Category Archives: Portrait Inspiration

Kerrie Hess – Parisian Beauty

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 All photos copyright Carla Coulson

Kerrie Hess could just be one of those fabulous girls she illustrates daily for some of the world’s biggest brands. Elegant, soft, feminine and fun she is one of my faves.

I was lucky enough to meet Kerrie on a shoot for Australian magazine Madison some years ago and from that day forth I was a huge fan of this fun gal and her beautiful work.

For anyone unfamiliar with Kerrie’s work, her portfolio includes big Kahuna brands such as Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Chanel, Collette Dinnigan, Vogue Australia and Harper’s Bazaar.

To celebrate her recent visit to Paris, the launch of her range of Kerrie Hess shoes with Ballettonet, being in this fab city we did a little shoot in some of her favourite places.

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All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

Nobody knows her brand like the fabulous Kerrie Hess, she lives, breathes, paints and wears the colours you regularly see in her illustrations. For me, it is pure fantasy to photograph her and her beautiful life but it is her reality. Nothing is put on folks, just gorgeousness everyday from the fab Ms. Hess.

I hope you enjoyed this little escape to Paris..

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” Vincent Van Gogh

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Paris Beauty – Private Portrait Shoot

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All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

I’m lucky, not only did I have the good fortune to shoot this beauty but I also had the chance to witness a generous gesture from a loving father to his beautiful daughter.

Liv’s gorgeous dad was fortunate to be photographed when a child by bohemian portrait photographer Ida Kar and he gifted a similar experience (love to think I am a boho photographer) to his daughter to record her year living in Paris.

So on an idyllic sunday morning with the sun shining and the world asleep the beautiful Liv, her gorgeous man Mark and my gang created these beautiful pics. It was a treat for me to have someone in front of the camera that was so relaxed, had such a playful nature and a beautiful heart. Hey, with a dad like that, it’s no surprise.

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All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

This last pic was the first one of day, I figured every young girl needs to remember being young and happy in Paris jumping on her bed!!

I adore shooting women of all ages but there is something so special about shooting young women, somewhere between teenagers and ‘who knows where’, to capture that fleeting moment in life when they may not know just how beautiful they are!

A huge shout out to James for this opportunity and his beautiful gift to me of a book of Ida Kar’s work, endless inspiration that now takes pride of place in my photography library.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway

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Parisian Urban Bride

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All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

The idea for this shoot actually came from my wedding!!

I loved getting married in Paris, it was the most fuss free event of my life. I was dressed at home, did my own make-up (hadn’t met my fab make-up artist at this point) walked with a couple of friends to our local cafe, dropped into the boulangerie to say hello and was shot on the street with my darling, dogs and Paris in the background. Our wedding was in the middle of market day in the 4th and I loved coming out with a simple bouquet of flowers to be welcomed by friends amongst the fishmonger, the butcher and my favourite florist. It felt so Parisian!

When the gorgeous Helene from Cest Ma Robe told me she wanted to shoot a range of designer wedding gowns I thought it would be fun for our gorgeous ‘bride’ to be an Urban bride.

Now gals not only can you get married in Paris but you can be married in Matthew Williamson, Azzaro, Rachel Zoe and vintage Dior.

Sounds like a dream?  Helene had the genius idea to gather together a  collection of designer bridal gowns for the chic, the boho, the hippy, the romantic and the funky bride and here’s the great news..drum roll..  you can rent them. Yes you no longer need to get a mortgage to get married. Ain’t that the best news.

So if you are soon to be married in Paris (shout out to gorgeous friend Louisa) check out Cest Ma Robe.

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Huge thanks to beautiful Monika from WM Models, to the talented stylist Joy Dreyfus and Veronique Marot for the hair and make-up.

If you would like to know more about a Personal Branding shoot click here.

“I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.” Lord Byron

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A Vermeer Inspired Portrait (and a 2 min studio)

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Photo Copyright Carla Coulson

When I landed back in Paris after the big, bright skies and colour of Australia something happened.

Everything about my world had changed. The light, the clothes, the skies, the surroundings, the colour palettes and I felt inspired to reach inside and take advantage of this feeling!

It inspired me to create moody images, beautiful soft portraits photographed with a slow shutter speed on black to replicate how I was feeling.

These photos were shot in a very simple way. I created a ‘2 min studio’ by using a black backdrop that you can see at the end of the post and a shutter speed of 1/15 second..

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2 Min Studio

We taped up a piece of black cloth perpendicular to the window and the light fall off between the cloth and my model did the rest.

If the window had been facing the cloth instead of perpendicular to it we would have had to have been careful with the cloth and what was underneath it as the light from the window would have illuminated the scene more evenly and shown all the defects.

Sending you lots of camera shake!

“My style is definitely schizophrenic; it does change from day to day a lot. It depends on my mood: sometimes I’ll be going through a girly, childlike stage and wear a pretty lace dress with a bow in my hair. Then sometimes I’ll be moody and just wear black.” Amber Le Bon

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Picture This Workshop – Colourfest

picture this workshop sydney 2015, mexican fiesta, frida kahlo fashion, purdy in bloom, carla coulson, pink walls, colour inspiration, portrait workshop, portrait inspiration Our Frida Kahlo inspired model copyright Carla Coulson and headpiece by Purdy in Bloom

I love heading to Sydney in the summer to be welcomed by Australia’s booming light, bright colours and sunny Australians.

What a joy it was to plan this year’s Picture This Workshop and an ever greater kick after all the planning to meet the fabulous photographers who joined me and my super team for 4 days of portraiture and photo talk.

This year we went nuts on the colour, rented a big, knock-out mansion in Vaucluse that had pink walls galore, a garden to break your heart and a beautiful pool and cabana. We couldn’t resist a little unadulterated colour and fun to go with it.

So many wonderful people collaborated on this workshop to make it happen including two experienced photographers who assisted me, ‘real people’ models, stylists, make-up artists, organisers (amazing job Ath) and caterers.

The wonderful Tanya Anic from Tanya Anic Bridal went all out and created the beautiful blue silk chiffon dress specially for the workshop (and we went wild shooting movement with this soft floaty fabric). And the lovely Sara Dobson from Purdy in Bloom created our fun coloured headpiece for our Mexican Fiesta theme and also lent us her beauty as one of the models.

Here are some happy snaps I took during the 2 days of shooting..

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carla coulson, picture this workshop sydney, mexican fiesta, colour inspiration, portrait workshop, portrait inspiration, pink walls, purdy in bloom Mexican Fiesta photos Copyright Carla Coulson Floral headpiece by Purdy in Bloom

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50’s retro inspired glam beach theme photos copyright Carla Coulson

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Blue silk chiffon dress designed by the talented Tanya Anic  Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

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Gorgeous Sara Dobson from Purdy in Bloom copyright Carla Coulson 

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Our gorgeous model Charlie and the team on the last day copyright Carla Coulson

It was a joy and honour to teach the photographers who travelled from around Australia and from America (love ya Lisa) and it made my photographers heart beat with happiness to have two male participants this year who were enthusiastic, fabulous and took great pics.

In four days all the photographers were shooting original, unique portraits with their own special slant on it and I walked away from another workshop smiling happily to myself.

There is no greater joy than giving a little of the ‘key to the city’ and seeing you take it and make it your own.

So to all the marvellous people that were a part of Picture This 2015 a huge thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” Mark Van Doren

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