Inspiration – Kate Moss + Marion Cottilard

Carla Coulson portrait shoot All Photos copyright Carla Coulson

I adored shooting this beautiful girl recently and there is nothing like a little Fashion/Movie star icon inspiration to get the creative forces flowing in a photo shoot.

carla coulson portrait paris black and white

She had a Kate Moss/rocker chick inspired wardrobe but when I looked through the lens  could only see Marion Cotillard!

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

Beautiful eyes and perfect lips..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

A little London, a little Paris..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

Ohh and we just needed her hanging off the back of a dragster motorbike as though she was the cool girlfriend of Peter Fonda in Easyrider.

Carla Coulson portrait shoot

Shhhhh don’t spoil it..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

A dash of red..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

And a twist of Catherine Deneuve..

Carla Coulson portrait paris

A sun shower..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

The perfect Parisian store..

Carla Coulson portrait shoot paris

My fiat 500 obsession continues..

Carla Coulson portrait paris

All Photos copyright Carla Coulson

Homeward bound..

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel

Light and love



French Dressing


One of the advantages and disadvantages of being a photographer is we always looking. And I mean really looking, studying, dissecting and perusing everything that passes our eyes.

Often my ‘looking’ turns into an internal dialogue and I find myself walking down the street ‘chatting’ to myself about the width of a collar, the shine reflecting from the cobblestones,  the incredible light in someones hair or that half eaten macaroon left on a side walk cafe (you sure you don’t want that?)

All this looking can be exhausting at times but when I lay down and go to sleep the looking continues in my dreams, in fine detail and often in technicolour!

French chic

I have had 10 years to study how French women dress and what a wonderful lesson it has been. Years ago back in Sydney I thought sexy meant figure hugging and skin showing (I guess that was the only way to get the Aussie boys to look) but the French have shown me sexy is a whole other story.

On the streets of Paris in the heights of summer it is still difficult to find a woman with her cleavage showing in a mini skirt. It’s all very contained and understated and as the years have rolled on, I am LOVING it!

The Parisians are the masters of the jacket and crisp white shirt, the feminine t-shirt in just the right shade (half in half out) tucked into their skinny jeans.

french chic

And thanks to the fabulous Yves Saint Laurent who rolled out the Le Smoking (aka dinner jacket) in his heyday,  French women will be eternally chic.

Fab photographer Susan Papazian recently asked to shoot me and for once I was asked one of the questions I ask the women I shoot. What would I like to wear?

Deep inside I am a happy old hippy (think flower child in colour embroidered clothing) but I have been through every fashion train-crash there is to have. My parents bit there lips and held onto their ‘ugggghssss’ at the horrendous concotions I would invent but even dad couldn’t help himself a little OMG when I presented myself in salmon pink jodhpurs that cost about a months rent to go on a family picnic.


So I have been thinking for a month who am I at this age in life and what do I want to wear. I just keep coming back to that YSL dinner jacket and that fabulous photo taken by Helmut Newton on the street where I live (well at least where my bathroom is). Oh and Kate Winslet, if i could be as gorgeous as Kate that would be a treat.

I wanna be chic, I wanna be a little French and I don’t want any skin showing. french chic

Yep the arms ain’t what they use to be, neither is the cleavage or the legs so I am following the lead of the French.

But I know from all the people I have shot over the years that the real beauty and magic is on the inside and when they allow us to see that beauty that’s when a good photo becomes a great one.

So here’s whats on my insides! When I wake up everyday I am happy, that’s who I am,  I want to make you happy cause it’s in my DNA,  I need very little and want very little, I am just happy to be here with you (and hubby and Avedon) and to live this great life.

french chic

Oh and can I have that fabulous eyeliner and a red lip? Just once..

Waddya think can I rock it?

What would you wear? Love to hear..

“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile, and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.” Doris Day



Feel free to share.. xx


Parisian Rock ‘N Roll Dandy

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

All photos Copyright Carla Coulson

I have had this shoot in my head for years! A little train crash between Oscar Wilde, Johnny Depp with a dash of Tom Waits and sung by Lou Reed…

Shoot ideas can come from everywhere and this one arrived in the middle of the night.

I have had the habit whilst shooting recently of humming Lou Reed’s A Perfect Day, cause that’s what shooting makes me feel, like the day was perfect.

And this day was another one of them..

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

And when these two gorgeous people turned up looking like Dandy’s my reality became a dream.

Add a sunny day in Paris and a little Johnny Depp styling and we were away. So I would suggest clicking here and listening to Mr. Reed’s A Perfect Day whilst viewing these photos!

Carla Coulson Paris Portrait dandy

Perfect Day Lyrics by Lou Reed

Just a perfect day
Drink sangria in the park
And then later, when it gets dark
We go home

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later a movie, too
And then home

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

 Just a perfect day
You made me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

 Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

I’m looking forward to sharing more shoots from this year and last year soon..

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

Wish you were here..

Dandy Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

All photos Copyright Carla Coulson

Sending you light and love..

“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” Wayne Dyer


For Our Furry Friends


Want Me T-Shirt by Matthew Usmar 

We all need to be wanted!

My gorgeous friends Claire Lloyd and Matthew Usmar have been rescuing cats and dogs on the Greek Island of Lesvos for the past 6 years.

They have done an AMAZING job looking after, loving and re-homing animals that others no longer want and often are left to die. I feel so proud to have such wonderful friends and knowing that they are making a difference with their generous hearts and endless love for these animals that fortunately find their way to their door.

Matthew is a stunning artist and I am lucky this summer to do a couple of lessons with him (look out Picasso)! He has turned his art to a good cause, raising money to re-home and feed these little ones.


Often I feel guilty that I am don’t have a swag of cats and dogs to look after but hey a one-bedroom Parisian apartment is just big enough for Avedon and his attitude (big). So to help my lovely friends and our furry friends I bought two of these adorable t-shirts for hubby and myself and if you too love animals you can get yours here

If you want to see some of Matthews art and follow the antics of the animals they rescue you can catch him on Instagram

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

Please share for the good of man(and animal)kind!

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 

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