Beach Cottage Coastal How to Improve Your Photography with Fat Mum Slim & Instagram

Tue 31st, Jan, 2012

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G’day lovely Beach Cottage Girls, wanna come play beach cottages?  …pictures, vintage things (that’s a lot of me ;-) ), white things, and of course the Australian sea, the ocean and hanging out down the beach….



For a teeny, tiny while I thought of myself as a ‘photographer’….really this came about because I had seen written on my son’s social media stuff something along the lines of ‘wow, amazing photo of you’ & my son had replied, ‘yeah, my mum’s a photographer’…. I kinda liked that and so I kinda adopted it.

For a short silly while.  I am so far away from being a photographer…

More, I now refer to myself as a Person who Takes Photos, a stack load of photos at that….and much more importantly (to me) a Photo Journaler…if you’ve been with me on this blog for a while, or if you have the mis-fortune to be a friend of mine, or a member of my family, you will know that this Person who Takes Photos, can drive you mad with her constant stopping, snapping, shrieking, ‘oooh wait, look at that!’,  ’ooh hang on, I just need to take a photo!’, ‘oooh yeah, I LOVE that!’.

And I have to say that something has been brought to my attention that has made all of the above about a million time worse.

So, you might remember this post, back at the beginning on January, where I pledged to take part in a January photo challenge  from the lovely and gorgeous Chantelle  to further my ‘photography’ ‘skills’, have fun and generally drive my family absolutely batty taking photos, more photos than normal of everything that moved and didn’t move…

This was January’s challenge, and I know that many of you were over there too…





Two things have become evident from this journey…. firstly, it is again re-inforced that I have a very big addiction to taking pictures of my feet and secondly, I take a lot of pictures of the Australian beach, ocean, seaside, surfers and whatever nautical thing else you want to add to that list…

But, the whole point of doing a challenge like this though, is the days when you have to get out of your coastal comfort zone, your feet addiction and open your eyes to other things

This has been an amazing journey of discovery for me…if you want to improve your photography for your blogging or for any other reason, you want to explore you more or you want to just celebrate the little things in your life, this prompt is a great way to do it…

totally self-absorbed & narcissistic….


and as a mummy to 3, who by the mere fact that they are, of a certain age, are all of the above, I am diggin’ it.

…best thing about it for me?

It’s real.  It’s doable.  It’s fun.  It’s free.

…and the second thing?  I’ve met lots of new friends already.  That’s an added bonus I hadn’t considered…


Here are a few of my Instagrams from the month

20120131-03-IMG_7247 20120131-04-IMG_8905 20120131-05-IMG_7111 20120131-06-dc639538460a11e19e4a12313813ffc0_7 20120131-07-dc70ee2e499611e180c9123138016265_7 20120131-08-95cf665640a611e19896123138142014_7 20120131-09-IMG_9341 20120131-10-IMG_7372 20120131-11-eda26620458e11e19e4a12313813ffc0_7 20120131-12-03c89a90448711e19896123138142014_7 20120131-13-1bfdab3e479b11e19e4a12313813ffc0_7 20120131-14-7d147c7a3f5f11e19e4a12313813ffc0_7 20120131-15-IMG_9210 20120131-16-a5bafc263d5c11e180c9123138016265_7 20120131-17-IMG_8936 20120131-18-8aa1fbe2375d11e19896123138142014_7 20120131-19-IMG_8878 20120131-20-1e0f57b03fcb11e19e4a12313813ffc0_7 20120131-21-98bbb8fa380511e1abb01231381b65e3_73 20120131-22-3bcc4bda38bb11e1a87612313804ec91_7

And guess what?

Tomorrow is a brand new month of challenges…wanna join us?

So here’s the gig for February, once again led by leader extraordinaire Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim, please don’t call her a Fat Muslim or I will get cross ;-), you can find more details from her here




How to take part in February photo-a-day:

1. Using the list as inspiration and a guide/prompt, take a photo each day.
2. Share it on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FEBphotoaday. You can also share on your blog or on Facebook … or even keep the photos privately for yourself.
3. Check out other people’s photos and like them or comment on them.

