5 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life - Carla Coulson
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5 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life

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Dear Photography Enthusiasts,

There are many wonderful things I see when women find their way to photography and these are some of my favourites.

I can see it in their eyes, they are a little more ALIVE than the day before, I can hear the EXCITEMENT in the timbre in their voice when they talk about the images they have just taken and they can’t get the words out quick enough about the people they have just met.  I see it in their stance, as their craft improves, so does their CONFIDENCE in themselves, I can see it in their ENERGY as they whizz out the door to go get some more of that photography ‘juice’ of goodness they have just imbibed on.

I have seen it hundreds of times from the women (and men) who have made their way to my workshops, that once they have drunk the photography ‘koolaid’, they and their life will be never the same. They get connected to themselves, life, creativity, learning, being present, technology and the thrill and love of creating images that I too know so well.

When we start something creative we never think about what happens in the process, we just think about the outcome and most of the time the quickest way to get there. But I have learnt that photography if you allow it some time, it can change your life and this is how.


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When we learn anything it pushes us to go out of our comfort zone and this going out of our comfort zone is where the magic is. It’s called a comfort zone because it’s comfortable but there is no growth, evolution, or learning there. So when you pick up a camera and decide to play with it, explore life and creativity and connect with others, you are taking a daily step out of your comfort zone and little by little the magic starts to come your way. Your world starts to grow, your boundaries change from week to week, you get more daring one step at a time and it’s only when we look back at a chunk of time that we realise how much more zing we have in our life today, thanks to getting out of that comfortable place. Up and at ’em!


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It’s happened to me a million times and I can see it in the girls who run off to go find another photo, there is magic in the connection that comes as a bonus (like getting a set of steak knives for free when you were purchasing something else) that you never expected when you picked up a camera. You get connected to people when you ask, “Can I take your photo?” or when you see magic in their life and get invited in, you get connected to you when you pass by a homeless person and ask yourself, “Would that be a subject I would be interested in photographing or does it hurt too much, feel too private or invasive?”

Every shot for me has been a question, a questioning of my values, of who I am, of how I feel about things and it happens to most people walking around with a camera. In holding the camera, in deciding where to point it and what to focus on, in dialing down into your vision, style, values, behaviour, and your interest in life, you get connected on all levels and folks, if that isn’t something worth celebrating as an easy-peasy way to do some self-development, I would like to know what is!


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One of the big diseases of our modern life is never being present in the moment. We are always looking to the future or reflecting on the past but to be truly present in the moment, for many of us is a battle. What photography does is invite you to look closely at life, to feel, to get your antenna up on situations and people. In this process of looking, studying, framing, and composing, you are in the moment 100%. It is the most delicious way to be mindful without trying to force anything. Win, win!!


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We all come into this world as fresh, fearless, loving creatures full of creativity. We draw, paint, dress up, create imaginary stories and love to play but then as we grow society starts to condition us about those things and often we stop, feel shame and tell ourselves we aren’t creative. Well folks, here’s the good news, even if your creativity has been buried for years it is still there. It might be underneath a pile of annual reports, or trapped in the middle of Excel files (although that in itself is very creative) or pushed to the bottom of some law documents, all creativity needs is a little time, love and water and she will grow from a seed to an oak tree as it was always there. Creativity is there waiting for you to shine a light on her and it just takes for you to turn on your heel, smile in her direction, and call her over and the unfolding will start, just like the best of love affairs.


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The number one thing that sends many women (and men) into shutdown is technology but folks the news is that technology is here to stay. Yes, technology isn’t going anywhere, Fred Flintstone is not coming back with a hammer, a block of stone and a chisel and we are Not going back to hieroglyphics so what that means is if you want to be part of the human race in 2019 and thereafter you should start a love affair, even if it is ever so small with technology. Photography is one of those things that ‘sucks you in’ to loving technology. You WANT to see your photos look even sexier with a little post-processing razzmatazz, so you WANT to learn how to use Lightroom; you want to bring more emotion into your images, so you WANT to learn how to use F-stops and shutter speeds till you can do it in your sleep. The love of seeing your images and putting them out into the world makes you WANT to share them and master Instagram. So dearest folks, photography makes you WANT to learn more technology, stay up with what’s going on and it shows you that technology can be SEXY and SEDUCTIVE. Hot to trot!


So dear photographers and photography enthusiasts, remember each time you pick up your camera, compose and press the shutter speed, your photography muse is working for you on all levels, emotional, physical and spiritual. Sheesh, that is a fun mind, body, spirit workout!


“No place is boring if you have had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.”

– Robert Adams

Love and light,

Carla x

  • Wow every word of that resonated with me. So true Carla!

    February 27, 2019 at 9:22 am
  • Yay Carla! I’m ready to go!!!

    February 27, 2019 at 9:30 am
  • Photography can open the world in so many ways.
    Photography makes philosophers out of us.
    Photography makes us question.
    Photography is a gift – it helps us retain our memories.

    February 28, 2019 at 1:33 am
  • Just love everything about this and totally agree. Thank you.

    March 15, 2019 at 9:32 am
  • Patrick

    Hi Carla thank you for your inspiration wisdom. I also long find my creative spirit which has continuously been hidden and suppressed, I’d like to think through no fault of my own but at the end of the day I am “master of my decisions and actions” so to speak.

    At a young age I was able to travel with my parents back and forth to Italy and also has a chance to live there for a year as a young Adult whereby, I found a close affinity with my relatives and local residents.

    Whilst there I begun to consume an awareness of the magnificent architecture, philosophy, history, art, thousands of years of merging cultures all into one and culinary delights. Having soaked in all this hypnotic lifestyle, I start to open my eyes to art and the art of life.

    I would now like to reflect that consumption of life through photography and other art forms so I can reflect what I see to others.

    Thank you for your periodical articles which have motivated me to pursue my aspiration and remove myself form this mediocratic autocratic and pragmatic lifestyle to nowhere.


    March 20, 2019 at 2:17 am

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