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

details chateau gudanes, carla coulson, french chateau,

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




PS: Love you to share.. xx

Like this post? Don’t miss one..

Why The Gods Gave Me A Cat And You..

carla coulson, susan papazian,

Photo Copyright the marvellous Susan Papazian

On Tuesday I had a big FAT birthday.. I will let you figure out which one but a week or two prior it was sending seismic waves through my life, loads of thoughts and emotions about life in general.

There are moments in life that make us stop, reflect on where we are, how far we have come and where we are going. I had the great fortune to celebrate with a photo shoot by photographer Susan Papazian and boy did we have fun (see image above).

So much has happened since I left my old life, dare I say it, 14 years ago. So many extraordinary moments I would never have had the chance to live if I was still sitting at a desk doing something I didn’t care about. I’m grateful for every day.

Looking back I can hardly believe it’s true, so many wonderful people have helped me, gave me a chance when they didn’t need to and supported me in what I was doing. For me I have never felt it has been a solo effort,  I have always believed that the universe and ‘you’ wanted it to work out.

When I walked into a darkroom in Florence in 2000 I had no idea I was starting the first day of a new life, if I had known all of the living that was in front of me I probably would have done it a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong there has been anxiety, tears, hardship, and fear in large doses but the love, happiness, excitement of doing something I love and personal reward and meeting you have far outweighed the rest.

I really feel as though the universe has already handed out too much to me. How come I was so lucky to have found my way to photography? You see photography for me is more than taking pictures, photography is my emotional language, the way I see the world, the way I communicate, the way I feel and interpret people and situations and it has connected me to you.

There was a time in my early forties when it hit me like a head on train crash that I had forgot to have a baby? I remember wandering around Paris hearing that clock ticking in my head and freaking me out like it has done to so many women of my generation.

Continue Reading

Like this post? Don’t miss one..

Love Comes In Many Forms….

puglia, carla coulson, travel photography, caravan travel photography, italy, martina franca, ceglie messapica,

All photos taken in Puglia copyright Carla Coulson

Morning Lovelies,

Love comes in many forms.  When I am in Italy, taking travel photos or teaching photography I have a feeling that is close to love.

I am giddy with happiness to be able to combine these three loves and hit the road next June for a travel photography workshop in stunning Puglia, Italy.

I am inviting budding travel photographers, amateur photographers and bloggers to join me for a unique learning experience.

I would love to pass on to you the passion I have for photography, all the beautiful things it has taught me and the secrets that have allowed me to capture photos full of emotion.

If it has been your heart’s desire to improve your travel photography or push your current skills in a safe environment with a group of supportive people (in a magical part of the world) you might just love this workshop!

Monday the 20th October (at midnight Paris Time) is the last day to register for this fabulous life-time experience and I would love to have you along for the ride..

All details here and if you would like to register you can fill out this form.

“Anytime we step out boldly to make changes, we take a chance that we might fail. But the only way to get better is to try.” Joyce Meyer




Like this post? Don’t miss one..

They Had A Dream.. And Look Where It Took Them!

Lisa Luscombe, Carla Coulson, Martina Franca, Caravan Travel Photography Workshop, travel photography

Martina Franca Copyright Lisa Luscombe

You know how sometimes that feeling of giving is better than receiving? When you have wrapped up a present you know someone is going to love and they open it and tears of joy roll down their faces.

Well, this is the feeling I had for 6 full days sharing all I have learnt in the past 13 years with these 12 fabulous photographers and look what they did with that info!

These aren’t my photos, they are the photos of the people who participated in last year’s Caravan Travel Photography workshop and they make my heart skip two beats.

Susan Papazian, carla coulson, travel photography, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia

Portrait  Copyright Susan Papazian

It is with great ‘mamma pride’ that I present their work. Not only were they twelve of the most fabulous people one could wish to spend 6 days with in Puglia but each one has their own way of looking at the world, their own heart and soul that they put into the pics and what a talented bunch they are..

jilly bennett, carla coulson, travel photography, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, grottaglie

Grottaglie Copyright Jilly Bennett

This is going to be a long post so I suggest you make your favourite beverage, switch off your social media and lose yourself in the incredible of work of these talented photographers.

Mandy Robb, Martina Franca, Carla Coulson, Caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography,

Martina Franca Copyright Mandy Robb

Bari Susan Papazian, Caravan travel Photography workshop, puglia, travel photography

Bari Copyright Susan Papazian

John Callisto, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, Italy, travel photography

Ceglie Messapica Copyright John Callisto

Lisa Luscombe, Carla Coulson, Caravan travel photography workshop, martina franca, travel photography

Martina Franca Copyright Lisa Luscombe

Susan Papazian, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, martina franca, puglia

Martina Franca Copyright Susan Papazian

Mandy Robb, Ceglie Messapica, caravan travel photography, carla coulson, puglia, italy Martina Franca Copyright Mandy Robb

Susan Papazian, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy,

Martina Franca Copyright Susan Papazian

Renae Smith, caravan travel photography workshop, carla coulson, travel photography, puglia,

Photo Copyright Renae Smith

Lisa Luscombe, Masseria Cimino, puglia, caravan travel photography workshop, Carla Coulson, puglia

Masseria Cimino Copyright Lisa Luscombe

masseria cimino, susan papazian, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, puglia

Masseria Cimino Copyright Susan Papazian

John Callisto, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, masseria cimino, puglia

Masseria Cimino Copyright John Callisto

Renae smith, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, martina franca, travel photography, puglia

Detail Copyright Renae Smith

Lisa Luscombe, Carla Coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, food photography, puglia,

Food Copyright Lisa Luscombe

john callisto, carla coulson, food photography, caravan travel photography workshop, carla coulson, puglia,

Food  Copyright John Callisto

Mandy Robb, Carla Coulson, Caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, puglia,

Martina Franca Copyright Mandy Robb

Jilly Bennett, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy,  dog

Bari Copyright Jilly Bennett

Lisa Luscombe, Ceglie messapica, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy, travel photography

Portrait Copyright Lisa Luscombe

Lisa luscombe, carla coulson, portrait, puglia, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography

Portrait Copyright Lisa Luscombe

Jilly Bennett, carla coulson, puglia, martina franca, caravan travel photography workshop,

Portrait Copyright Jilly Bennett

procession ceglie messapica, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy

Ceglie Messapia Copyright Mandy Robb

susan papazian, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, puglia, ceglie messapica

Ceglie Messapica Copyright Susan Papazian

julie rowe, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, travel photography, puglia, italy, panning

Vespa copyright Julie Rowe

John callisto, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy, martina franca, carla coulson

Martina Franca Copyright John Callisto

julie rowe, polignano a mare, carla coulson, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia

Polignano A Mare Copyright Julie Rowe

Lisa Luscombe, caravan travel photography workshop, puglia, italy, travel photography

Food Copyright Lisa Luscombe

This is the tip of the iceberg. I hope to share more of their images in the coming months.

If you too would like to take your travel photography skills to new dizzy heights you might like to join my for the 2nd Edition of the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop next June 2015..Registration closes Monday 20th October 2014. All details here

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman


Share if you like their pics!

Like this post? Don’t miss one..

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


Share the travel love..

Like this post? Don’t miss one..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...