Note: The list is purely for inspiration, however you interpret the daily prompt is up to you. There are no hard and fast rules. For instance for day 22, if you don’t officially ‘work’ and are a mum or looking for work – then show something that you consider to be work (or a chore perhaps).



This time around I am looking forward to DAy 1, Day 8, Day 9, Day 23, Day 26, I am SO NOT looking forward to Day 12…best thing about this tho’ is if you don’t wanna play one day, guess what?  Ya don’t play.  My kinda game.

That is probs the best thing about this, it’s all too easy, jump right in and follow for a few weeks, like my friend lg did, let it go for a bit, then get all inspired again, by a new month, and a new round of prompts and inspiration…

I’d love you to join me…leave me your names, or tag me so I can follow you too….I am ‘abeachcottage’ on Instagram, if you don’t have an iphone, you can still play, just share with Facebook or Twitter with the #FEBphotoaday hashtag and @abeachcottage so I can see what you’ve been up to.

Oh and if you just want to see what’s going on with me, you can find me on Followgram, here.

Happy Days Beach Cottage ladies. Happy Days.




 oh & I am talking more things home over here…Do You love Your Home? 


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44 Responses to “Beach Cottage Coastal How to Improve Your Photography with Fat Mum Slim & Instagram”

  1. Marnie says:

    I soooo badly want an iphone…my contract is almost up, so I might be joining the party a little late. I tried to do last month, but school holidays and lack of the instant app made it difficult to keep it going…lol. maybe I’ll do a catch up post.??
    A least I got to enjoy you pics.
    BTW, you should call yourself a photographer.

    x Marnie

    • sarah says:

      haha thanks Marnie

      you will LOVE it…can’t wait for your contract to be up either…to be honest the iPhone has been great for me…it’s definitely given me a new outlet in my life with the camera and Instagram and I love that…many people have said to me about it’s limitations compared to the new phones on the market and it’s little things that go wrong, but for me it’s a no brainer cos it’s so very easy to use


  2. Will have to copy this list into my “notes” section so I can have it handy when I’m out. I’d never remember to check back for the prompts otherwise. Last month I only managed the 10 on 10 (which I liked, pretty cool run down of one day), but I think I’ll shoot for hitting this next? Wish me luck! BTW – you are totally a “photographer”.

    • sarah says:

      ha thanks Jen!

      I took a screen shot of the Challenge prompts so that it’s always in my photo album and easy to refer back to…

      jump right in, it doesn’t matter if you don’t do them all, I definitely missed a few, including the prompt ‘fridge’ …I just couldn’t get excited by that!


  3. Tammi says:

    Instagram is a whole new world to me and one that LURVE!!!
    I’m with the other Ladies…you are so a photographer…own it with pride :)

    Ps I think I’m up for the FEBphotoaday challenge, I’m littlepoppa but I think you have figured that out ;)

    • sarah says:

      ahhh thanks for the vote of confidence Tammi, too sweet!

      yes I have figured that out…enjoy this month…it’s gonna be a fun one! x

  4. Surely Sarah says:

    I was put off in January by the sheer volume of people in my tweet/instragram feed doing the challenge. But I think I might give February a go, you have inspired me :)

    • sarah says:

      yes I hear you on the volume….I think you just have to find a little group of people you love & a sweet niche…then it all works beautifully….well it has for me

      cheers Sarah enjoy x

  5. Alice says:

    Sarah, your photos are lovely… I really love them… You do realise that you are my muse right? Thanks to your blog my photography skills have gone up a level or two… I am thinking of taking this a little more seriously and perhaps next year buying myself a proper dslr with lenses and all… When my youngest starts pre-school I may start a photography course too…I will have to wait and see where life takes me…Funny when I was at school, I had the chance to do photography but chose to paint instead (I didn’t take it any futher than school simply because of parental pressure and perceptions about it not being a respectable job yadda yadda)… I didn’t like the chemical smells that came with developing the photos… But now thanks to digital I really am loving it, I see the potential for interesting and gorgeous photos everywhere!
    I will try this challange but keep it private as I have no way of sharing it (I don’t have a blog, twitter account, facebook or anything apple all for personal reasons other than the apple – I love apple products! I might consider the phone later this year…) anywhoo load of washing ready to be hung to dry! must go….

