Blog - Carla Coulson
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Happiness, Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Photography, Photographer, Inspiration, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ted Talk

Why Photography Is Good For Your Happiness

Photo of Isabelle Thomas @modepersonelle

Dear Photographers and Curious folk,

Who would have ever thought that picking up a camera and falling in love with image making would be good for your health, happiness and connection to spirit?

Well, you are probably thinking that Carla has had one too many celery juices whilst taking pictures but I am not talking about that.

I am talking about getting into the ‘flow’, which is a termed coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and is described in his book Flow (1990), “he describes flow as being consciously in inner harmony with whatever you’re doing. He contends that happiness connects to our ability to feel flow in our lives and that it must be cultivated and practiced.”

I never knew how to describe this particular feeling I have with photography till I tripped over Mr. C. I had always describe it as “forgetting myself, being so in the moment that space and time disappear, I am neither hungry, tired or cold. I am so wholeheartedly connected to the moment that all I feel is the sense of ‘being’ which ultimate even when it stops brings me joy.

Being in the flow is like meditation in motion. And for any of you folks that meditate, you will know all the health benefits such as calming your nervous system, getting inner clarity and peace. Meditation like the flow connects you to something greater, it connects you to source energy, to the big ‘energy’ kahuna that gives you more insights into yourself, life and trusting your art.

Here’s the trick, getting into ‘the flow’ doesn’t happen all the time, in fact, it can be quiet rare because we are so busy planning, thinking, questioning. It happens when you stop pushing and controlling and start to allow and trust the process and when you are having a really good time and doing what you LOVE and then you just ‘flow’ away!

The good news doing any activity you love where you lose your ability to be ‘self-conscious’ gets you into the flow. Woohoo, so if you love other creative arts, gardening or hiking you too can access flow.

Mr. C says the more you can bring flow into your life, the more happiness you will have. You can watch his Ted Talk HERE. 

And we all love happiness..

Have you experienced your version of ‘the flow’.


The Year of Yes, carla coulson, carla coulson photography, year of yes, creativity, comfort zone Black and white photography, photography workshop, italian photography workshop, travel photography workshop, travel photography workshop italy, portraiture, fashion portrait, movement, carla coulson, creative coach, creative entrepreneur, photographer, photographers life, italy, photography workshop puglia, beginners travel photography workshop, photography

The Year of Yes

I recently read Shonda Rhimes book The Year of Yes. I loved it for so many reasons because it reminded me of me years ago when I was frightened of life and commitments.

I would say ‘no’ to everything. And it took years to realise I was saying no to myself and no to life.

Till one day I say ‘yes’ to me, I made the decision to leave Sydney and go find the right life for me and then there was no holding me back. I became the ‘yes’ girl (kind of like Jim Carrey in Yes Man) but without the old lady upstairs!

I said yes, to moving to Italy, to going out with cutie Italian hotties, to becoming a photographer, to having lunch with strangers, to improbable friendships, to picking a destination at the train station and going their spontaneously, to not knowing what tomorrow held.

I said yes to jobs that freaked me out, struggling with photography but kept on going, to learning about art and history, to meeting friends of friends for coffee or lunch. I said yes to Italy and travelled her from top to bottom, I said yes to writing it down in a book (Italian Joy) and I said yes to falling in love with the most beautiful man I know.

I said yes to life and that big old guy upstairs returned my Yes with love, friendship, tribe, happiness, excitement, travel and creativity. He decided to reward me for my bravery, my courage of going wayyyy out of my comfort zone and each time I became a little more open to life when I uttered the word Yes.

The last couple of years I got bogged down in stuff, in new learnings, a little too much routine and I started to become the ‘no’ girl again. I could hear it before it even came out of my mouth.

So yesterday I made a vow, that 2018 will become my Yes year. A year of adventure, love and happiness and I know the universe returns if you dare to open your heart and mind so dear folks anyone out there that wants to join me on the year of yes???

Ultimately the more we say no to others the more we say no to ourselves. What are you saying no to?

See you on the year of Yes??




Related Post: What Are You Starting?

Valentine's Day

Now I Know Why I Was Always Disappointed On Valentine’s Day

Dear Friends and Lovers,

If there was a day of the year that triggered me (other than Christmas Day) it was Valentine’s Day.

In the old pre-photography days for Carla I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why all those bunches of flowers arrived on Valentine’s Day to the office door but they never had my name on them.

Now I know why!

Here’s what I learnt about myself. I was the first one to NOT love myself so the message I was putting out into the world was ‘hey guys, there ain’t no love here so please go knock on someone else’s door’.  A male friend once told me I had an energy field as strong as the Berlin Wall around me that said ‘stay away’.

People use to talk to me about loving myself and I use to think WTF is that??? When I grew up ‘loving yourself’ had negative connotations such as, she thinks she is better than the rest, she is sooo self-centred or full of yourself so I wasn’t buying into any of that.

No I was miss low maintenance (let me carry 6 schooners of beer back from the bar in one go).

If they had only explained it better way back then I mightn’t have waited so long to actually get some self-respect.

Loving yourself is about respect, kindness, generosity and forgiveness to yourself. It’s about feeling worthy of a bunch of flowers, a foot massage, success, not the burnt chop, a new dress or someone’s love.

Sheesh, I had it mixed up for soooooo long..

