So you've set your camera to the beach setting. You've got the perfect picture in front of you: the gently lapping waves of Gulf Shores in the background and your kids in the foreground playing in the sand. Yet, for some reason, your pictures still aren't coming out just the way you want. Maybe someone blinked, or a plastic shovel is covering the face of one of your children.

We know you would like to take numerous wonderful pictures to spur memories of your vacation at a Gulf Shores area beach house or condo rental. If you follow these simple guidelines, you won't even know what to do with all of your great photos!

1. Use the flash

3 ways to take memorable beach photosThis might sound crazy, especially because it's already so bright out, but using the flash for beach photography is an industry tip that professional photographers themselves use. Even if you have a point-and-shoot, set your camera to use the flash so that your family's faces won't be in the shadows of their beach hats.

2. Keep the camera straight

A crooked image can be jarring, even if you don't notice it at first. Most of your images of the beach will have a perfectly straight horizon in the background. Be mindful of where the horizon is and how it sits in the frame of your camera. You can always edit your photo in your computer, but it's best practice to keep the horizon line straight even when you're shooting.

3. Use black and white

The colorful water, sugar-white sand and royal blue skies are certainly impressive aspects of the beaches along Alabama's Gulf Coast, but if you're looking to get a little more artsy with your photos, you can set your camera to take black and white photos instead. Especially with beach photography, taking the color out of the picture has a dramatic effect on the subject matter of the shot.

The most important photography tip anyone can give you is this: Have fun, and put down the camera every once in a while to play in the waves!