    • sarah says:

      well, no I didn’t realise that but thanks…I think!

      oh good luck with the photography…errrm getting a DSLr is pretty dangerous haha, you will adore it…to be honest I never looked back…the Canon G10 literally changed my life in the early days…same think happened with the humble iphone so i guess it doesn’t matter what piece of equipment you get…

      …the potential with digital is HUGE and the best thing is, it’s free…well once you initially invest


  6. Cheryl says:

    Thank you so much for your note the other day! I loved your post today. The more I take photos, the more I realize, I am also NOT a photographer, however, I love to journal with my camera. The more photos I take the more I want to learn. I just got back from visiting my son in Colorado and I truly think a monkey could have taken beautiful photographs, as it is stunningly beautiful out there!!!! I-phone, Instagram…. the best! I skibbled over to @fatmumslim and I am kind of excited to challenge myself. I am not looking forward to #4!!!!

    • sarah says:

      well done Cheryl, it’s so exciting, how funny cos I think #4 looks fun…that’s what is so great about this, all the different takes on it!

      yeah I know what you mean about being somewhere where it’s hard to take a bad photo….hello Aussie beach lol x

  7. Kate says:

    I love your daily pics of the sea and sun. So jealous up here in the rain on the Gold Coast.

    I am no photographer but on my recent ‘Mental Health Week’, I spent a bit of time on planes and in the lounges, being treated like royalty, courtesy of the husband and his sneaky pressie of business class tickets. Was instagramming everything. Wine glass full, wine glass empty, people working, my food, my feet (you got me hooked on photographing my feet) and had a blast doing it :) A few people I know just don’t understand the feet shots but with so many vibrant summer colours for toes, I have to share :)

    I got close to completing the challenge and am going to give Feb a red hot go :)

    Ever a pleasure to read your blog.

    Kate x

    • sarah says:

      thanks very much Kate…errrm I iPhone everything too, so funny…though I haven’t got to do it in business class…yet!

      looking forward to Feb’s challenge too

  8. You so very are a photographer :-). I love these challenges and have had a total treat taking part in the past month.

  9. I am definately in this month for the Feb photo a day. I missed it last month but should have just jumped right on in! I just looove my Ipnone 4S. it’s fantastic!
    The other blog post on the home- I can’t comment, is there a trick?

    • sarah says:

      hmmm Jodie, you have to have a profile (you can connect it up with Facebook)…that’s it I think…

      looking forward to this next challenge, yes you shoulda jumped in but now worries xo

  10. Stacey says:

    Hi Sarah
    I played along with the Jan challenge, this was my first step into social media, (haven’t got facebook etc), the most I’ve ever done is leave a few comments here on your blog = ) However I really enjoyed it and expecially loved how people interpreted the day’s challenge in such different ways, it encouraged me to actually start to use my camera on my phone and explore what I could do myself. The great thing is that people started to leave some likes (even got a couple from you!! Lol) and comments and soon you had some conversations going, its certainly a whole new world for me. Thanks for all the encouragement and advice that you give your readers here on your blog and your photos are always an inspiration!
    Stacey x

    • Stacey says:

      I would say you invented the foot shot! = )

      • sarah says:

        haha thanks Stacey, I think there are a lot of people taking photos of feet, eek I hope it’s not just me that’s weird

        I am SO GLAD you are enjoying it…especially if it’s your first jump into social media…it is fun, I think the key is getting into a little circle of people that inspire you and leaving comments etc and interacting, that’s how you get most from it…I leave my instagramming mostly to the evening…when I have wound down and then look through all the amazing inspiration and different people’s lives on there….

        xoxoxo see you in Feb!@

  11. Melinda says:

    I think Im ready to jump in for real!
    Last month I instagrammed my heart out – I think Im going to share in Feb.
    Will let you know my link

    love your Jan photos, esp the spectacular colours in No 4 and the last one and also that puffy white bed xx

  12. Robyn says:

    I wanted to do this challenge in January but had only just received my Android phone and was still learning how to use it. I think I know the basics for now, so might try a few of these Feb ones.

