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 Over the years I have looked at hundreds of thousands of images, films and historical references and its in these moments they serve me.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!

Carla

 

Related Post: What Heirloom Will You Leave Your Family?

Paris, carla coulson, photography, published work, Louisa Deasey, Black and white photography, travel photography, photographer, photographers life

Carla Coulson talks Paris, memoir, and creativity

I am so honoured to be interviewed on writer Louisa Deasey’s blog, chatting about all things books.

Here’s a short preview of what we talked about:

 

I fell in love with Carla Coulson’s photography via her second book, Paris Tango. She has such an energetic style of capturing movement in her shots, which is probably why international magazines such as Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue have been commissioning her work since she up and left Sydney for Europe, over a decade ago.

It’s hard to imagine that someone like Carla once doubted her creative abilities. But twelve years ago, Carla had never picked up a camera, nor had a picture – or her words – published…

Tell us how your first book, Italian Joy, come about?

I had just left my life in Sydney and was starting over in Europe. I’d finished my photography studies in Florence. I was fascinated with Italian life and kept photographing the same things over and over – things like love, family, food, and the way Italians lived.

I’d had my first photography spreads published in Marie Claire, so i had made some great connections through that editorial work. The original idea was for me to work with a writer to make social comments about my photos of Italy, but my editor (Julie Gibbs at Penguin) asked me how I ended up in Italy, sensing a story behind it.

What was the most surprising aspect of writing that memoir?

As I was getting into the lift when I signed my book contract, my lovely editor asked me if I’d read A Thousand Days in Venice?

I said yes, and she just made a quick comment about the honesty of the author. No big speech or pep talk – she just left me with those words.

When I went back to Florence I it was cold, dark and wintry and I thought no-one would read the book anyway so I decided to be honest.

In my own little bubble I also felt disconnected to the idea that anyone would ever read it, so this freed me up to be honest.

There’s something very empowering about telling your story, and it’s helped me understand myself better. I poured my heart and soul into that book.

You’ve now published six books! (which is amazing, by the way) – why is Italian Joy your favourite?

It was a simple book, but it marked such a joyous time in my life, being freed from a lifetime of how I thought I “should” live and finding this beautiful simple life that excited me, connected me to myself and others and led me to feel fulfilled.

When it was published, I heard from so many others that read the book and felt the same way, and Italian Joy connected them both to me and to themselves. This was one of the greatest gifts I received from this book, the connections it brought me.

What Italian Joy has shown me is that we are full of infinite possibilities. I picked up a camera at age 35 and became a photographer, I learned to write much later too, so now I believe with time and practice I can enjoy art, or music or some other creative outlet where as previously I told myself I wasn’t talented. I know we are ALL TALENTED and creativity is innate in all of us.

Can you give any tips to those embarking on their first memoir – from your experience of writing Italian Joy?

I had no intention of becoming a writer, but when the opportunity arose I was so deeply connected to wanting this new life as a photographer, I chose to take the leap and try. So I did a writing course that helped me get the words down on paper and I found a voice I never knew I had!

I discovered that I love writing and that I had A LOT to say, that each and everyone of us has a story, and that our story, no matter how insignificant it may feel, has the power to inspire others and change lives.

I will be forever grateful to have found a voice, and to Julie Gibbs for asking me to share my story.

 

You can read the rest of the interview on her blog HERE.

Related post: Why Your Photos and Story Count

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Backstage Secrets to this Harper’s Bazaar Shoot

Dear Folks,

I thought I would let you in on a couple of backstage secrets of how I shot this recent Harper’s Bazaar story with the beautiful Heidi Middleton and her fabulous babes.

I didn’t have the luxury of scouting this beautiful property prior before packing my bags so I jumped online  to see if I could find any images to see the setting of the place. For me this is vital as it will assist me in knowing which lens to pack.

From the images I found on the net I thought the property was in a big field but when I arrived I was surprised (and delighted to see) it was actually in a village. This made capturing a big home like this from the front challenging because I was very close to the building.

Some of you may recall from my ‘How to shoot a chateau’ post that the bigger the building the trickier it is to keep lines straight if you can’t get far enough away from it.

