It’s gonna be fun! All details here.

If you want to read more travel photography posts you might like these about Food, People, Architecture and Events.

My Favourite Gear

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 

Canon EF 24-70mm 

Canon EF 35mm 

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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Theatrical Portraits + Shooting Tips

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0001

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

There is nothing I like better than two gorgeous gals rocking up in Paris with suitcases bursting with clothes and theatrical ideas in their heads.

What a treat it was to shoot this job. This fabulous mother and daughter were bunkered down in the beautiful L’Hotel just a couple of steps from the Beaux Arts on the Left Bank.

L’Hotel is were Oscar Wilde famously passed away so Oscar had to be a part of the fun.

As I shot this mother roaring with laughter with her daughter I thought what a special bond they have and what a treat to doing something as fun with your glam mum in Paris. Brava Mel!

Stay tuned at the bottom on the post for shooting tips on how I shot these pics.

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Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0003

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Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde l'hotel paris

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Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0007

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0008

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0011

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0012

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Carla Coulson portrait oscar wilde l'hotel paris

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0016

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0009

Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde L'hotel Paris 0010

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

How I shot these Photos..

I am a huge fan of two light looks. Natural light and dramatic flash.

Where the natural light was beautiful I took advantage and used large window light.

The room was fabulous and I have learnt in Parisian hotels the bed moves! So to create extra shots I moved the bed to the other part of the room and added the sofa under baldachino.

To create different scenes we kept moving the furniture.  To have the studio look in the top images I selected a simple part of the room as a backdrop and used the light fall off between my subject and the background to create a little drama with the darker background.

The flash shots..

These pics were taken in a room with no natural light.

I set up my Nikon Nikon SB 910 on a Light Stand and I added my Gary Fong Diffuser
to the flash and pointed it directly at my subject, front on just slightly tilted down towards their faces. I used a set of Wireless Transmitters  to fire the flash.

All images were shot on my Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm Lens

In post-processing I added a vignette to these images in Photoshop.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of Parisian fun..

“Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show to the world… Every so often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.” Irving Penn




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Are Your Photos of Movement a Disaster?

Kerrie Hess Carla Coulson

Kerrie Hess shot at 1/640 second on F4 copyright Carla Coulson

Do you love photos of movement but struggle with the technical side? Are your images too blurry when you don’t want them to be? Out of focus? Too frozen or there is too much camera shake?

I too love shooting movement especially people. It’s a big part of how I take portraits and create emotion so today I want to share a couple of tips.

1.  Depth of Field – So once you get someone moving such as walking or running they are generally moving in a range from a couple of metres to who knows where! To make sure they will be within your depth of field (the distance in focus as the camera sees it) choose an F-Stop such as F-11 or F16 (the higher the numbers the more depth of field).. This will give you a really wide depth of field from your focal point to infinity (i.e. lots of distance in focus). You will see in the above shot the F-Stop is F4, I wouldn’t recommend this if you are just starting out as the depth of field is very shallow. You can read more about depth of field here

2. Shutter Speed – This is your creative choice.  Your choice of shutter speed will depend on how fast your subject is moving,  whether you want a little movement blur or the movement to be absolutely frozen. In the above shot I have chosen a fast speed of 1/640 second as I wanted the movement frozen but as she was running I still have a little movement blur which I love. If I had wanted no movement blur I could have chosen a shutter speed of 1/2000 second. The slower the shutter speed i.e. 1/30 second the more movement blur, the higher the shutter speed such as 1/2000 second the more your movement will be frozen. More on shutter speeds here

3. ISO – Ok now you need to select an ISO that matches your above requirements. Dial up or down depending on your light conditions. The above shot was taken in mid-winter in Paris on a really low lit day. I had to go up to an ISO of 2000 to allow for a high shutter speed and that’s why I ended up using an F4 as I didn’t want to go any higher. As I mentioned above I recommend more depth of field when starting out. You can read more about ISO here

As movement is one of the key elements I use to create emotion in images and it is a technique I use everyday in my photography it will be a big subject at my Picture This Workshop along with many other of my shooting techniques and secrets.

If you feel blocked with how you are currently taking portraits, want to get out from behind the desk and get behind the camera or take steps forward to making photography a career you might like to join me and a great group of photographers at the Picture This Workshop in Sydney January 5,6,7,8 2015. It’s going to be a hoot! Last Places left..

If you have any questions about shooting movement leave me a message in the comments below and I will be sure to get back to you.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Steve Jobs




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