    Since you mentioned you’re now taking pics ALL the time of everything anywhere anyhow, I have a reader request for you. I would like to know how you store all those pics on your laptop. I have tried a few systems that don’t seem to be working for me. How do you do do it?

    I’m off to learn how to use #FEBphotoaday hashtag on Twitter before tmrw!

    • sarah says:

      ahhh Robyn, I just load them right on into Windows Live…I love that simple program, I do most of my editing in there too…no fussing about just simple and easy use…it loads them by date folder and I just kinda know where things are by date…if you see what I mean…I am right now about to dowload all my photos though onto a stick, to free up some space…there are a lot on here lol

      hope that helps

      just chuck the tag #febphotoaday onto whatever it is you are sharing…


  13. Susan says:

    I think I would like to participate for February – it might give me something to blog about! I am at a loss as to what to blog about – I made a commitment to myself at the end of the year that all the photos in my blog were going to be my own pictures, or photos that I own (for example, paying for stock pictures); I want to “keep it real”, and make it “my” content, rather than grabbing images that I see online or in magazines, or on other blogs. What this means for me is that if I don’t spend time taking pictures, I’m not going to have many blog posts this year, so I’d better get cracking!!!

    Speaking of whether one is a photographer or not – I love the website http://www.youarenotaphotographer (not affiliated – I just get a laugh out of all these people who think they are photographers just because they bought a DSLR camera :) ) – in my mind, you’re a photographer – I’ve sought you out for photography tips, so that makes you a photographer in my mind :)

    Have a great day

  14. Oh my! I just cracked up at the Fat Muslim line! Yes please don’t call me that. And please don’t suggest I change my name because you see the wrong name every time you read it! :P

    I love your photos. I so love that you’re playing along again! Thanks for sharing. xxxxx

    • sarah says:

      yeah I know, that was too funny….unbelievable what some people say!

      thanks for doing this again, I am loving it

  15. I just might give this a whirl. I have an older Iphone so the camera is not so great but I do have a swanky DSLR and I shoot on manual. I was getting good at photography but have let it slip. This might be just what I need to step it up and think outside the box.

    Love all your shots.


  16. Kimberly Buca says:

    hey sarah
    i have 2 of those chairs with the rounded seat i painted muine white and put a vintage bark cloth on the seat it has some pinky colred cabbage roses real shabby chic kind of look i got them at a estate sale that was for cancer the lady said they came from a ice cream parlor in california they brought them back and never did paint them or spruce up so i could have for 3 bucks each wow!! i loaded those babies right up!!! i sure could use some of your sand and sun today cold here brrrr

  17. Caz says:

    Sarah you are totally a photographer , your photos are beautiful and bring happiness to my day :-) – if I take part then you will see what not a photographer is all about as mine will be the ones with thumb prints in corners, blurry and just downright awful. Hubbie has an ipad for work if I can get my hands on that I’m in as I so want to be doing this instagram thing!

  18. staceypa says:

    Hi Sarah

    I only recently discovered your blog via Dreamy Whites and I have to say I love it! Sitting in the cold UK it is so wonderful to see all your amazing beach photographs (and feet) Your house is stunning you have great style.
    I am going to take part in the photo a day challenge looks like great fun I already follow you on instagram I am also on followgram http://followgram.me/staceypa

    love stacey

  19. alison says:


    I don’t know if it’s my age but I am now always looking at things and considering their value as a photo. It might be tree bark, a brick wall, a narrow view between two things…Sadly, most times when I go to take a photo with my camera the batteries are flat. Mmmm, I must get my get my act together. I occasionally take a photo on my phone and send it. I like that instantness (is that a word???).


