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What Makes a Seaside Town Great for Photography?

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

seaside shop

I love doing photography at the coast. I have photographed cliffs, rocks, lighthouses, boats in the harbour, seascapes, even seaweed on beaches, and I have enjoyed it all. Yet I have not done a lot of photography in seaside towns.

Recently I was introduced to the work of UK photographer Dan Baker, who makes most of his images in his local seaside towns (@danbaker88, Instagram), and I became inspired by his work and the unique view he presents of life in a typical seaside town.

So I set off to do some photography in my own nearest seaside town and I was delighted to find numerous photographic opportunities.

So, what makes a seaside town great for photography?

Seaside towns have a lot of elements and features that provide potential for interesting compositions.

Most seaside towns have some type of walkway, promenade or pier, which are often well populated and give us a chance to do some people-watching and possibly capture some interesting street images.

the funfair

Ladies in pink

Going for a coffee

Backpackers day out

Apart from promenades filled with people, there are seaside cafes, beaches and funfairs which provide busy scenes. Often we will capture unique human interactions, bold summer colours, or unusual happenings which we can capture with our cameras.

Having a chat

The pace of life in a seaside town is often more relaxed than that in a busy city street. It might be easier to get an image of human interaction.

Enjoying an ice cream

I was watching this scene for a while. For most of the time the boy was looking around, then suddenly he turned to look at the man, who looked at him as they both ate from their ice cream cones. It was a nice, intimate moment to capture.

Seaside shops have unique design features, with shape, line and pattern being prominent among these features, and they make for good compositions. They are often surrounded by brightly coloured beach balls, plastic buckets and spades, and other colourful beach toys and they have constant queues outside, making them interesting locations for a photograph.

Beach balls

Seaside towns, particularly those with funfairs and amusement arcades, offer opportunities to capture vibrant colours and movement and they have numerous features that offer potential as sub-frames.

Man in sub frame

Through the railings

well dressed woman on pier

Take five

Throughout our ramblings around a seaside town we can observe many photo opportunities that tell an interesting story of a day by the sea.

Capturing motion

There are also lots of opportunities to have fun with long exposures and capturing motion.


Although I took these images during a quick visit to a local seaside town, and I used my phone camera, I do know that the potential for good images is endless and I intend to return with more time to spend.

If we immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, smells and activities of a busy seaside town we will come away with at least some images that are worth keeping.


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