Heidi was a dream! I think I have probably mentioned before how much I love Heidi. What a dream she was to shoot, her calmness, kindness, creativity and beauty. She was great and knew her property backwards and loved some particular parts like the beautiful ivy wall and we all dreamed of her being photographed on it on a ladder.

 

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Red Dress Series

  1. To shoot this photo I was on a super long ladder leaning up against the neighbors’ house in front! So the building wasn’t totally distorted I needed to be as high as I could or at least as close as possible to the middle of the building height. Shooting from a ladder is not my favourite place (yikes, did I tell you about my fear of heights) and Heidi was sitting on the balcony of the building.
  2. I used a 70-200m L-series Canon lens and my arms were literally in a spasm by the time we had completed the shot. I had to balance myself the best I could so as not to have camera shake from the heavy lens.
  3. We started out with Heidi sitting on the balcony and doing some more detailed shots and this lens meant that I could capture as much of the building in the image as possible including the turret, come closer in for a portrait and a vertical shot of her being playful.
  4. I couldn’t have done these pictures without a team. We had a super photographer with me and another assistant with Heidi and we took breaks as much as possible.
  5. When I look at the shots now I think we must have gone mad! But they were shot in a very short time. I wouldn’t recommend that any of you do this. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO!

 

Backstage Secrets to this Harper’s Bazaar Shoot carla coulson, carlacoulson photography, harpers bazaar, photography, behind the scenes, flower, heidi middleton, castle 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

 

Backstage Secrets to this Harper’s Bazaar Shoot 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

 

Flowery Skirt and Top Series

  1. To shoot this photo we required two ladders! So the building wasn’t totally distorted I needed to be as high as I could or at least as close as possible to the middle of the building height. That meant both of us were on super long ladders. My assistant held my ladder as I had an extremely heavy lens and feared tipping.
  2. To have the variety of images you see of the ivy wall it took a while for me to get my ladder in the right position and then we were fighting against the light that was about to come over the turret (who wouldn’t want a building with a turret?) and straight into my lens.
  3. I used a 70-200m L-series Canon lens and my arms like in the pic above.  I had to balance myself the best I could so as not to have camera shake from the heavy lens.
  4. This lens gave me the flexibility to come in for a close-up and still get as much of the building as I could without getting off my ladder. We lost a lot of time moving the ladder even an increment.
  5. To get that skirt moving and add a little magic took a lot of yelling across the front yard as we were both so far away from each other. Her moving the skirt added a new level to the photo.

The last shot of Heidi and her girls were shot in a field of flowers (and required no ladders, yay) we spotted on our way to her place in the morning. This pic was taken just after the sun slid over the hill and I exposed for her skin which gave the little backlight in her hair but left the rest of the foreground in even light.

I hope you enjoyed these little insights into this shoot, it really was one of those special photography days you hold tight to your heart.

Sending love

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Related Post: Carla Coulson In Harper’s Bazaar

Why Your Photos and Story Count

Why Your Photos and Story Count Your Photos and Story, carla coulson, positano, get published, creative coach, photographer coach, life, love laughter, 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

Dear Folks,

There was a time in my life when I thought my story didn’t count. My life felt insignificant and I could never have imagined it any other way.

When I became a photographer and had my first images published in Marie Claire something moved inside of me. I realised I had a power. What I focused on or photographed I could shine a light on, like my first story on Naples a place at the time that was neglected by a wider audience but deeply loved by me.

When I had my first book published I decided to tell my story exactly as it was. I made it a ‘private’ mission at the time to tell the truth even though I felt incredibly vulnerable, I wanted to put a message out into the world that you have the power to change things and live life the way you want it to be.

I have secretly (cat’s out of the bag) woven my beliefs, values and experiences into everything I have done for the past 17 years hoping something in what I put out into the world would awaken something in others that too needed to get back on the path to what they truly believed in.

I know it seems like a big stretch when you have no voice but just for a second imagine if you did. What would you tell the world if you had a chance? What stories are important to you?

Everybody has a story and everybody’s story is valid, special and unique. For me sharing my story and photos has been a healing, nurturing and empowering experience I could recommend with all my heart.

Your story is worth telling, the world is waiting!

Sending love and hugs

 

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PS: If you want to learn all there is know about publishing your photos and story in books and magazines we have 2 PLACES ONLY LEFT for Get Published 2017. All details HERE.

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