I had the utmost joy to photograph the beautiful Erica in this recent Paris Film Noir shoot.
Now I love a challenge as much as anyone and this beautiful gal studied medieval tapestry and wanted to use the medieval as a creative starting point for her shoot.
To be quite honest, medieval Paris is not exactly my forté but what a great opportunity to get to know and to be inspired by a new world, idea, and her individual story.
And what a dream it was to photograph the beautiful, joyous, creative energy of this girl that was was made for the camera.
We went through the gamut from Game of Thrones to the ultimate Parisian girl and no matter what she did she was fabulous.
I skipped home that day, so very happy with the world, the chance to express a little more of what is bubbling up creatively inside of me and to have had one of the most divine mornings in Paris with my crew and Erica.
Huge thanks to Erica for allowing me to share these photos…
Light and love,
P.S. If you would like to be captured in a Paris Film Noir shoot and express your creative muse, you can check the details HERE.
Over the years many people have asked me about my portrait post processing look and for the first time ever I am pleased to share with you my personal Lightroom presets.
I use these guys to get my distinct look on my black and white and colour portraits.
These presets are for folk who are familiar with Lightroom and know what it means to twiddle with the exposure, colour temperature, contrast and highlight to get your own unique look. These presets will give your images a distinct style depending on the lighting conditions you photographed them in and whether they were well exposed or not.
I have included some of my favourite high contrast and black and whites so you get an instant ‘Carla Coulson’ high fashion look.
Raw file left and Preset Crunchy Black and White Photo copyright Carla Coulson
All the black and white presets have grain to make sure your photos don’t feel empty and for the folks like me that love a ‘grain storm’ I have snuck a ton in to ‘Rock n Roll’.
The colour presets come without grain but I have added an option to add your own.
Each order comes with a guide on how to use your presets and some do’s and don’ts.
Raw file above and PresetRock n Roll bottom – Photo Copyright Carla Coulson
Here’s what you get:
Paris café Portrait Collection is a collection of some of my favourite high contrast black and whites so you get an instant ‘Carla Coulson’ high fashion portrait look. They are inspired by my love for film photography, Paris, Italy, portraiture and the way I love black and white to look and feel.
4 Black and Whites
Crunchy black and white – yes folks this preset packs a crunch, it’s high contrast and has a light film grain
Easy Like Sunday Morning – is a soft black and white with almost grey tones. When you don’t want your images to shout
On The Wild Side – This is an unapologetic high contrast black and white with even brighter highlights than Crunchy black and white
Rock n Roll – It’s a little darker and moodier than the others with more definition in the highlights and dense grain
Raw file above and Preset Get Your Motor Running bottom – Photo copyright Carla Coulson
Raw file left and Preset Natural Born Woman right Copyright Carla Coulson
Daily Juice Portrait Collection are my favourite portrait colour presets and they come without grain but I have added an option to add your own.
Get Your Motor Running – Has a nice rev in the engine! Bright skin tones and good contrast, it gives you an instant graded look.
Moody Blues – It’s in the polaroid look family, with deep blues in the shadows and golden hues in the highlights, it’s soft and dreamy.
Natural Born Woman – this is for those days and jobs when you need a natural look. Simple but beautiful natural colours
Too Cool for School – less blue in the shadows than ‘Get Your Motor Running’ but with some sass of its own and a lovely warm tone on the skin.
No Apologies – This is a ‘get out of my way’ effect very similar to cross processing. With strong contrast, definition in the shadows and definition in the lines. Hold onto your hat!
I skipped all the way home from this shoot. No kidding.
I have known Corrina Tough for almost 10 years. She was one of the early ones that bobbed up after I wrote Italian Joy and came to my first Get Published workshop in Sydney.
She has told me about her dreams via emails through the years and she keeps on surprising me.
We met for coffee in Paris a couple of years ago brought together by auto-immunes and Corrina had just started on her path to better health.
When she called me recently she told me she had lost 45 kilos and wanted to do a shoot I was floored, excited and jumping up and down. There is nothing I love more than a woman that grabs onto the reins of life and goes for it. The surprises just keep coming.
Corrina has transformed herself in every way, she has moved country, taken up photography, taken her power back and her health into her own hands and man she should stand on a top of a mountain yelling ‘I did it, I did it all’
I will let Corrina tell you her story and how she did it. PS… there are 2 before pics at the end of the post.
CAN YOU BRING US UP TO DATE WITH WHO CORRINA TOUGH IS, WHERE YOU LIVE AND A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR STORY?
I am a mother of 24 year old twins (Phoebe and Jesse), a 12 yr old daughter Ruby, 10 year old son Curtis and married for nearly 28 years to Shane.
I have always been creative, art, ballet, drama, languages, photography and cooking. As a child, teenager and into my adult years, I was singing Jazz, playing piano, guitar and photography. I also have a masters degree in teaching but my passion for photography was always there and one day about 10 years ago I decided to follow that dream. I found a book that changed my life – Italian Joy. I was enamoured with every page and devoured the words and images over and over, it really resonated with me. That was just the beginning of where I am today!
