Blog - Carla Coulson
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Belief – Portrait Photography Workshop Italy 2019

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BELIEF: A FEELING OF CERTAINTY THAT SOMETHING EXISTS, IS TRUE, OR IS GOOD.

 

Dear Photographers,

I am super excited today to launch a brand new workshop rolling together my favourite elements of photography and coaching to help you bust your glass ceiling in the realms of portraiture… drumroll… ladies and gents, we present… Belief Portrait Photography Workshop Italy 2019 (this is the bit where we need Aretha Franklin and her back-up singers).

After the wonderful Heartland Environmental Workshop in October 2018 at the exquisite Masseria Potenti, workshop co-ordinator Athalee Brown and I have the greatest pleasure in presenting another unique workshop in this heavenly location in Puglia, Italy.

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The ultimate gift for a photographer is the belief in themselves, their vision, and their skills. It was with these key three things in mind that I masterminded with Photographer Loc Boyle to bring together our love of portrait photography and creativity. I have added my skills as a life coach to help YOU gain a deeper belief in your photographic vision, more confidence in working with your portrait subject and embracing your creativity to dream bigger. Oh, and did we mention the linen sheets!!

I show you how to access something deeper within you that will allow you to go beyond those awkward moments when it feels like nothing is happening, to provoke your subject to draw out more than a pretty portrait. We show you how to use the language of natural light to strengthen the mood of your photo.

0F4A6291 Carla-CoulsonYes, folks taking portraits is as much about you as it is about your portrait subject. To become skilled at (or even close) to taking the portraits you want means getting comfortable with you and letting go of the feelings of shyness, embarrassment, and taking up someone’s time. Connecting to yourself helps you to connect to others. So get ready to dance, laugh and get vulnerable!

It’s about having the courage to sit through the awkward moments till something happens instead of racing to get a picture done. It’s about opening YOUR HEART as much as trying to get your portrait subject to OPEN THEIRS.

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I teach you the secrets I have learnt CREATING A VISION for lifestyle shoots for Harper’s Bazaar, bowling up to unsuspecting folks on a Greek Island to capture a portrait in a language I can’t speak or approaching people in unique circumstances whilst travelling.

Talented Photographer and teacher Loc Boyle will join us. Loc is a favourite with our participants for his comprehensive teaching skills and technical mastery and will put you at ease from day one.

Being able to capture something only you see, tapping into something deeper within you and within the person in front of you to create an image that causes us to stop, reflect and ponder ‘who is this person, what’s their story’?

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All of this will be taught in a place close to heaven, the beautiful Masseria Potenti. A place that will nurture and inspire the soul and serve as the perfect backdrop to start mastering YOUR CONFIDENCE AND BELIEF, the use of light and space, working with people all made easier in a supportive environment where you can push and challenge yourself to take those photos you dream of taking.

If you would like to join us on this unique workshop,  you can see the full details here.

 

Related Post: Celebrating These Photographers in Puglia

 

Consciousness and My Camera

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Dear Folks,

There is a lot of talk about consciousness and meditation and for many gals and guys, it can feel really frustrating at first to sit down and try and empty your mind of to-do lists and thoughts.

I remember when I first started trying to meditate, it felt like the impossible dream, sheez there was just so many thoughts running around my mind and so much to do!!

Ha ha, the whole point of meditation is to get calm so things become clearer and you make better decisions, you connect to more of your inner knowing, so the decisions you do make are the right ones for you. One of the end games is to connect to your heart.

I have worked out there are many ways to get to this lovely state of being in the now, slowing down and taking notice of life but the most fun for me has been using my camera (or iPhone).

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Consciousness-3

The simple process of wandering around a town, village, or beach, looking closely at life, observing, framing, clicking and being fully in the moment, waiting for life to choreograph itself in an enjoyable way, is possibly the most pleasurable for me.

I have realised when I have a camera in my hand or a person in front of me I’m about to photograph that I am really looking, feeling, seeing, and listening. I am 100% percent in the now, almost like a delicious version of tunnel vision that focuses me in that moment on what has caught my attention.

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My camera gives me two other lovely kickbacks, something akin to repeating ‘gratitude’ and ‘pleasure’ mantras. I will be walking around Paris on a day and see something pretty and want to photograph it, I stop, my brain recognizes beauty, I frame it and I get a little love rush for that small beauty that has just captured my attention. It might be an arrangement of shapes or beautiful colour palette, something funny or unexpected, nothing of great artistic importance but these little ‘love bites’ feed my creative soul, give beauty where minutes earlier there was none.

