Usually, when I take photos, I like to create contrast between the model’s skin and the background to make the model stand out. Well, this time, I decided to switch things up.
It was part of a series of photoshoots I did for Playboy USA during the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, and one of the featured models was Svenja van den Bogaart from the Netherlands.
When I saw her portfolio, I was fascinated by her lovely look, and I immediately thought of a tennis theme for our shoot. She has a delicate appearance, but her freckles and her fiery red hair give her a hint of daring.
I scouted tennis courts in Lisbon and had two options: a smooth blue hard court and a red clay court. At first, I thought the blue court would be a good match for Svenja’s red hair, but I quickly changed my mind and chose the red one.
I pictured a more harmonious, real-deal vibe shooting on that red clay with its dust – It reminded me of scenes from Roland Garros, where top professionals play. I thought it would be interesting to blend the different shades of red from Svenja’s skin and hair with that red clay ground.
The photoshoot took place on September 13. We all arrived at the location early in the morning – me, the model, and my team – all set to begin with makeup and hair. I told Raquel to work her magic and bring out Svenja’s freckles and natural beauty. She never disappoint.
We began the shoot around 10:30 am to make the most of the sunlight. I quickly realized that Svenja was a fantastic model, so I decided to let her creativity and natural charm shine through. She looked even more beautiful in her simple poses.
For props, I had a classic tennis racket, fresh outfits, visors, and gear provided by the tennis club. As a cool touch, a few days before the shoot, I painted the Playboy bunny logo on the racket to give it some extra personality.
Photographing Svenja was a breeze. She was a total pro, up for all my wild ideas, like lying on the dusty ground for drone shots. We thought that would be the last shot, but when I saw her stand up, covered in that red soil, I couldn’t resist saying, “Let’s keep on going!” I just couldn’t stop taking pictures of her!
The real fun began when it was time to clean up Svenja after all that mud. Gonçalo, our savior armed with a hose, came to the rescue, and together, we turned the soil into a dirty memory!
– Ana Dias
BTS photos by Gonçalo Jorge and Pedro Barradas
Model: Svenja van den Bogaart; Photographer: Ana Dias; Producer: Gonçalo Jorge; Makeup & Hair: Raquel Batalha; Video: Filipe Figueiredo; Aerial Images: Pedro Barradas