I had also had a long love affair with France – having French lineage and an infatuation with all things French. I had been dreaming my whole life to at least visit but then when I read Carla’s books and many other similar stories I started to dream that one day maybe I could have a house in France and live a French life. I began to learn French, research and visited areas that might be suitable and after 10 years we found a house in a gorgeous village in South West France. I have been living here now for 18mths with my two youngest children. It hasn’t been easy but every challenge has been worth a million rewards.
Unfortunately my husband hasn’t been able to move here yet so he visits every few months and continues to work in Australia along with my twins. In the mean time the kids and I have been learning French, and renovating a 400 year old house in a medieval French village which is to being finished.
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST THAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE YOUR DIET AND LIFESTYLE?
For as long as I can remember, I had strange and varied things that no Dr could help or diagnose. As an adult they began to worsen and multiply until I was beginning to feel desperate. I had a long list, chronic migraines, heart palpitations, Thyroid issues, hair falling out, huge weight gain, constant hives, joint pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel in both wrists, chronic pain and agonizing episodes with my sacroiliac joints, symptoms of arthritis in all my joints, unusual and random joint swellings…. the list goes on. The pain was becoming so unbearable I was on pain killers to sleep, I ate what most people would consider an extremely healthy diet but the weight kept on piling on making the joint and lower back pain even worse. My self esteem was extremely low and I cried lot!!
My research kept leading me to see that all these symptoms fell under the “Auto immune” category, mmmm interesting as my family is rife with many autoimmune issues and my dad had been diagnosed at the time with an extremely rare and life threatening condition called Wegeners. However, blood tests weren’t showing what I thought was going on (this is a complex issue as the Dr’s weren’t testing the right things).
In the mean time as I was discovering my auto-immunes, Carla was writing about her autoimmune diagnosis and what she was doing with great results, eating a Paleo diet, cutting back on chemicals in the home and only doing gentle exercise. I felt that was what I might have to do but before I started had another barrage of tests as well as seeing the professor who specialises in this sort of thing in Sydney. My research was correct and I was diagnosed with several very severe autoimmune conditions, bi-lateral sacrolitis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis, and I suspect leaky gut amongst a few other things he didn’t discover.
His prognosis was I was to go on chemo drugs the rest of my life, and I would end up in a wheelchair. I cried for 5 mins and then I stopped and I said to my husband I am trying this Paleo eating for a year and we’ll just see. We had also recently bought our house in France and I was determined to continue with my dream. I started the new way of eating December 2014.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE LOST 45 KILOS, HOW DO YOU FEEL? HAS IT HELPED YOU WITH YOUR HEALTH? ANY OTHER BENEFITS?
Within two weeks I felt remarkably better and the kilos were melting away. By the time I left for France in March 2015 I had lost about 20kilos maybe a bit more. I was doing really well in Australia and I won’t lie, it has been harder in France but that was more situational, living in rented places, B&B’S and then establishing my new kitchen in the house all the while renovating the house myself, dealing with kids emotions, French tradesmen and a new language so there was a little bit here and there where I wasn’t totally paleo. I never gained weight but I was not really losing much either. What I really noticed was the decline in my health, hives, aches and pains, sore back again and just feeling like no energy.
I decided about 4mths ago I needed to get back on track. The first time I went Paleo, I followed the Pete Evans 10 week program which I highly recommend. The program is such a well rounded and informative program. I was given a free 10 weeks again so I had nothing to lose and went back on it very strict. I wish I could say exactly how much I lost this time but in total I have lost about 45 kilos (I don’t have scales however I knew what I weighed in Feb this year so I have a pretty good idea. I have gone down to about a size 8-10/11 from about an 18-20.
My health has dramatically improved as has my self esteem and well the only way I can describe it is I feel like I am flying! My energy levels and improved flexibility have helped me in my photography work and I even went trekking into local caves this summer and was able to do things I never imagined. Actually if two years ago you would have said I would be walking the streets daily of a medieval village and trudging up and down several flights of stairs in my house every day including lugging firewood from the garage I would have laughed! I feel fantastic in how I look too and am enjoying wearing the styles I really love and dreamed of wearing for many years. I now have a waist!
This will make an even bigger impact on how my clothes fit and how I feel. Even so I have even been buying and wearing beautiful lingerie and I just feel amazing.
HOW HARD HAS IT BEEN? WHAT HAS KEPT YOU ON TRACK?
My motivation to keep me on track has always been my health first but as the kilos have come off it motivated me to keep going. My clothes were getting bigger and I had to belt things in. Recently I was walking through the village and several people literally didn’t recognise me. Obviously lots of compliments too. It got me to thinking, in the last 10 years I basically didn’t exist photographically.