What the camera does for me is allow me to fully enjoy and experience life in the moment, so dear friends, if you are finding it hard to meditate, try wandering around with a camera and let pleasure lead you to what your heart and eye find interesting. It may just one day take you by the hand and lead you to you!!!

Love and snaps,

Carla x

Five Ways To Take Better Portraits

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Linda Maria Karlsson | @lindamariakarlsson | Copyright Carla Coulson

Dear Photographers,

I love portraiture! I love the challenge of working with people and creating an image that they love and I do too.

Working with people can be tricky, I have found it takes a greater energetic investment than landscape or cityscape photos so you need to be in the right mood to be able to give to your portrait subjects, to then receive something back reflected in the image.

parisfilmnoir, Carla Coulson, thebubblejoy, linda karlsson, Jasmijn van ooy, portrait paris, black and white photography, photographing women, photography tips, portraiture, portraiture tips

Marine | Copyright Carla Coulson

I thought it would be fun to share with you 5 tips that I take in my ‘toolkit’ each time I go to a portrait shoot.

  1. What do they want? – Before I start any shoot whether it be for a magazine or a private client or even for myself I ask what the client wants? Magazines always give a brief to a photographer of what they require and over the years I came up with my own ‘brief’ when working privately to ask my clients questions that would help me formulate where to start! Their answers have proved invaluable to me. The more I know about them the easier it is for me to get it right.

 

  1. Time – I give myself plenty of time on the shoot and make sure I am never late. As I am directing the shoot I need to be in a relaxed state otherwise my portrait subject will start to feel unnerved from the beginning. I make sure I allow an amount of time up to 30 minutes when I can chat with them, take a look around their house or have a coffee. Getting to know them is important before I get out the camera.

parisfilmnoir, Carla Coulson, thebubblejoy, linda karlsson, Jasmijn van ooy, portrait paris, black and white photography, photographing women, photography tips, portraiture, portraiture tips

Jasmijn Van Ooy | @jasmijnpicturesthis | Copyright Carla Coulson

 

  1. Your Vision – I like to have a creative starting point even before I arrive at my shoot. That starting point generally comes from a brief I have asked my client to complete and scouting the location or other historical, film or creative references. I love to make moodboards and often I do this on Pinterest. This can help a client get into the mood of things and see where I am going. Trust is everything and getting a client excited about your vision builds trust and the more they trust you the easier it will be for you to ask them to dance on tables or hose their husband down!! (well you know what I mean)

 

  1. Lens options – This is not essential, so if you are just starting out please don’t think you have to buy numerous lenses but if you haven’t had a chance to scout a location having options of wider focal lengths such as a 35 mm can instantly give you more space in a room. Even though portrait lenses such as an 85mm are glorious, sometimes they can be too tight if you are wanting to tell a little more story with your portrait.

parisfilmnoir, Carla Coulson, thebubblejoy, linda karlsson, Jasmijn van ooy, portrait paris, black and white photography, photographing women, photography tips, portraiture, portraiture tips

Mithra Ballestros | @thebubblejoy | Copyright Carla Coulson

 

  1. Playful energy – I don’t want to say that I am on a trampoline fist pumping before I go to a portrait shoot but I am very conscious of my energy. I have learnt that portraiture for women, in particular, makes them feel vulnerable and exposed and when women feel that way they often shut down. I try and make it fun so they forget it’s a portrait shoot and ends up feeling more like dress-ups with your girlfriends. The more your portrait subject gives, the better photos you will always have so I give as much as I can on the day and most of the time this is returned over and over again.

 

I hope this helps you take better portraits and have fun doing them. Love to hear your tips.

Sending love,

Carla x

Creativity Isn’t An Exclusive Club

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Dear Creators,

I was talking to the beautiful Domenica More Gordon the other day about creativity.

I love this woman, she is across all creative fields including making felt dogs, directing short films, and illustrating and writing children’s books.

We were talking about the process of creativity and the labels that are often associated with creativity that makes it appear that it is an exclusive club that not everyone has the member’s badge to enter.

Domenica is passionate, and so am I, that creativity is for everyone. We came into this world creative with the ability to create whatever we want but one of the things that we are rarely told in life, is that we are creators. We may hear that we are creative but rarely that we are creators and our lives are a form of art and the best way to create them is with passion.

Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd, Matthew Usmar Walkswithdogs, carla coulson retreat, greece, lesvos, creative retreat, living creatively, joy retreat, carla coulson workshops

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So what makes someone creative or not? In my humble opinion, it’s TIME and CONNECTION. 

