An afternoon in Paris with Carla Coulson

Nikki ParkinsonTravel 50 Comments

Paris dreaming. Yes, it’s still happening here.

Did those two days really happen?

They did and I have some photos to prove it.

Not just any old photos. NO.

Carla Coulson photos to be exact.

Carla is an incredibly talented Australian photographer married to an Italian and living in Paris.

She’s photographed six books and has a tonne of magazine shoots under her belt.

In 2011 she added portrait photography to her many professional bows and since then many people before me have engaged her to capture them in the City of Light.

Two years ago my girlfriend Sami and her husband Sam had a shoot with Carla. As soon as I clocked those photos, I immediately added a Carla Coulson/Paris photoshoot to my bucket list.

We only had one afternoon/evening that we could potentially fit in a shoot on our recent trip but I contacted her all the same.

The planets aligned and she was available.

Then I broke the news to the Mr and Master SY.

Thankfully they are good sports and minimised any ensuing eye rolling because the results were SO worth it.

The below photos are just a handful of what Carla captured.

I love the light; the very Parisian backgrounds; and the whole adventure that the afternoon provided.

We saw places we wouldn’t have found in our short time and absorbed a taste of Paris that has left us wanting for more.
Ruby Yaya dress | Frankie4 Footwear wedges | Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Balloons and the Eiffel Tower. What more could a girl want? These were taken in a side (non-touristy) street with a view that people travel the world for.

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Master SY got to release the balloons.

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Carla said she often “borrowed” dogs for her shoots. This French bulldog – Gaspor – was a natural. Mr SY wanted to bring him home, Louis Vuitton collar and all.

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Bubbles for big and little kids.

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Even water bubblers have Parisian style.

Ruby Yaya dress | Karen Walker sunnies | Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Ruby Yaya dress | Frankie4 Footwear wedges | Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

Ruby Yaya dress | Frankie4 Footwear wedges | Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

A florist shop to die for.

Ruby Yaya dress | Frankie4 Footwear wedges | Paris | Photo by: Carla Coulson

My favourite photo. I love the light and the proportions that Carla has captured here. Oh, and, of course, the bunch of my favourite flowers, peonies.

Fashion note

I wanted this shoot to reflect the season in which we were travelling – summer. The afternoon of the shoot was a hot day so I’m glad we went for lightweight clothes.

The colours I chose for us all to wear were complementary – not matchy-matchy.

The style I had in mind was relaxed but smart.

We found the boys’ cotton shirts in H&M in the UK and also bought their TOMS slip-ons in the UK as well.

I brought the Ruby Yaya dress* with me (the what I packed post is here in case you missed it) and it will be available in store from August. It’s such a great piece to wear and comes with a tie belt if that’s your thing.

The wedges* I’m wearing are a sneak preview from the upcoming spring-summer 2015 Frankie4 Footwear collection.

Beauty note

Carla works with hair and makeup artist Veronique Marot.

I loved the magic she worked with me. Loose waves, a flawless complexion and a red lip made me feel fabulous and a little bit French.

Surprisingly Veronique used only a CC Cream – Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Cream SPF 35 – on my face – not a full foundation. I fell so in love with its illuminating goodness that I tracked it down and promptly bought it (you can buy here at David Jones).

I’m no stranger to a red lip but another product I just had to buy following the shoot was the NARS lip crayon in Pop Life (buy in Australia at Mecca Cosmetica). Veronique said it was a red that worked for most complexions, so give it a try.

As for taking the edge off my iridescent arms and legs, I enlisted the help of St Tropez in-shower gradual tan. I had been using the St Tropez gradual tan (as seen in this beauty travel products post) but stumbled on this in Boots in London and added it to my shower routine.

It’s due for release in Australia in October so keep a watch out for it – you can join the waiting list here. The only downside I’ve found is that you have to switch off the shower for three minutes after application before you can rinse off. Apart from that, the result is a very good one.

Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Cream SPF 35

So tell me, do you follow Carla? Do you love Paris?

