The Best Holiday Destination for A Photographer


Masseria Cimino copyright Carla Coulson

Dear Friends,

It’s holiday time here in Europe, some countries start their holidays in June, others in July and people like us in August.

There is one thing we are all in agreeance about no matter where we are from is when the temperatures soar in the city that is to leave it behind, go find a beach, a mountain, a place in the shade where we can relax, read a book, take a photo or ‘far niente’ (do nothing)


Masseria Cimino copyright Carla Coulson

It’s got me thinking, holidays are difficult for me to take, something happens when I touch down in a new town, a new island, a new country or even a new beach. My inner photographer beast comes alive, looks around and quietly says ‘how long has this been going on and why wasn’t I phoned’!

Yes, going on holidays for a photographer is exciting, it’s stimulating and it can make lying on the beach (sometimes) pure torture. Did I say that?


Venice copyright Carla Coulson

Why? Because you know you are missing a shot, you know if you got off your beach bed, life might just offer you up a golden gem that you can hold in your heart forever, it might offer you a sweet Greek lady that invites you into your home and shows you a photo of her when she was sixteen (way back in the 1920’s) and tells you she was the most beautiful girl on the island.

You know that whilst hubby lies on the sand calm as can be, slowly devouring his book, enjoying a swim, drying off in the sun or having a snooze, your inner photographer is wondering what the beach you are lying on would look like if you walked to the top of the hill?  It knows it would look kind of spectacular and you ask yourself should you roll over and continue with the Keith Richards autobiography (which I loved) or let the inner photographer have its way and kiss hubby goodbye and go take on that mountain?


Holiday moments Lesvos copyright Carla Coulson


Lesvos Copyright Carla Coulson

You know that at sunset whilst you are sipping on that sweet, ice cold ouzo and watching the sun turn the world soft pink and blue that somewhere, possibly just around the corner there is a photograph just begging to be taken.

Holidays have become sweet torture for me and I have found it doesn’t matter where I go, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Australia, Spain or Asia my inner photographer is in the ‘right corner’ and the poor chick who has been moving her butt like a mad woman all year is in the ‘left corner’ and they know the ‘holiday’ is going to be a dance of love, of stolen moments swimming in crystal clear water and sweating like a pack horse up 2000 stairs, wishing, hoping and praying that the universe has a little magic in store up there for me.


Aperitif hour Lesvos Island Copyright Carla Coulson

So from now on I am no longer going to tell people I am going on a holiday, I think I will rename it ‘the dance of the inner photographer’.

It’s always fun seeing who is going to win!


Matera copyright Carla Coulson


Furore Amalfi Coast copyright Carla Coulson

So, the perfect destination where I put the camera down and chill might just be a darkened room not some exotic location.

Thank-you so much for coming along for the ride and I will be away for August but will be on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook and I will find the time to write some little musings here.

“I love out-of-the-way, rugged places. For me, holidays are about the experiences, and the people, and the memories, rather than sitting on a nice beach getting tanned. I try to plant myself where I am and embrace what is there in front of me.” Evelyn Glennie

Sending Love


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Venice + Portrait Winner

venice, grand canal, carla coulson, change your life, italy,

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

Dear Friends,

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the wonderful messages, shares, reposts and retweets I have had for my portrait competition. What a beautiful response and endless thanks for your generosity, enthusiasm and wonderful support.

I am the worst person in the world to do these competitions because when it comes down to the winners I always feel one is not enough, so this year I have decided to give away two portraits to say thanks to everybody for sending out such good vibes (well if you know what I mean)!

carla coulson, venice, canals, washing italy, washing venice, piazza santa margarita,

This year the barrel girl (Avedon the super cat) took longer than usual to pic the winners, I had to throw a couple of cat snacks into the hat of names for him to dive in and pluck out two. Here’s what he found…the winners of a portrait or a half day Personal Branding Shoot in Paris with hair and make-up are:

Sarah Hudson

Christie Fischer

If you could both get in touch with me by email at that would be fabulous.

To everyone else,  I leave you with the beautiful canals of Venice as a small but sweet consolation prize. If you ever get the chance to go it’s like pouring beauty directly into your heart. Good for all situations!

venice church, venice grand canal, white, italy, carla coulson

washing venice, carla coulson, canal, spring venice, pink, apricot,

carla coulson, venice, peach, madonna, italy, canal venice, venice art, carla coulson, moving art, grand canal venice,

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

I loved the boat in the last photo moving all sorts of art along the Grand Canal. The sights you see early in the morning in Venice.

If you haven’t see the movie Bread and Tulips,  I suggest tracking yourself down a copy and watching one of my favourite movies about Venice. You will be booking a flight to Venice quicker than you can say ‘I don’t care that my husband left me in an Autogrill and I had to hitch hike to Venice’.

