Racheal at Dawlish Warren

I have to admit, I don’t really remember how I first got in touch with Racheal, which probably means I messaged her on Instagram to see if she’d be interested in doing a shoot. She’d done quite a bit of modelling before, and she liked my photos enough to be up for having a go.

She’s not as local to me as many of the other models I’d worked with, and we’d originally arranged a shoot where she lives, but something had come up for her and she couldn’t make it. When we rescheduled, we decided to go for somewhere a bit between us – Dawlish Warren.

Dawlish Warren is, as the name would suggest, close to Dawlish, on the South coast of Devon. It’s on the other side of the estuary from Exmouth, quite close, but only if you swim. It’s a nice little town, mainly a holiday resort, with a good stretch of beach, a nature reserve, amusement arcades and a pub on the beach, and a whole world of caravan parks for holidaymakers.

We met up near the station, and wandered along towards the beach, starting by using stacks of deck chairs as a backdrop.

We then found a beach hut that matched Racheal’s top.

As you’d probably guess from the photos, Racheal is fun to work with, and not too serious. Probably for the best when your next question is “Do you think you could sit on a groyne?”. No, really, that’s what those wooden barriers going out into the sea are called. Groynes. Anyway, Racheal posed next to it, and managed to clamber up on top to pose in ways that are probably nowhere near as comfortable as she made them look.

Once she got safely down again, we continued along the beach until we found a bit with nobody else around – it’s a long beach, so that’s generally fairly easy as long as it’s not peak time. We got some shots I love with Racheal kneeling and lying on the sand.

After that, we headed back from the beach through the nature reserve, and found a nicely photogenic fence.

There were orchids scattered around, and we set on the idea of Rachel lying on the ground next to one. But it turned into a sort of long quest that only a grim determination saw us through. There were orchids everywhere. But every single one we could find had some sort of problem. Either the ground around it had ants, or it was surrounded by thistles, or animals had left their calling cards all around it. At first it was annoying, then it became quite funny. Eventually it returned to annoying. But we weren’t going to give up until we got the shot. We got it.

Usually I’d say it was totally worth it for the shot, and she does look good there, but given how good she looks in so many much much easier shots, it probably wasn’t. But we did it anyway.

A little further on, we found a little section of trees with a gap in the middle we could get into, and took some photos in there. Again, Racheal looks very comfortable relaxing on that branch, but I doubt it really was comfortable.

A bit further back towards the shops and amusements there are wooden walkways, so we made use of them for some leading lines.

Once we had completed the loop, Racheal was up for a bit more, and went for a change into a purple patterned dress.

Along the sea wall in the other direction is a railway bridge, which I thought might make for some interesting angles. It did turn out to be good, though we had to keep stopping and moving out of people’s way, as it was surprisingly busy.

Next to the bridge I spotted a patch of flowers in a matching purple, so we went for a bit of colour-matching.

For a bit more leading lines, I got down low, with Racheal on a bench by the footpath. That was going well…

…until someone walking past was obviously rather interested in what we were doing, or just very interested in Racheal. He stared as he passed, and Racheal turned back to me, almost managing to not giggle, but not quite.

The lamp sticking out of the top of her head would have been unfortunate in a more serious shot, and could be edited out fairly easily, but I think it just adds to the effect here. A fun end to a fun shoot.

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