Hi everyone, my name is Peter Coulson, I’m based in Melbourne, Australia. When I was 17 I started out shooting rock bands back in the days of film. I wanted to be a musician, but my parents wouldn’t allow me so they enrolled me into a photography school. I was kicked out after 1 month for questioning the ‘rules’ of photography, so I’ve had no formal training, all self-taught.
Commercially, long story short, I was taking photos to advertise my old Fly-Fishing business and a fishing magazine I advertised in loved my photography and ended up booking me to shoot for them on consignment.
This went on for about 4-5 years until I did my first shoot in the studio. I fell in love having control over the lighting and my subjects. I risked everything by making the change from lifestyle photography to fashion photography.
If I had to describe my style, I would say I am a “Light-and-Eye” photographer. I look at light a lot, once I get my scene set up with the lighting, I then provoke the eyes or watch for the eyes. The whole photo depends on the eye of the person I am shooting, it is more important than the light, background, makeup or styling.
I live and breathe photography, 1/3 commercial, 1/3 educating, and 1/3 shooting what I love. My assistant and I spend around 6 months of the year traveling for commercial clients and also teaching photographic workshops.
Traveling a lot doesn’t mean we travel light; I still take a good portion of my gear with me. I may have some of the most expensive gear on the market, but I strongly believe the gear is only for us photographers to feel good, it’s not necessary to take an amazing photo.
That being said, here is what’s in my bag and how I like to use it:
Hasselblad H6D-50c: The body I shoot with the most, because I like it the most. I use it because it’s fast enough for me to shoot fashion without waiting. I just find for my studio workflow it’s the fastest and tethers well—and makes me feels good.
Hasselblad H6D-100c: I don’t shoot with this as much, but I like to use it when I’m doing portraiture and landscape because I shoot those a lot slower. I like the larger size of the sensor, not the megapixels.
Sony a7RIII: I absolutely love this camera. I shoot with this when I’m on location in dirty, dusty, wet environments or anytime I want to use a Zeiss lens.
Hasselblad 24mm f/4.8 (not in photo): I do love this lens but I don’t carry it with me often due to weight.
Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4: My current favourite lens, it’s hardly left my Sony since I got it. I often find the best lighting in the ugliest locations, and shooting at 1.4 gives me the ability to bokeh the background so you would never know it was shot in an ugly alleyway. It also makes the skin beautifully soft, so I don’t have to spend much time in post-production.
Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/1.8: I use this and my Hasselblad 150mm lens in the same way; if I am working with a model for the first time, the lenses allow me to be further away from them which relaxes them more because they can’t feel the camera as much.
Profoto B10: Super small and battery powered, this light is so great for traveling. I can use it with an umbrella & sock to create an octabox anywhere, or I can use it has a constant light.
Rotolight Neo 2: I use this when shooting fashion on location at night time. A majority of my commercial clients make me shoot in colour, so being able to dial in the colour temperature on the Rotolight to balance the temperature of the location is super handy, and it gives a beautiful natural looking light that doesn’t feel artificially lit.
Southern Comfort: Cheap ass bottle helps with my creativity.