So if you want to start on the road to self-love here are some tips:

  1. Stop the negative self-talk – pull yourself up or start becoming conscious when you put yourself down. Don’t say things to yourself you would say to your loved ones.
  2. Start putting time into yourself, take the time to care for yourself, rub that lotion into your legs instead of hurrying out of the shower!
  3. Nourish yourself with self-care – foot massages, a new dress and signing up for dance lessons. You are worth it.
  4. Know you are worthy of love and start giving it. Say hello, smile, be kind to others, give when you can and it will be returned to you a thousand times over.
  5. Loving yourself is the best thing on the planet, the more you love and respect yourself the more you can live life authentically and the more love goes out into the world for others. Hallelujah.

Sending you love

Carla x

PS: Cause I love my peeps there is a 15% discount with code flowersforever on my Young Girl In Bloom Series that ENDS on Valentine’s Day click HERE 

My First Portrait Shoot At Photography School In Florence

carla coulson, photography school, portraits, black and white, jill

Dear Creative Folk,

These photos are the first portrait pics I created when I was still at photography school in Florence. This beautiful gal is a dear friend Jill and she kindly offered to be my model at the time. We went wild, we shot on the streets of Florence at night, messed around in her friends funny apartment and laughed our heads off.

It’s funny, when I look back,  all of this was pure instinct, I was in my Florentine bubble and no wonder I ended up years later starting a fashion/portrait business because my love for photographing women was there from the start.

There were plenty of mistakes, some of the pics are out of focus but I always adored them and in particular this gal. It was a time in our lives when we were both single, on an adventure to find the people we would become and Italy had called us both.

But I always remember how good Jill was with herself! Good in the comfortable in her own skin way that most women aren’t.

carla coulson, photography school, portraits, black and white, jill

We stayed in touch over the years and I became a photographer and she took all her life experiences and became a successful ‘growth’ coach. If there was anyone that new about growth it was this gal, she lived and breathed growth.

Back then she was the wise one steering the lost ‘Italian sheep’ in the right direction and when she became a coach she did what she had already been doing for years, help people see the magic in themselves.

I have had the joy of working with Jill over the past months and she has something special for Valentine’s day that won’t happen again and has TWO PLACES ONLY AVAILABLE if you want to talk about love in any of it’s forms.


Do you feel loved? Do you feel it from your friends, your mate, your co-workers?

Do you feel love for yourself?

Do you feel free to express your love?

Do you love your life?  Do you love the path that you are on and creating?

If you answered NO to ANY of these, then Jill has something to offer you; a way that I can express my love to you and to our global tribe of women.

An ANYTHING TO DO WITH LOVE 2 hour session with me!

Our session is specific to your personal needs around the issue of love. Together we will address the love (or lack thereof) issue in your life, what’s holding you back from receiving it or expressing it, steps for clearing and creating a new path for experiencing MORE LOVE in your precious life.

Session includes:

  • 2 hours in person or skype call
  • Pre-call short questionnaire around your love issues.
  • Email support for the week following our call.
  • A small box of Italian BACI chocolates with the supportive love poems inside, just for fun!

Important details:

  •  Email Jill directly for scheduling- or check her out HERE
  • The offer is good for one week, ending on Wednesday, February 14.
  • She has discounted the session from $330 to $180 for this special LOVE holiday only.

I hope you enjoyed this little flashback and whoever takes up this offer will meet one of the special people on the planet.

Sending love

Carla x

Related Post: 5 of My Favourite Portrait Tips

5 Inspiring Things For The Soul In 2018 skye mcalpine, carla coulson, peony, paris flower, claire lloyd, matthew usmar lauder, shibori, blake and taylor, a table in venice, learn to write, paula hagiefremidis Black and white photography, photography workshop, italian photography workshop, travel photography workshop, travel photography workshop italy, portraiture, fashion portrait, movement, carla coulson, creative coach, creative entrepreneur, photographer, photographers life, italy, photography workshop puglia, beginners travel photography workshop, photography

5 Inspiring Things For The Soul In 2018

Hello Folks,

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend.

This is a short but sweet note for the soul with a little round up of some fab things to do/buy/see in 2018 from some great talented folk around the globe.

1. Who wouldn’t want to sit at a table in Venice? If you have read Skye McAlpine blog or follow her on Instagram who will know what a food and travel fantasy she offers up every day. Her knew book A Table In Venice is almost out and the good news is your can pre-order it.. Italophiles stand back. More details HERE

2. When I learnt to write my world opened up. I never dreamed of doing a writing course till I was given a nudge to. Once I learned to get words on paper I have been writing ever since. It helped me get my first photographic images published and my first book which I wrote and photographed. If you are lucky enough to be in Melbourne the Mediterranean Wanderer will unleash the force within… More details HERE 

3. Artist and friend Matthew Usmar Lauder is as prolific as Picasso and creates so much beauty. This painting of white hydrangeas is a favourite. Check his work HERE

4. One way to get in touch with you is to get creative! If you are lucky enough to live in Brisbane the talented Ellie Ramsey and her team some original workshops where you get to take home something beautiful you made. Anyone for a little shibori. More details HERE 

5. Bring a little Paris girly joy into your life with my Girl On  A Mission limited edition print from my Jeune Fille en Fleur series.. More details HERE





Related Post: Six Tips For Creative Clarity in 2018