It’s the choice or not to give something time, to try something you think you might be interested in, to poke around in the dark, scratch the surface like a chicken looking for a grub and when you find something you like, stick with it.

Yes, folks, that is my definition of creativity. It’s crossing the comfort zone of fear and saying I will pick up a paintbrush, an embroidery needle, a camera, an excel file, a pair of knitting needles or a guitar.

Music is in all of us, we just need to remember the rhythm. Art is in all of us, we just need to let go. Seeing is in all of us, if we slow down and take the time to see.

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Creativity for me is allowing myself to try something with no outcome and doing the kilometres (my Aussie way of saying doing it over and over again).

If I hadn’t left my life at 35, I may have died a closet creative!!!

Instead, like a chicken scratching around I found a grub, I found photography. I turned that grub over and over and kept looking for more grubs, scratched a little deeper till after a lot of scratching around in the dark, I realised I am creative.

For this very reason along with my dear friends Claire Lloyd and Matthew Usmar Walkswithdogs and hubby Francesco we have created JOY, a Living Creatively Retreat so you can create the next part of your life with intention. We will help you let the closet creative out,  define your life’s desires, encourage you to start consciously creating the next part of your life, re-think your well-being, and bring more Joy into your daily life. The idea is you walk away with passion and clarity for the next part of your life.

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During our daily focus sessions, we will invite you to think differently and allow you to connect to what your heart has always desired. Oh, and there will be long table lunches, boat trips, swims, daily art lessons and dancing.

If you would like to nurture a seed inside of you and let it sprout, take a step into your creative self you can check out the details HERE.

Registration closes on February 28th.

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”. – Albert Einstein

 

Sending love,

Carla

There is a garden even when there are no trees

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Dear Folks,

On a bright sunny winter’s day, I landed back in Paris after an even bigger, brighter, barefoot couple of weeks in Australia still with my beach hair tucked into my hat.

Paris was showing off! All the winter sunshine coming at crazy angles, making every object, person and bare tree have exaggerated shadows and teasing the photographer in me as cafés, shops, and metro stations flashed by from the taxi window.

I was so grateful to have escaped the Parisian winter for a couple of weeks to Oz to see my family and friends and reconnect with my inner and outer Australian, yet today I was dazed and amazed to see Paris in winter in all of this light.

The following day, it felt like God had switched off the light, the way I remembered Paris in winter. Clouds descend and hover over the zinc roofs, the sun comes up at 9 am and goes down around 5 pm and those jet-lagged hours between 5 am and 9 am feel like the bleakest hours of your life as you wait for the first ray of light praying that the sun will rise just one more time.

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paris, black and white, carla coulson, photography paris, winter in paris, black and white photography, carla coulson photography

Seasonal amnesia had hit again. I had forgotten what it felt like when the temperature is so low it is too cold to snow!!! That darkness that strikes at the very heart of my Australian light-loving spirit, the cold that makes you want to have hot baths twice a day and with a click of my fingers I forgot why I am here.

It was in this bleak jetlagged mood that I was given a gentle reminder by a Parisian friend about where to find the garden in Paris. We were talking about swimming in the sea and having a garden, about the beauty of plants, trees and flowers and how deeply I needed them in my life. He told me this:

“In Paris, our garden is our city, it’s streets, cafes, cinemas, and museums. We call it ‘l’art de vivre’ – taking advantage of the good things in life. It’s not the big luxuries, it’s also the small luxuries, life’s very own luxuries. Soft music, a cup of hot tea in your hands, admiring a beautiful painting, walking along a boulevard as the city comes alive or enjoying a little elegance. It’s about sitting in a café and reading your favourite book, watching life come and go, knowing no-one will ever hurry you along.

Just like you would go and spread a picnic rug on the grass on Sunday in Australia, we go and have lunch in a local café with friends and spend the afternoon in a museum, letting the art be our trees and the cinema be our swim in the ocean. We look inwards and use the winter to slow down, recharge, relax and reflect. We use our city and it’s details like a garden to soothe, regenerate and inspires us so that when the Spring comes your creative well is full, your energy is recharged and you can go forth into the real gardens and enjoy.”

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So wherever you are, there is a garden just waiting for you to walk through it, to smell the roses, listen to the music and gaze at its beauty. Like Paris in winter, it may be a garden of a different kind; you just need to be reminded how to find it.

Sending love and roses from this beautiful café where I am writing this after seeing a ‘flower filled’ exhibition.

Love and hugs,

Carla x

 

Related Post: Why Joy is like Spiritual Crack