Better beach pics

Bask in more-meaningful beach memories

I thought that, as a photographer and designer, I could use some of the visual rules I’ve learned over the years to help others get the shots which send them back to the holiday when viewed months later.

This is a shot I took on holiday a couple of years ago. It’s in the Vendée in the west of France but it could be almost anywhere – beaches generally look like each other, don’t they? At the point of taking shots like this we’re saving a memory for the cold winter days to come when our snaps will conjure up the heat on our backs and the mixed scent of suncream and Gitanes (in France that’s guaranteed). The problem with the pic above is that it won’t trigger the particular memories of this holiday – it’s too bland and generic. So what would be better?

My family hadn’t taken any shade with us to the French beach so we looked for a sheltered spot to escape the direct sun. At the back of the strand there were beach huts in bright summer colours. Next to them was an awning which offered us the protection we needed. We set up camp there and gazed around at the happy holiday scene, including the huts with their very French appeal. A user left his bike propped against one and I thought “That looks like a postcard”.  One snap later and I have a pic which says “French beach” in a way which means a lot to me.

The trick is to single out one feature which has a personal meaning. It might be the mad cocktail you’ve just ordered, a yellow kite against a blue sky, or the golden sand on which your holiday novel lies. Think of the image as the perfect postcard you’d send home to sum up your holiday. So take a few minutes to look around, focus on something with a special meaning for you, and save a happy, sunlit memory.

Want to know more? Contact Gordon Saunders on 07812 576 430 or email