As it’s summer, I thought I’d take you on a little journey to the seaside for this month’s slice of Instagram inspiration – and, more specifically, to the dreamy feed of @juliabesidethesea. Julia, who blogs at Humphrey & Grace, lives on the south coast of England, and her photos are the stuff holiday dreams are made of: blue skies, bathing huts, sand and shells, interspersed with beautiful arrangements of gathered objects.
I couldn’t wait to chat to Julia to find out more about the stories behind her images…
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I’m Julia, a wife and mum of three who’s happily renovating our ‘forever’ home by the sunny seaside in East Sussex. My main ‘work’ at the moment is spending time with my youngest daughter before she starts school next year. My blog, Humphrey & Grace, began life almost 18 months ago as a small online shop selling hand-sewn items. Time and a toddler caught up with me (or ran away – I can’t decide), and after a long period of prevaricating I began blogging again earlier this year. I’m currently shaping the face of the blog and have plans for directions I would love to see it move in. It’s a learning journey and one I’m thoroughly enjoying.”
How long have you been using Instagram, and how did you get started?
“I actually downloaded the app not long after my daughter was born three years ago, but I left it idle on my phone for six months or more. I changed my profile to a public one just short of two years ago so that I could take part in photo-a-day challenges. The way I use Instagram has developed and changed along the way, though, and I hope it continues to evolve.”
What do you like about Instagram?
“Oh, so many things! I love to have a visual diary of sorts – collected moments that document the ordinary as much as the extraordinary. I find in Instagram a world of inspiration, and I can connect with people whose paths might never have crossed mine without it.”
What inspires your photos?
“Again, so many things. A mood, a place, a flower, a thought, a person, an experience. The flatlay photographs in my gallery became a way of finding that elusive ‘me time’ – I enjoy the utter indulgence of creating a photograph just because I feel like it. I do it because I love it – it’s as simple as that. It makes me happy.”
How would you describe your photography style?
“I find this question surprisingly hard to answer, as I view my style as transitional: ever-changing and developing. At the moment I like clean, white and bright… My husband says my photographs are ‘unconventional’; my mum says they’re ‘modern’. I’m happy with either of those descriptions!”
How do you take and edit your photos?
“I use either my iPhone or my Canon 1100D. I’m learning how to use the camera as I go, with varying success rates – I’m particularly good at unintentional blur, and I normally have several discarded photographs for every one I use! But again, I’m enjoying the process. I edit with apps at the moment. PicTapGo is my favourite, with VSCOcam a second best. My edits are minimal though – mostly just tweaking the brightness and tone, both of which can also be done on Instagram if you don’t wish to use other apps.”
What catches your eye on others’ Instagram feeds?
“Clean, clear photographs, no matter what the subject. I love a gallery with a specific style.”
What’s your top Instagram tip?
“Ooh, just one…? Be yourself. Try things and experiment with themes, but always be yourself and create a cohesive gallery that says as much.”
Photography by @juliabesidethesea