The region of Andalucía is not only blessed with fantastic weather throughout most of the year, but it also has over 900 kilometres of beaches to enjoy the sunshine. The coastline stretches from the province of Huelva in the west, through Cadiz, Malaga, Granada and ending in Almeria in the east. These beaches are some of the most famous and most visited in the country, with tens of thousands of visitors flocking to them, either to escape the more brutal heat they suffer inland during the sweltering summer months, or to enjoy the warmth that is absent from cooler parts of Spain and Europe.
But, obviously, the larger number of visitors means that these spaces are often full of locals and holidaymakers, and some people prefer to be on their own by the sea.
Different people have different expectations when they make their way to the coast. Do they want peace or do they prefer being in and among large swathes of other beachgoers to socialise? Some beaches are located on busy strips, while others are tucked away in unexplored corners.
But if there's one thing they all have in common, it's that everyone wants to take a photo of their favourite spot, and thanks to the power of social media, you too can add to the sensation of being there, or even help others when they plan their future visit. On Instagram, Cadiz's El Palmar beach has been tagged over 275,000 times, so its popularity is clear; while lesser-known Chullera, in Manilva, barely has 900 tags.
You could also concentrate on the more traditional method of word of mouth. It's easy to determine the popularity of beaches by simply recognising - or not - its name. For example, El Palmar will be recommended to you by any person you ask; but a regular, Andalusian beachgoer might not know where Chullera is.
Andalucía certainly has a beach to suit everyone, and when you've found it, you'll want to make your memories last forever. Following some simple photography tips will make your efforts stand out from your friends' when you post the final result online.
Depending on what kind of image you want to take, you will have to carefully consider the time of day you go out with your camera. If you want to capture the hustle and bustle at the height of a specific day and not spend too much time trying to capture the best photo, then your best option is to set out any time in the early to mid-afternoon. Moreover, you'll be able to capture the stunning light reflections on the water or the vibrancy of the hundreds of Andalusian beaches.
If you have more time on your hands and you want to really wow your friends online, there are ways to make your photos shine. By going down to your beach of choice at golden hour, that is, the final hour of light before the sun sets, then you are more likely to capture those pink, red and orange skies that are stunning to look at. However, those conditions aren't always present, so it may take you more than one attempt.
If there's one rule you should stick to when going to take photos, it's the rule of thirds. It's essentially the rule of thumb most photographers turn to, and it's as simple as dividing your frame into nine equal parts. Your best bet is to place the beach in the lower third of the image; the sea, any boats, swimmers or subjects of interest in the middle; and the sky in the upper third; which allows you to create a perfect balance.
Looking into different vantage points is also a good idea. Everyone is capable of taking the perfect shot on the edge of the water, at the end of a pier or on the shoreline. So, get creative and walk around the outskirts of the beach, climb high to get a more aerial view, or point your camera to somewhere different to really stand out.
If you want to capture the fun by the seaside, that too is as simple as calculating when to press the shutter. Ideally, to get the best snap, you should see if your camera has a burst mode, that is, to take several photos in quick succession. If so, you only need to point your camera, wait for the action to happen, anticipate it, and press down on the shutter button a fraction of a second before it does to capture the perfect summer moment by the seaside.