La Contessa - Portrait Shoot Paris - Carla Coulson
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La Contessa – Portrait Shoot Paris

Carla Coulson La Contessa

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Now you may be wondering why this glamorous woman is feeding chickens in the middle of the Jardin du Tuileries? There is a reason..

Carla Coulson La Contessa Portrait Shoot Paris

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

The beautiful Elizabeth Kirkpatrick (aka La Contessa) has been the proud owner of the Vintage Hen House in the San Francisco area up until recently and has been the mother of chickens for as long as she can remember.
Carla Coulson La Contessa Portrait Shoot

 La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

La Contessa is my dream client in every sense, she loves fashion, she once lived in Florence, she is as kooky as I am and loves the theatrical – we are a match made in photographer’s heaven.

La Contessa had a dream (you can read about it here) to bring her beautiful boys to Paris and have a shoot with them as she has done for the past 20 something years as a gift for their father’s birthday.

La Contessa Carla Coulson portrait shoot Paris

 La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Well, Carla woke at 3am one night with a photo in her dreams. It was one of her favourite Bruce Weber pics of all time. The Duchess of  Devonshire feeding her chickens in front of her beautiful home.

Contessa Carla Coulson

Gorgeous sons Nicholas and Kristopher Copyright Carla Coulson

So Carla called in the chickens, contacted La Contessa and we had photo bingo! La Contessa had had Mr. Weber’s picture stuck to her fridge for about the past 20 years. Much excitement down the phone from San Fran to Paris!

Contessa Carla Coulson

 La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Now when you come all the way to Paris with an opera coat it seems a shame not to take one walk through the French sculpture section of the Louvre? Non?

Contessa Carla Coulson

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

La Contessa being her glamorous self studying French sculpture.

Carla Coulson Contessa

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson


Contessa Carla Coulson


La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Now La Contessa and her boys have been doing a shoot every year for their Florentine father’s birthday so I thought what could be better than these gorgeous guys shooting their beautiful mum. What troopers!

Contessa Nicholas Christopher0077

 La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Brownie points for the rest of their lives!

Contessa Nicholas Christopher0080

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

Before the drama of the chickens and the Louvre we whipped into a cafe for a pit stop and a couple of pics.

Contessa Nicholas Christopher0104

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

How lucky to be staying in Rue du Chateau? The planets were aligning for La Contessa and I in ways we never imagined!!

Carla Coulson la contessa portrait shoot paris

La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

And you can imagine what the locals thought of this glamourpuss buying the bread..

Contessa Nicholas Christopher0110

 La Contessa Copyright Carla Coulson

On the steps of her adorable apartment..See where she stayed..

So La Contessa had a dream and so did Carla and in one glorious day both our dreams came true. A huge round of applause, numerous ‘encore, encore’ to La Contessa, Nicholas and Kristopher for their patience, beauty and creativity.

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca


Check out my Portrait Lightroom Presets here.

  • What a spectacular shoot Carla. Well done to all!

    November 4, 2013 at 11:01 am
  • Felicity Menadue

    Amazing shots!!! Love them! xxx

    November 4, 2013 at 11:20 am
  • ADORE! ADORE! ADORE! My Vietnamese hat goes off to you both..Carla and Elizabeth, you worked magic together. If ever a photographer knew her subject it is here and her subject is tres chic and very glamorous with her sons by her side. Just love it! xx

    November 4, 2013 at 11:41 am
  • Carolyn

    Love each and every one of your photo shoots, but this one has to be the most spectacular of all so far – it is simply superb. C xx

    November 4, 2013 at 11:51 am
  • Ali

    How did you manage the chickens? Was it a huge ordeal to catch them after the shoot? Lovely photos btw x

    November 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm
  • Debbie

    Beautiful photos, Carla.
    A small admission on my part(I probably shouldn’t admit to it …)When I read that La Contessa had dreamt about taking her ‘beautiful boys’ to Paris, I thought you were referring to the chickens until I read/looked further down the post and saw the photos of her two sons. Look before you leap -good advice indeed. xx

    November 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm
  • Fabulous subjects and sublime work! I bet La Contessa’s Florentine husband will be thrilled! Thank you for sharing X

    November 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm
  • Absolutely stunning photos!! I love this post. La Contessa in the red dress with those red rooster combs around her–really incredible! Better than Vogue. Yes, tell us more about how you got those chickens, and then permission to put them all in the Tuileries. Love the shots with the baguettes, and on the stairs. Everything. (Also the apartment–wow.)

    November 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm
  • spellbound….saw these on PInterest….had to read the story behind these beautiful photographs. Debo has nothing on La Contessa. Beyond beautiful

    November 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm
  • Hands down my favorite shoot of yours ever!! Brilliant!!! Congratulations, Carla! xo

    November 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  • Contessa, here!
    Tears popping up!!!OH, what a day!
    Carla, I canNOT thank ~ you enough for your vision and kindness and your knack with the camera!!!!!
    You are amazing and I ADORED meeting YOU!
    I need to take another look!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm
    • Carolyn

      You, Carla and the chooks – what an incredible combination (not to mention your sons! – and what a breathtaking result!!

      November 5, 2013 at 12:10 am
  • Carla, positively adore this photo shoot! And that settles it, one of these days I’m going to have a photo shoot with you at the Louvre, my home away from home. That’s an absolute dream for me. One day, one day soon. Also loving your instagram shots, which brought me here today.

