5 Ways Photography Can Change Your Life

photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration

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.


photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration


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!


photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration, black and white photography


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!


photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration, black and white photography


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!!


photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration, portrait photography, black and white photography


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.


photography tips, photography workshop, carla coulson photography, carla coulson, inspiration, portrait photography, black and white photography


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


P.S. If you would like to learn how to sell your photographs or art online, you can watch my FREE training here.

Consciousness and My Camera

consciousness, camera, photography

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).



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.


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


How Vulnerability Helps Me To Take Portraits That Count


Dear Folks,

So many of the questions that arrive in my inbox are about how I take photos full of emotions.

How do I get people to laugh or jump, forget about me, or blow me a kiss?

Well, here’s my secret. It is my willingness to be vulnerable.

When we are in a vulnerable state we are wide open, we have our hearts on the line and we are willing to let people see it. We show them we are not perfect and don’t have answers all the time and that is OK.


For many of us, it feels dangerous but as the beautiful Brene Brown says ‘I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting – is brave.”

When I am taking photos, I dare to show people that I am as vulnerable as they are even though they are the one in front of the camera.

In 2016, I was given the biggest compliment by a niece who I worked with for a whole year in Paris. She told me, ‘You don’t care what people think of you!’

For a minute, I was almost offended and then she explained, “No matter who you are with on a shoot, (including some famous folk) you goof around and make a fool of yourself and you don’t decide things based on what other people think of you.”

vulnerable, vulnerability, Carla Coulson photography

I loved her point of view. I will be discussing vulnerability along with other wonderful topics in the Heartland Workshop this October in Puglia and sharing all my photography secrets.

If you would like to take photos with more emotion and do it with confidence, I would love to teach you how. I have had one cancellation and would love to help you take your portraits and interiors to a new level.

You can read all about the workshop HERE.

If you have any questions, please send us a note to workshops@carlacoulson.com

P.S. You check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk HERE.

You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.” – Brene Brown


Related Post: Start With A Vision


Carla Coulson, harpers bazaar, portrait photographer, lifestyle photography, justin hemmed, kate fowler, the hermitage, slim aarons, pool, wooden boat, white bedroom, swimming pool

Start With A Vision


Dear Folks,

Many people ask me how do I translate an idea into photography reality. So often we have glamorous, cool or moody ideas of what we would like yet our outcome is something else. Anybody seen the Life of Pi client expectations and budget floating around on the net!

Carla Coulson, harpers bazaar, portrait photographer, lifestyle photography, justin hemmed, kate fowler, the hermitage, slim aarons, pool, wooden boat, white bedroom, swimming pool

Sometimes photos that look so simple are in reality a ‘battle’ to get the outcome you would like and others are gifts to you. This shoot was one of those gifts!

When I am working on a shoot my starting point is a vision.

I liken photography to any goal in life, if you can’t see it, how can you get there? 

When I was shooting this story for Harper’s Bazaar of the beautiful Kate Fowler and Justin Hemmes my vision for these photos started long before I picked up the camera.

Carla Coulson, harpers bazaar, portrait photographer, lifestyle photography, justin hemmed, kate fowler, the hermitage, slim aarons, pool, wooden boat, white bedroom, swimming pool

What Was My Vision?

  1. When I scouted the place I noticed lots of opportunities to shoot from different perspectives 
  2. When I stood on the property flashbacks to famous photos, photographers and cool folk started my inspiration process 
  3. I allowed my body to help me. Spaces that excited me such as the pool area and the staircase allowed my imagination to run wild and so much of photography is about imagination
  4. Over the years I have looked at hundreds of thousands of images, films and historical references and its in these moments they serve me. They come to me as inspiration
  5. Give yourself permission to photograph the things you love and the way you want


As this was a big shoot my vision started kicking in days before and often an idea would come to me driving, swimming or in the middle of the night. Yes, my shoots keep me awake at night.

So by the day of the shoot I had plenty of ideas of where I could shoot and what I was trying to achieve. 

Carla Coulson, harpers bazaar, portrait photographer, lifestyle photography, justin hemmed, kate fowler, the hermitage, slim aarons, pool, wooden boat, white bedroom, swimming pool

But how do I get a final result that is as good as the image in my head? This is something I will be teaching this October in Puglia on the Heartland – People and Spaces Workshop. How to take a vision and make it happen and not walk away from it when it isn’t working out. 

We have ONE PLACE available if you would love to take great people and spaces pics in a place close to heaven. You can read full details HERE.

Light and love

Carla x

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography,Carla Coulson Coaching

When Do Your Photos Become Valuable?

Dear Folks,

The easy answer for this is the moment you take them. They are our memories, the proof of our lives, where we have been and what we found along the way.

The longer answer goes something like this.

So many of the photos I have taken during the last eighteen years were for pure pleasure on my travels or holidays and today I have 100,000’s of thousands of photos on numerous discs and negatives.

When I first started taking photos the concept of them being valuable didn’t enter my mind. I was so excited to take them and then rush out and take some more, like a wonderful addiction to life.

I was terrible with them, in such a hurry to print them and see them appear in the darkroom that I would hastily discard one negative for the next and often put them back in the wrong packet.


Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography,Carla Coulson Coaching


Hence if someone today asks me for a copy of a photo in my first years, I will go into hot sweats and do anything to avoid promising that photo because I could lose a day looking for it. I would rather NOT find it or sell it than go looking for it.

When I started my blog back in 2008 I put up the photos I loved with little SEO tags of when and where I took them and now I have a steady stream of magazines, publications and interior designers asking me for my photos from my travels.

Coupled with the photos I continue to take, I have come to realize that our archives have an enormous value and they should be treasured, catalogued and easy to find.

So dear photographers, I beg you to look after your images and no matter where you are on your journey start improving your system today.


Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography,Carla Coulson Coaching


Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Right now today make sure you always have two discs of any series of images. One being an exact backup disc and mirror of the original disc and make sure they AREN’T stored together
  2. Number, date and name your discs and make sure they are marked clearly on the outside
  3. Categorise each shoot by date first, month and then name your project, person and place for each search reference. When you open your disc you should see a series of folders with specific jobs, subjects or travels.
  4. If you are super-organized start a file with the disc names and then sub folders on that disc. You could also do a hard copy reference book just for this for easy searching so if you are looking for ‘2013 Sifnos’ you know it is on disc 13 etc..
  5. Always keep your ‘hero’s’ in a 3rd place such as the cloud so if all things go belly up you have the best photos of your career in high resolution version.


I know so many of you are creating magic on a daily basis, look after your beautiful images as one day they will have an incredible emotional, historical and economical value.


Happy snapping!



If you want to learn how to take/create your body of work and sell it online, join my Free Training by clicking here.