  20. Neen says:

    I have no idea about technology ( only able to comment here because I accidently got it to work one day !) so I will take on the challenge but keep pics for a time when I learn about how to upload/download/no-idea load. The reason I’ll give it a whirl is because of your comment about doing something for myself that is just… for fun. I must be having a moment as I’m ticking things of my bucket list this month, I learnt to boogie board ( huge fear of bathers and the sea, I can’t swim) cleaned out the guttering on the garage roof ( huge fear of heights and yucky-muddy stuff) so I’ll give photography a go !! Thanks for the inspiration Sarah, Neen.

  21. Lucy says:

    Loved your January photos Sarah – I’m definitely up for doing the February challenge… Instagram has become a firm hobby in the last couple of months so really looking forward to playing!

    I’m also dreading day 12 – my wardrobe is a blimmin’ nightmare. Hmmmm.

    Lucy x
    lucygooseyb on instagram

  22. Janelle says:

    Thanks for the tip off to take a screen shot of the challenge prompts, have just done so!! My 8yr old daughter and I are having a fab time doing the challenges together. And as to whether you are a “photographer” or not…who cares?! You take stunnning fun photos!!! x

  23. Claire says:

    Thanks for this link Sarah – loving the idea! I did a 365 photo-a-day project back in 2010 (see my blog http://www.thedigitaliris.net) and have been looking for ideas and ways to do something similar again this year, but on a smaller scale. This is great – the prompts help with ideas (something I found hard at times during my 365) and give a bit of edge to it, plus as you say you can dip in and out month on month depending on how you feel, your available time and so on. I’m a Canon kind of girl at heart, but I just downloaded Instagram to my iPhone yesterday so looking forward to giving it a whirl ; )

  24. Ingrid says:

    Yay! I’m so in. How can I say no to taking pictures of beautiful Hawaii! Will need to check on the instantgram app. This will be so fun and I might be able to get some nice pictures for my new home! Thanks Sarah, so cool!

  25. Glennie says:

    Great idea! # 24 will be interesting – I take it you’re not allowed to have a massive tidy up before the photo shoot !!!

  26. stav says:

    hey Sarah, i loved this in jan and im going to join in today! Just curious though, when you say ‘share’ on instagram, do you mean by just completeling the photo? Im so naive with the capabilities of instagram, all i do is take photos and then enjoy them in my photo library! I have follwed a few friends but not sure really what else its capable of…

    sorry for ignorance! xx

  27. Robynne says:

    Get those Hunters off your feet…there’s no excuse to be wearing that type of footwear in Sydney in mid summer!!! The wedgies are gorgeous though! Robx
    p.s. Looks like fun…perhaps next time for me…about to get on a plane for 24 hours.

  28. Fleur says:

    I’m with you on this one!
    I’m fleurthings on instagram if you want to follow

  29. Katrina says:

    I’m joining in….will just be using my ipod for my photos…it’s always with me and portable so easy to do but standards are not really the same as using my daughters camera….this is a challenge for myself as I am trying to get things moving in many areas of my life and photography is one of them. Oh and you can definately call yourself a photographer….your photographs are wonderful….”hutchymum”

  30. Karlee says:

    I’ll be joining in….sort of
    My mum and I are going to be doing it for the first time. Mum has a great Cannon camera, I have a much less special camera but it does the job. I wont be joining in on Instagram as I am way behind the technology times and still proudly own a Nokia 3315….lol…. yes some people might think thats sad (it is in ways I guess haha) but I refuse to get a new phone until this one dies….and IT WONT DIE! The sturdy bugger has nothing wrong with it!!, which works for me. Instagram, apps etc do look very interesting and fun though.
    So we’ll be taking our photos on our cameras and share them with each other via email….little more private too for mum who isn’t into facebook etc.
    We thought it would be a nice thing to do to be able to look back on the month, and to have something different to think about on those days that rountine becomes a little tiresome… spark a bit of daily creativity!
    I’ll join you high tech people one day when the dinosaur phone leaves this world ;)
    Happy February