    November 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm
  • Jennifer Rankin

    All wonderful, all magical, all fun. Fantastic job of capturing perfectly the Contessa I know and love. The ones with the chickens — over the top. Like a dream.

    November 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm
  • Carla, love these photo’s + you are the best! + have been seeing La Contessa’s name + just signed up to receive her blog.

    November 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm
  • What MAGNIFICENT photos!!! I just love every single one of them. Please let me know if you ever come to South Africa…..
    the model, the sons, the story, the colours
    Thank you so much for the inspiration

    November 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm
  • The Baroness

    Carla, having personally known and worked for La Contessa for the past few years, I am blown away by your most recent work. You have managed to truly capture the essence of Elizabeth. You were able to capture her twinkle, her spark, her regal individualism that is PURE Contessa! Your settings and the gowns and those chickens~ALL HER! She does the same thing in her garden with her own chickens and dress up clothes-it is wonderful! She is wonderful! You have captured her spirit and her style on film! This is only the result of an amazing photographer and an amazing subject. Thank you for all your efforts. Brava!

    November 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm
  • Kristopher

    Well done Carla, the pictures look amazing!

    November 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm



    (who lived right near me, and I knew and loved her , too!!)

    November 4, 2013 at 9:32 pm
  • denise

    My goodness Carla! you really have got it! with these photos of the “conteesa” maybe it was the turiliers gardens being a familiar site, whatever they are just beautiful shots.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm
  • Paola

    A great atmosphere, fun and glamour in a beautiful, perfect frame.
    I love Paris!
    Carla, through your lens, we can meet two unique women and their souls.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:06 pm
  • Wow! I have a soft spot for chickens. The photos remind me of the imaginary chickens I fed when I was a wee lil thing.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm
  • Mary Westerman

    What a lovely tribute to Elizabeth,her boys and the hens on the world! Well done and admirable work on all of your parts. La Contessa has raved about you and your work and now seeing the results I see why. Brava!

    November 5, 2013 at 12:06 am
  • Sarah

    These photos are just gorgeous Carla! What a great dream and the results are simply spectacular!!!! Particularly love the sense of fun about them too. Brava to your subjects and your vision. The Contessa could not be happier! Looking forward to meeting you in Melbourne soon.

    November 5, 2013 at 4:32 am
  • domenica

    I just can’t tell you how impressed I am, Carla!
    And I ‘ve worked with Horst and Frank Horvat and Patrick De Marchilier and Bruce Weber. What an amazing duo you and the Contessa are!

    November 5, 2013 at 5:11 am
  • Kate

    what a dreamy shoot! Magical photo’s Carla! xo

    November 5, 2013 at 6:38 am
  • Oh I am speechless! Elizabeth is truly a beautiful person inside and out – I can just imagine how much fun it was shooting her and her handsome boys! Bravo Carla and La Contessa! Mimi x

    November 5, 2013 at 10:09 am
  • Francesca

    These pictures combined glamour with irresistible freshness. I am astonished!

    November 5, 2013 at 10:39 am
  • Jane Audrey

    She is truly the Contessa Divino, being lucky enough to know the Contessa well I can agree whole heartedly that This Glamorous woman is in her element feeding the chooks (as we would say in Australia) in the Jardin de Tuilieries looking striking in her red opera coat .The boys too just gorgeous.

    November 5, 2013 at 1:05 pm
  • Jan

    FANTASTIC!! I have had the pleasure of a long friendship with La Contessa Elizabeth over 25 years. I believe Carla you have made her dreams come true with this amazing photo shoot. I am also god mother to one of her georgous sons. BRAVO! to all.

    November 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm
  • Wow Carla what an amazing woman & her sons and chickens, and you for knowing her so well you knew she’d own it. Major L.O.V.E.
    BRAVA xxx

    November 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm
  • Completely gorgeous.

    November 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm
  • What a beautiful and clever shoot! And I who rarely wear nail polish am thinking that color might work on me.

    But mostly, I am jealous. At 27 and 30, my sons are much older than La Contessa’s, and I know how difficult it is to get everyone in the same place at the same time.

    I would love to have a mother/son day of photography, but with one a musician in Brooklyn, and the other a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, it will be a while before that happens.

    Congratulations Carla and Contessa on such a lovely, memorable shoot. What a beautiful family!

    November 5, 2013 at 11:43 pm
  • Carla these are amazing, you are a true artist. Love, Claudia

    November 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm
  • Suzana Rose Borlovan

    Carla you have worked your magic with the Contessa, or has she worked her own magic with you! Not sure which way but the photos and the Contessa are truly beautiful.x

    November 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

    November 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm
  • Carla Carla Carla, what a stunning presentation of life you’ve given to us with this work. These images are filled with delight, they look totally alive as taken from your prospective and view of your subjects. I love this woman, we could be sisters, maybe cosmic sisters. And, I even like the dreads. with much admiration…

    November 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm
  • Debbie

    Extraordinary! The Contessa, the sons, the city – I have to keep going back to look again!! Bravo!!!!!

    November 8, 2013 at 5:23 am
  • You’ve captured the fabulous Contessa perfectly, cannot believe how wonderful these photos, natural yet dramatic!

    November 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm
  • Contessa,
    What wonderful photographs! You look stunning in your Nadia Tarr Cross-Over Gown! I am also in LOVE with that Gorgeous Coat!
    Who is the coat by?
    Thank you featuring our product so beautifully! I can tell you felt absolutely smashing in it which makes me so happy to see!

    November 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm