Paris Portrait Shoot + Light Tips - Carla Coulson
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Paris Portrait Shoot + Light Tips

Is there anything more nerve wracking than taking a portrait of another photographer?

Well I must admit I had butterflies in my tummy when I started the morning with beautiful photographer Millie Brown but she was so fabulous they soon flew away.

Millie too left her life some time ago and is now taking gorgeous travel pics and if you want to travel vicariously check out her stunning work here.

Millie once lived in Paris and like all photographers never actually got to be in the photos so we decided to take some pics of her in this glorious city. Starting at Cafe Marly one of her favourite places..

We ducked down to the divine Louvre and the sculpture section. Who wouldn’t be inspired by a backdrop like this?

Every photographer needs one quick pic of herself with a Leica!

Off to our favourite garden in Paris the Luxembourg garden, too chic for words.

And last stop a Parisian cafe. What could be better?

Millie is also the photographer of a beautiful range of cards with France and Italy as the stars. You can order them online here.

Some light tips on how I shot these pics.

Shot 1. At Cafe Marly there was lovely morning light in Paris that day and I used the big open portico like window light asking Millie to turn towards the opening for soft light on her face.

Shot 2. Seated at Cafe Marly I did a similar thing in the above shot but used the light coming through one of the main entrances.

Shot 3. There is a wonderful glass roof in the Richelieu section of the Louvre and I asked Millie to look up so there was a soft light illuminating her face.

Shot 4. It was little gloomier in this section but I asked Millie to face towards a wall where the sun was bouncing back and illuminating her face.

Shot 5. It can be gloomy around the Medicis Fountain but to take advantage of the soft light I made sure she was at beginning of the fountain where the most light was coming in but not hitting her directly.

Shot 6. Mixed light Ugghhh.. I messed around here and changed places three times till I found a place where she was almost in even light even though the background still had mixed light. The important thing for me was that Millie looked great..

Shot 7. This was shot through the window of the cafe even though there isn’t a lot of reflection. It was difficult to find a place where there wasn’t a van parked across her face and I made sure she was close to the window to have this lovely soft light.

Wasn’t she a star!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. Harriet Tubman

PS: If you would like a chance to win a copy of Chasing A Dream see this post for details.


  • Beautiful lady, so serene…and gorgeous shots, Carla…I LOVE the photo at the Louvre and the picture with her Leica..what a great day you both had…two very talented ladies!

    October 24, 2012 at 10:16 am
  • Thank you for sharing your knowledge. These pics are gorgeous. I love the white light and the subtle tones of darker light. Your model is lovely. Oh! And I would love to wear that dress.

    October 24, 2012 at 11:31 am
  • Sarah

    Wow. Absolutely stunning Woman and stunning phototographs. I love the styling, the locations and the clothing. It brings back fabulous memories of my own photoshoot. Bravo Carla!!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am
  • Carolyn Menadue

    She is gorgeous and so is your photographic capture of her beauty! C xx

    October 24, 2012 at 11:54 am
  • Great collaboration of two beautiful and talented photographers

    October 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm
  • Anita Rivera

    Dearest Carla,

    I am following you now, and I should have long ago when I learned how you left your life to follow your dream.

    There is so much here to discuss, but let me start with HOW GORGEOUS this photographer is, and how the photos are true examples of your professionalism and skill. I recently got a new camera and I can see the difference in the light I am capturing, but I see there is much more than just having a new camera. You have captured not just a subject for the lens, but as much of the PERSON’S presence and that is something I truly need to practice!! LOVELY!

    Secondly, I also left my life as a full-time teacher, though this school year, I am a substitute working on days when I want…very nice,actually! But it is all for the chance to work on my art AND writing. The transition is difficult from the emotional change of being at home, trying to promote my work and dealing with a cut in pay to simply THINKING MORE like an artist.

    I congratulate BOTH OF YOU for leaving one thing to start another. It is evident that you are successful, and I can only hope that with hard work and time, I can do the same!

    Have a splendid day, Anita

    October 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm
  • Carla, these are so beautiful!!!! The magic of Paris & 2 special women… Oh, how I’d love to fly to Paris and get the “Carla treatment”!!! Millie’s website is also fabulous.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm
  • Nat

    Brill photos….my favourite is Millie with her Leica….a really lovely photo.

    October 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm
  • STUNNING!YOU and YOUR MODEL!Where does she live now?!And will you let her snap a few of YOU?!!

    October 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm
  • Beautiful and talented lady. She is filled with light from within. All photos are fabulous especially B&W in Louvre. She should be chosen to be a face of some delicate fragrance and you Carla to be a story photographer. What a tandem it could be! We all know you can.

    October 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm
  • I clicked on her link and SHE LIVED IN FLORENCE!Just like me!Oh, I find this all so fascinating!Will definately have my AUSTRALIAN friends buy some cards!

    October 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm
  • such beauty! + will trot over to her website now.

    October 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm
  • These are beautiful pics Carla! Here work is beautiful
    Thanks for the link

    October 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm
  • Carla such great shots, see you had no need to be nervous!! Love them all, especially the one in the gardens, relaxed I guess. Just subscribed to her blog and look forward to getting to know her!
    ciao lisa x

    October 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm
  • absolutely in love with these images, beautiful!!

    October 25, 2012 at 1:23 am
  • jeanette coulson

    Once again beautifull, What a pretty lady. I hope you Carla have a photographer to take a lovely photo of you in Paris Love Mumxxx

    October 25, 2012 at 2:50 am
  • Jolies images prises dans des lieux mythiques de Paris.

    October 25, 2012 at 6:59 am
  • You’re so right! I am normally a confident shooter but when faced with the prospect of photographing another photographer, I suddenly get nervous! I’ve had very accomplished photographers tell me the same when faced with shooting me. So I guess it’s a universal thing, and I don’t feel so bad!

    These portraits of her are lovely (how lucky are you to have all of Paris as your location?!?). I hope she loves them!

    October 25, 2012 at 10:17 am
  • Stunning! Love, love, love.

    October 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm
  • I LOVE Carla’s work, she is BRILLIANT

    October 26, 2012 at 8:03 am
  • c woodyard

    You do have a way with people! They look relaxed, and interesting in response to whatever you’re doing with them. She is beautiful! Thanks for the tips, too. Cynthia

    October 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm