French Riviera Photographer - Life’s a Beach!

Hey Everyone -

Ok, today I am going to do something a little different than my normal post. I was inspired by a photo shoot I did of this fun loving couple on the beach. I love to do beach photo shoots but I realize that people don’t really know what to request when traveling to the French Riviera. This blog post is kind of a guide to beaches on the French Riviera so that people that are interested in a beach photoshoot know what their options are and can request accordingly. These are my absolute favorite beaches in the South of France. Of course there are more beaches than this, but these are the ones I LOVE. 

Ok, to start with, I am actually going to talk about the beaches that I prefer not to do photoshoots on. This is just my preference. If you are still interested in shooting on these beaches, of course I will do a photo shoot there, however it wouldn’t be my first recommendation.

The less preferred: NICE, MONACO and CANNES: Ouch! I know that is going to come under a lot of criticism. Basically, my three least preferred beaches are the three most popular on the coast. Which is one of my major problems with them. They are overused and crowded. Normally that means that the beaches come with a fair share of trash and litter. Monaco Larvotto is not necessarily dirty, but I find the beach to be in such an artificial setting. I like a little charm with my beach and I find that the beach in Monaco misses out on the charm factor. The Nice beach can be good for showing the surrounding architecture around the Quai des Etats-Unis, but mainly people are a little grossed out when we step on the beach to shoot. Also, the Nice beach is pebbles, which usually means you can’t get those fun running-on-the-beach photos. 

OK, now it only gets better from here and I am back to my usual positive self. 

4.) Pampelonne in St. Tropez

The Pampelonne is a natural wonder. Beautiful white sand (ok, so it’s not the Bahamas). The waters are a stunning color and there is a lot of room here to shoot. Especially in the off season. The beach clubs along the Pampelonne are also generally cute and fun and make for fun backdrops. The vibe on this beach is very Hamptons, so I would wear white or light colored pastel colors, or go crazy and do a Bridgette Bardot inspired look with huge glasses, big hats and a cat eye! The negative of this beach is getting there. St. Tropez is two hours from Nice by car and in the height of summer the traffic is extremely congested! 

3.) The beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer

There are so many things I love about this location. Probably my favorite thing is the amount of variety you have at your finger tips. Villefranche is a charming fishing village and I think one of the most photogenic places on the coast (and under booked for photo shoots). Within reach of the beach you have the charming old town, bobbing sail boat at moor, bougainvillea, and swaying palm trees. Everything about this beach is old world French/Mediterranean charm at its best.  

2.) Plage Mala in Cap d’Ail

This beach, located in a cove like setting with picturesque cliffs crashing into the Med is really spectacular. The beach is actually really small so organizing a photo shoot here can be a bit tricky, and the light can be a bit difficult because of the cliffs, but when it’s done right, it can be an amazing place for a photo shoot. I especially love the path that runs along the side of the cliff and it’s a perfect place to stroll and take photos along the Cap d’Ail coastline. The color of the water can vary greatly from light turquoise to a steal-like black. It all depends on the time of day. When doing a photo shoot at a beach you have to be aware that lighting conditions are always changing and the environment can change drastically in 1 hour. I loved the photo shoot that I did with Johnathan at Mala Beach. 

1.) Drum rollllllllllllllll please. OK, my number one pick for a beach on the French Riviera is Paloma Beach on St. Jean Cap Ferrat. This beach has it all: gorgeous vistas with cliffs, mediterranean pines and crystal clear waters. It’s true that lighting can be tricky here, but when it’s good it’s good! I especially love the small cliffside path that runs along the whole of St. Jean Cap Ferrat. There are also lots of little nooks and crannies along the path that are amazing to shoot on. Little docks and ropes make for the perfect nautical touch. When it comes to beaches on the French Riviera, you can do no wrong with Paloma. 

When to shoot on the beach? I would recommend shooting on the beach in the early morning or the late afternoon before sunset. The beach can be a really tricky place to take photos because the light normally strong and reflecting off the water, making conditions a little challenging. Before a photo shoot, I like to check out the beach the day before to see what the lighting conditions are like so that I can adjust with the clients if need be. 

How to dress? For the beach, have fun! Don’t be afraid of color and don’t be afraid to provoke the spirit of the French Riviera. Think Bridgette Bardot! Think vintage! Accessorize: fun sunglasses and large hats! 

Ok, now I want to share with you this fun beach photo shoot that I did in Villefranche and that inspired this post! 


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