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” Oprah Winfrey




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An Italian Travel Photography Workshop with a Difference

1All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

Dear Peeps,

This year is going to be the best year of our lives. I hope it is shaping up that way for you.

I am so excited to share a big part of the adventure with the folks who have signed up for the Intrepid Naples Workshop in September in Italy.

I still have 4 places available on this 5 day travel photography workshop so if you want to break out of your routine, travel somewhere unique maybe you wouldn’t dare to on your own with a like-minded group and take your travel photography skills to new and exciting heights, I’d love you to join us.


Many people have asked me why Naples?

It would have been easier for me to go to a place like Venice but Naples makes my heart beat harder and in all things photography I have always followed my heart.

I feel like you could draw a circle around Naples and it could be it’s own country. In ways it’s very Italian but in other ways it’s a whole new world, like Asia had a train crash with Italy! Each time I arrive in Naples I have the same feeling of awe as the first time I visited, there are so many contrasts and so much that still exists that has already disappeared from other parts of Italy. Their street food culture is like none other in Italy, their markets and shops are overflowing with products, the architecture is grand and regal but with that ‘Cuban’ faded patina and whole families glide around the streets on vespas. And there is a rich daily life that is a photographer’s dream.


What can the participants expect?

First of all the unexpected, it’s Italy on steroids! Five days of feeling truly alive, Naples is full of surprises. Along with another photographer I plan to impart the most important things that will improve your travel photography with a heavy focus on emotions and movement. This city is fast, full of action and Neapolitans are very easy and open with their emotions and it makes it a joy to capture their passion for life, love, faith, family and music and this can be a real challenge for photographers.

I hope to drill-down into specific techniques to capture this and also to help each photographer understand what emotions they want to express in their images.

We will spend up to 3 hours a day in a classroom situation, explaining theories and new techniques and reviewing your photos so that you walk away after 5 days with a whole new understanding and a new level of photography.

One of the key events we will shoot is La Festa di San Gennaro, the most heart-felt event of the year when Naples waits with it’s heart in it’s throat to see if their favourite saint’s blood will liquefy and their city will be saved. Oh and their will be pizza, arancini, limoncello and more!

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What every photographer should know about Naples?

There is so much to learn from Neapolitans, they have a great sense of humour, l’art d’arrangarsi (the art of getting by) which makes them extraordinarily creative when the chips are down and you will see all kinds of ‘self appointed jobs’ like the parking guy who has decided to look after a street of cars but the one great life lesson we all could learn from Neapolitans is to live for the day.

I have never seen a population take these words and truly live them. I have been told over and over again in Naples ‘that tomorrow can wait’. I think this is a beautiful way to live as you get the most out of today without the anxiety of thinking about the future.


What’s nearby?

Possibly the most beautiful coastline in the world, the Amalfi Coast. An hour train ride from Naples is Positano and all the small villages that make up the Amalfi Coast so if you plan on having a holiday after the workshop this is a beautiful place. The islands of Capri and Ischia and just a ferry ride away!

If you would like to join me in Naples click here for full details.

“There were times, especially when I was traveling for ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ when, I swear to God, I would feel this weight of my female ancestors, all those Swedish farmwives from beyond the grave who were like, ‘Go! Go to Naples! Eat more pizza! Go to India, ride an elephant! Do it! Swim in the Indian Ocean. Read those books. Learn a language.” Elizabeth Gilbert

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


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A Greek Island Dream House

Greek Island Dream Home, Claire Lloyd, Lesvos, Carla Coulson

 Claire Lloyd and rescue dog Mavrula copyright Carla Coulson

Any of you who have been following along for a while know that I am nuts about the Mediterranean in particular Greece and Italy. Well, this summer I travelled to beautiful Lesvos and stayed in a very special Greek Island guesthouse owned by the fabulous designer Claire Lloyd and partner artist Matthew Usmar Lauder.

My Greek Island Home, Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd

Felix passes the Iron bed made with antique linen copyright Carla Coulson

I knew I was going to love this place as I know Claire has a beautiful eye from all those years working as an art director in London and I adore her  beautiful book My Greek Island Island Home. Throw into the mix Matthew’s divine art and his knack for creating individual pieces of furniture and objects from found and recycled products and it was sure to ignite something big inside of me.

My Greek Island Home, Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd

Loungeroom from the front door copyright Carla Coulson

But as a photographer, I have learnt that the photos never do something really beautiful its true justice. It’s all those other dimensions that bring on the love rush, like the scent of jasmine, the exquisite view to the sea, the textures of floorboards under your bare feet, the sound of a homemade wind chime tinkling in the breeze.

My Greek Island Home, Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd

A corner of the lounge room copyright Carla Coulson

You all know since the day I left Italy a piece of my heart has been hankering to go back to a simpler, slower way of living with a little vege garden out the back and to belong to a community. To belong to a community has been my lifelong ambition!  I feel very fortunate to belong to a cyber community of wonderful people scattered around the world and for this, I will be forever grateful.