* The dress and shoes were gifted to me for editorial consideration. I’m the 2015 Frankie4 Footwear ambassador so am fortunate to have access to the spring-summer range ahead of release.

Comments 50

  1. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! Just love Carla to bits, she is my photography teacher, and massive source of inspiration both in my travel writing and photography and my portraiture 🙂 I definitely have a shoot with her on my wish list.

  2. Gorgeous photos …And yes, I follow Carla, have all her books. She is my inspiration to travel to glorious places and try and capture some of the beauty around me with my trusty old Nikon 🙂 We keep going back to Paris …just love the place <3

  3. Oh what a dream! LOVE your photos. I’ve followed Carla ever since I purchased My French Life which she photographed. Love her work.

  4. Fabulous photos. What a wonderful opportunity you created for the family. My favourite photo of you is the one of you walking by the flower shop. x

  5. yes, I’ve followed Carla for a while- she is am amazing talent. Loved your pictures NIkki- such great memories for you all.

  6. Gorgeous! My friend Lisa had her portrait taken by Carla after being a long term fan of her work for years. And in the most exciting way, she won a competition! The images are stunning. Amazing. They captured Lisa in a way I’d always imagine her but she never fully expressed until those photos happened. It was brilliant.

    Lisa’s blog post on her blog Renovating Italy in case you want to compare gorgeousness. 😉 http://www.renovatingitaly.com/portrait-in-paris-carla-coulson/

    1. Oh I just looked at those pics, how gorgeous is your friend and her daughter? Exquisite pics. Thank you for sharing

      1. They are amazing, right? Lisa is super laid back, most often you’d see her sans makeup and just as full of life, this shoot was so special because it too her energy, her spark, and captured it with a little primping and a beautiful day in Paris. What could be more perfect?

  7. I love the idea of getting a professional photo shoot done within your travels! The photos look great, like you’ve put yourself into a postcard. Love your hair waves too, woukd love to achieve that effect too, do you know what product/tool was used?

  8. Gorgeous pics! I’ve often heard that for family photo shoots it’s better to have compliementary colours rather than matching entirely – we did various shades of medium and dark blue with neutrals for a photoshoot a few years ago. And Paris! Just lovely.

  9. Wow stunning photographs! What a bucket list tick! Beautiful family! I love your dress and shoes and the boys look very smart and handsome. You will enjoy these for years to come I imagine!

  10. How beautiful! Those shots are truly amazing Nikki. You must be so thrilled. Making precious memories is what life is all about. If you can look the part…even better! And you certainly did that. Gorgeous. All of you. C’mon summer! and kisses to Paris. Anita x

  11. What lovely photos. I love the one outside the florist and the following one (your favourite), I think because they have a kind of street style vibe.

  12. Beautiful photos Nikki ,loved the one with the balloons and the flowers. The one of the boys in black and white is stunning. What size did you get in the dress?

  13. The photos are wonderful. Carla is so good at bringing out the ‘real’ in people. Loved them all especially the flower market, the couple one in B/w , the flower one and Ms SY with balloons. Congrats on a great shoot.

  14. Special photos, love Carla’s work and follow her on IG. What great memories those photos will continue to hold for you.

  15. Just so special, I love the black n white one of the boys and both flower ones. I have a couple of girlfriends who would give anything for a shoot with Carla…massive fans!

  16. Fabulous photos Nikki, what a fantastic idea and one I never would of thought of doing on a holiday. But this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have photo’s in PARIS, I have definitely now added this to my bucket list.
    Thanks for the beauty tips will check out the CC cream and also the gradual tan. Always looking for some simplicity in my beauty regime.
    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

  17. Magnifique!
    How wonderful, I adore the photos, that last one, the colour contrast,just beautiful
    New goal set for my next trip to Paris. Photoshoot with Carla!
    I follow Carla on IG, she comes across as gorgeous and real and her photos are exquisite and so tender and poignant. I adore her photos of older people in a ecstatic moment esp.
    Thank you for sharing

  18. Amazing photos, what wonderful family memories. I love the one of you with the Chanel bag. All are beautiful though! Kathryn 🙂

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