Beetle on the Beach

It’s ironic that I first met Richard, the owner of this fantastic little VW Beetle on the beach near Portrush last year while he was there doing a photo shoot. It was inevitable that two photographers working independently on the same stretch of beach were always going to peep at each others cameras (as photographers do), and to cut to the chase, a great friendship started out from then and has continued between Richard and myself.

Soon after initially meeting Richard, he informed me he was involved in a long-term project at his home to restore a 1970’s VW Beetle. A casual conversation at the time suggested when it was complete we should get the car out to a location and have a photo shoot with it. The photos below were a result of that very idea.

To say Richard has done a grand job restoring this VW Beetle just doesn’t cover it at all. This car simply has to be viewed in reality to be fully appreciative of the level of detail that has been restored to its original, authentic 1960’s era. I really wish it was mine! The car was also prepared to a truly immaculate finish for its trip to the beach for photos. Chrome sills like a mirror, tyres perfectly black, wheels like brand new, paintwork shining etc etc. Also speaking of the car’s trip to the beach, Richard loaded the car onto a transporter trailer and towed it the whole way to the beach, where he off-loaded it and drove it up the beach to where we wanted to photograph it.

Here’s a selection of the photos…


Richard’s immaculately prepared Beetle, and we couldn’t believe our luck when Ruta produced this dress. The style was perfect but look at the colour in relation to the soft top of the Beetle 🙂


This is a natural light only version of the exact same image as above. 3 stops of difference in exposure for any photography heads 🙂
The rain on the windscreen in these photos tell the real story!




For our location I broke with my tradition of using Whiterocks beach outside Portrush, and opted for Benone Strand as it can take cars on the beach.

From a weather point of view there’s no point in saying otherwise. It was a curse! The weather forecast for the week was looking good, but typical we had picked the only afternoon/evening of the week where it was raining off and on leaving wet sand, but a much bigger problem was the severe wind blowing across the beach constantly. With two long haired models this meant having to face them into the wind for all the photos and this meant compromising on the light on occasions. Strong wind blowing away from the sun is a bad photogrpahic combination for people photography and that’s what we had!

This was full on into the very strong gusty wind, though it shows the interior detail of Richard’s Beetle and a great look from Rachel.


I did a series of these images, all working out exactly as I had intended with a very intense look from Ruta


This was a fun picture with Rachel 🙂 I asked Richard if we could turn the Beetle to the sea and take the soft top back. A big ask with the rain and wind blowing sand everywhere, but he assured me it wasn’t a problem.



Ruta carried this picture off to perfection, and again this shows the fantastic interior detail which has been restored in the car.



Black and white seemed to work well for this image.



No heels on for this picture as it involved sitting up on the back seat!



This was about the only few seconds of a blink of sunlight we had all day so we had to be super quick to capture it before it disappeared!



Before Richard arrived with the Beetle I did a series of images on the beach with Ruta and Rachel.
This is natural light and shows the wind, even at the start of the afternoon which got stronger as the evening progressed.



This was a fantastic coat which Rachel had brought along and was perfect when framed against the sand of the beach. A cooler look helped give the coat (and Rachel) a more wintery feel. It was also warm which was a big help!



I couldn’t leave without a dramatic off-camera flash picture.
Rachel’s coat was catching the wind, we had a very dramatically under exposed stormy sky so it needed a powerful pose.



Credit for this project goes to a few people who all came together to make it work. Firstly Richard for the immaculate preparation and then the effort in bringing the Beetle to the beach and back again over such a distance. Secondly thanks to our two models, Rachel and Ruta. Also thanks to Catherine for providing two make-ups (one in the car on the beach) and also David Graham for hair styling for Ruta. We did feel sorry for David after all his efforts though, as within the first 30 seconds on the beach the wind had removed any styling from Ruta’s hair.





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