My Greek Island Home, Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd, Matthew Usmar Lauder

 Beautiful bed linen and Matthew Lauders. Copyright Carla Coulson

So here in this exquisite house not only did Francesco and I have a chance to relax and enjoy the fabulous scented candles, the fridge stocked with Greek Yoghurt, local fruit and delicious local wine but we had the chance to taste what it would be like if we left our lives and went to live on a Greek Island.

My Greek Island Home, Carla Coulson, Claire Lloyd

 Loungeroom copyright Carla Coulson

There was nothing touristy about this experience. We were in a small hill village about 4kms from the sea in a part of Lesvos that has no tourist shops or noisy bars just the local tavernas and a rich daily life.

Lesvos, Cllaire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Matthew’s art, a found table and vintage Turkish runner copyright Carla Coulson

I loved heading down to the Platia which is in the centre of the village, a wonderful tavern sits under a 100 year old tree (they just had the party to celebrates its birthday) which is akin to the village outdoor lounge room. Everything happens here, you can drink coffee, play cards for the entire day if your desire, eat lunch or dinner, check your Instagram, or wile away the hours swapping stories with the locals.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Detail Loungeroom Copyright Carla Coulson

And right next door was the vege garden of my dreams. I adored watching the man tending it dressed in white collecting the biggest zucchini flowers I had ever seen.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson, Greek Island

 Corridor Downstairs Copyright Carla Coulson

And going on long walks with Claire and the dogs and dropping into’s Matthews heavenly studio (blog post coming soon) to see what he was up to.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Traditional Wooden box to display treasured icons Copyright Carla Coulson

I have long been in love with Greece, Francesco and I have spent the past 6 years trying to find the most out of the way Islands, to get as faraway as possible from our busy lives in Paris to recharge with long days swimming and resting.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Kitchen Copyright Carla Coulson

But this was the first time I felt like I actually was living there, when I dared to ask myself ‘what if..?”

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

 Beautiful ceramic plates in the kitchen copyright Carla Coulson

What if we had the courage to walk away from the security? What if we could live a simpler life like the one like we had all those years ago in Florence? What would we do and how would we do it?

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Francesco’s Hat on the kitchen chair and local woven rug Copyright Carla Coulson

What if we could give our cat a better life?? LOL!

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Bedroom with antique French Linen sheets Copyright Carla Coulson

Together we explored the island, had long lunches down at Kalo Limani and long dinners where there were just the four of us, a setting sun and simple Greek fare of grilled calamari, fresh fish and local veges.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

 Corner of the bedroom – Copyright Carla Coulson

Matthew and Claire’s generosity has no limits, they took us to their favourite beaches, we ate in their favourite restaurants all over the island and showed us the wonderful co-operatives where local ladies make traditional products.

Lesvos, Claire Lloyd, Carla Coulson

Corner of the Bedroom Copyright Carla Coulson

I adored popping down the road to see them, like we had all lived their forever, swapping ideas and advice on all things creative and practical and talking about our hopes and dreams.

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0025

Bedside table detail Copyright Carla Coulson

Matthew’s studio in the centre of town is filled with his beautiful artwork and found treasures. It’s also filled with curious locals who can’t help sticking their heads in to see what was going on.

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0026

Bathroom Copyright Carla Coulson

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0027

 Collection of local plates in the hallway Copyright Carla Coulson

Lesvos is so close to Turkey we even jumped on the ferry for the day and went to Avyalik on bazaar day. It was a frenzy of photos and shopping before we took the evening ferry back.

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View from the terrace to the sea copyright Carla Coulson

I wanted My Greek Island Home experience to go on forever!

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0036

 Felix and Fluffy Boy catching up on a little sleep Copyright Carla Coulson

Oh and for a cat lover missing her baby, not a problem there were a couple of stand-ins to help out..

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0029

 Claire in the courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson

So to dearest Claire and Matthew the stay at your house was not only the loveliest experience yet to happen for us in Greece it was something bigger, it was a catalyst just like that Thai Takeway all those years ago in Darlinghurst that set me on a life of adventure and going after the things that really mattered to me in life.

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0035

 Courtyard Copyright Carla Coulson

Even though I have left my life once before it was beautiful reminder of what I hold dear. Thank-you for allowing me to see that again and experience your beautiful island and lives through your eyes.

My Greek Island Home Carla Coulson0038

Front door Copyright Carla Coulson

The beautiful My Greek Island Home Guesthouse has its own lovely website and if you would like to rent the guesthouse you can get in touch with Claire and Matthew here

Claire Lloyd is the author and photographer of My Greek Island Home and Sensual Living and you can check out Matthew Usmar Lauder’s work here.

If you would like more Greek Island Inspiration please click here.

“True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.” Suze Orman


Please share if you dream of another life or love beautiful homes!

If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity and purpose, click on the image above to join the free training.