I’m always behind the camera and a lot of that was because I hated myself and what I looked like, but that has meant my kids don’t have a record of their mother and I don’t have any images with my kids either. When I’m not around anymore my kids and future grandkids will have no record of me and I am a special and creative person! What a shame, I was actually panicking about it!
YOU HAD DIFFICULTY FINDING PHOTOS TO SHARE OF YOU IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, WAS THIS A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO AVOID THE CAMERA?
I really want to send a message home to women, I think it’s easy to say just get yourself into pictures but I know firsthand how hard that is when you really don’t like yourself! However, I don’t even have a decent before shot now to show you all what I looked like before my transformation! I actually spent hours looking on hard drives that have the last 10 years of my life on them and could only come up with a handful and I think I was probably even bigger than that in the end. We need to get people to take flattering images of us so we have a legacy to leave behind.
IT WAS SUCH A JOY TO PHOTOGRAPHY YOU, YOU FELT LIKE A CONFIDENT, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WHO WAS SO PROUD TO STARE INTO THE LENS. HOW IS CORRINA TOUGH TODAY DIFFERENT THAN THE WOMEN SHE WAS 10 YEARS AGO.
I had dreamed for as long as Carla has been doing private portraits to have my photo taken by her in the city I love and adore (Paris) and it has been probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life other than having my children and giving my life to God. I have not felt so loved by such an amazing team of women, I was nurtured, spurred on and encouraged and I felt so incredibly special. I think it has really changed how I see myself as my mind still has seen me bigger than I am. I went to a jazz night in the village the other night that I was singing at, I wore one of the new outfits that I purchased for the shoot with Carla, but it wasn’t about that, I think that I have had a shift on the inside and people were just all over me commenting about how I looked.
I know clothes can be lovely but I think ultimately it’s about how you feel on the inside that shines through and makes you beautiful. I am really grateful for Carla because we have this connection with health and photography and through her I have been put on my way with both, this was an answer to a prayer so I am really thankful, really words can’t express. Corrina xx
Corrina before she started her new way of living
I hope you enjoyed this post. Corrina certainly inspired me and much gratitude to Corrina for sharing her story and her new photos.. Check out Corrina’s work HERE.
P.S. If you fancy a winter shoot in Paris, I will be here this year! You can check my shoots out HERE.
I remember years ago there was a commercial in Australia that used the slogan ‘put a tiger in your tank’. It had something to do with petrol and putting petrol in your tank which allowed your car to roar (well, go faster).
When I was shooting the beautiful stylist Kate Taylor during her Paris Personal Branding shoot recently in Paris somehow this funny slogan came back to me.
There she was in beautiful locations, in beautiful clothes, in beautiful Paris but that wasn’t the reason the pictures were alive. It was Kate, giving 150% of herself, no inhibitions, no self-criticism and so willing to play, to live in the moment and have fun. It felt like she was ‘letting her tiger out of the tank’, not holding back and being the real authenticate, joyous beauty she is.
There was a reason that perfect strangers were coming over to her and asking could they have their photo taken with her, they were slightly confused, was she a movie star on the bridge in Paris? Was it Naomi Watts or a young Jessica Lange?
No, it was a woman just like us, tapping into her joy and the whole world could feel it, oozing confidence that translated as movie star charisma.
I love photographing women, I love everything about them and I know I am so fortunate to get right up close through photography and have the chance to observe them in a potentially vulnerable moment. But most of all I love it when a woman is happy with herself, when she is out the other side of the insecurities and self-criticism that so many of us put ourselves through.
I love seeing the freedom, the happiness and the gold dust that someone like Kate gets to sprinkle over the people around her and how it changes the energy floating in the air.
When you’ let your tiger out of the tank’ there is more than an extra glamorous tiger walking around in the world, there is a woman connected to herself and others see it, feel it and respond to it.
If you have the chance to ‘let your tiger out of the tank’, let her have a walk around, toss your mane, tap into your joy and show the world how fabulous you really are.
I have wanted to share this story which combined two loves for me, Italy and Collette Dinnigan.
When Harpers Bazaar phoned asking me whether I would like to shoot Collette in Rome I couldn’t say yes quick enough.
I purchased my first Collette Dinnigan piece in my late twenties and have never managed to let it go. Each time I put on something of Collette’s it made me feel special, the touch of the beautiful fabrics, the crafting and styling of the garment and the femininity she puts into everything she does. For me it was art.
It was an exciting shoot for me for all these reasons, meeting a hero in a place you love, with a beautiful backdrop and her gorgeous husband to boot.
Collette was gorgeous and what a dream to shoot her in Fendi and a beautiful vintage find.
For those who weren’t in Australia and unable to purchase the magazine here is a little snapshot of what we got up to.
Mega thanks to Harpers, the beautiful and kind Collette, hubby and family..
I hope you enjoy it.
PS: I have a couple of photo shoots available for October if you are in Paris. You can read more here
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