How Ana Dias Shot Playmate Miki Hamano for Playboy Magazine [NSFW]

How Ana Dias Shot Playmate Miki Hamano for Playboy Magazine [NSFW]

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The shoot done by photographer Ana Dias is a Playmate of the Month pictorial for Playboy US (Miss March 2019). The model is named Miki Hamano, and she comes from Japan. The whole photoshoot was done in a modern villa in Malibu, California.

Dias didn’t start out as a photographer. She studied Fine Arts at a university in Oporto, Portugal, her home country, and specialized in drawing. During her time as a university student, she had a lot of live nude models that she needed to draw and paint. One day, she started to take photos of the nude models so that she could continue to work on her drawings at home. That led her to discover photography as a form of artistic expression in itself.

As time passed, she started to spend more and more time on photography, and it became a passion. Eventually, it became her profession. Nude photography in particular is what interested her the most. She have always been fascinated by the aesthetics of the human body, and she finds that the female body in particular is the most beautiful thing that exists. However, she does not just photograph naked bodies. She photographs strong, naked women who love their bodies and that are proud to show them. She really loves the challenge that is capturing the essence of someone’s soul through their naked skin.

Dias started working with Playboy in 2012. It all began with a photography competition organized by the Serbian edition of Playboy in which she participated and won a prize. After that, she got an offer from the Portuguese edition of Playboy to shoot the cover of the magazine, and she continued working with them on a regular basis. For a while, she only worked with Playboy in her own country, but soon enough, other Playboy magazines from other countries started to show interest in her work and it just grew and grew. So far, she has had more than 30 covers and over 130 pictorials in Playboy editions in 24 different countries.

She started working with Playboy US in 2015. At first, she had her own web series entitled Playboy Abroad: Adventures with Photographer Ana Dias. This was a 24-episode show where she traveled to a different country every two weeks to shoot a model for a Playboy-style photo shoot. In each episode, they showed the backstage, the challenges and the fun that Dias, the model, and her team had in each photo shoot. Shortly after the series ended, she started shooting for the print edition of Playboy US. So far, she has shot five Playmate pictorials for Playboy US, and this shoot shown here was her third one.

Ever since she started working as a photographer, Playboy was always the goal to achieve. It is the single most iconic erotic magazine ever published. The Playboy logo transcends verbal language and is recognized anywhere in the world. Playboy was the first magazine to combine art, literature, good taste, and sexuality and brought a vanguard for political, sexual, and economic freedom since the 1950s. To be part of that rich history was something that she always wanted and that filled her with pride and joy.

When she was booked to do this shoot, she was really thrilled because it was to be featured as a part of the 65th anniversary issue of Playboy, the issue dedicated to “Freedom of Expression.”

The model, Miki Hamano, was chosen by Playboy, and Dias absolutely fell in love with her features. She is powerful, exotic, and is super comfortable in her own skin. Having chosen the model, the mood board for the shoot was worked on by Dias and Playboy, always with Miki in mind. They went for an 80s-inspired Americana vibe shoot with a modern twist. Dias always loved pop culture, and this shot encapsulates just that: a gorgeous model, a breathtaking Malibu villa, a classic white Corvette, and a perfect sunny day. It was essentially an outdoor shoot, which are her favorite kind. They shot under intense sunlight, with lots of baby oil on Miki’s skin to give the photos a feeling of heat. Baby oil is an essential thing for Dias, as she loves to see the skin glowing under the midday sun.

Fortunately for Dias, she had no difficulties at all shooting this pictorial. Everything went as smoothly as it possibly could. Miki is an experienced model that is super comfortable with nudity, and directing her was a breeze. She was lucky with the weather too. They had a clear blue sky and all the sunshine they needed. Also, according to Dias, working with the Playboy US team is an absolute dream. They trust in her and in her artistic vision. What else could any photographer ask for?

When it comes to angles and poses, the main focus is always on the model. Of course, one also has to pay attention to the lighting and the elements of the set that will come into play in the composition to highlight the model, but the model always comes first. Therefore, it is very important for Dias to find the angles and poses that flatter the woman she is shooting. What she wants is for the model to show her personality, her sex appeal, and to present herself as both powerful and beautiful.

That said, there isn’t exactly a formula for finding the right angles and poses. It will depend on the model herself and, above all, on the artistic sensitivity of the person in charge of directing the model and taking the photo, and this is difficult to teach. There is, however, a rule Dias usually follows that has a lot to do with the idea of keeping the model in the main role, which is to minimize the use of elements that can be distracting, that is, to avoid visual clutter. In the image where Miki appears sitting on the ground in front of the car, there are few elements, but all were carefully chosen to put the model in the foreground. We have a golden tanned woman with a white bikini in a relaxed but somewhat sensual pose and a minimalistic white background from the hood of a classic Corvette. That's it.

In every photo shoot Dias does, she always makes sure she has a handful of images that can be used as a cover. She also has to have photos for the poster and non-nude photos to be used in social media and for the press.

When it comes to retouching, Dias always works on it on her own. No one understands better than her what she wants to achieve with her pictures. Also, she loves to do it, because it makes her feel proud to know that the work is the realization of her creative vision from start to finish. That being said, she personally doesn’t like to retouch the images too much. She mostly works on the color properties. She usually like to give a torrid summer feel to the photos.

Lighting Setup 

The intense midday light is not for the faint of heart photographers. It doesn't hide, it reveals, it's bold, it's in your face, and Dias absolutely loves it! It allows her to make the skin glow and to create visually interesting shadows that draws the viewers' eyes where she wants them to go. It's one of her absolute favorite kinds of light for her photos. In the photo shown here, it was a little after midday, with the sun shining in front of the model and slightly to the right (relative to the camera). She also used a silver reflector opposite to the sun, to the left of the camera. A reflector is a very versatile tool: it is lightweight, easy to carry, and allows her to control natural light. As she is always traveling and photographing outdoors, the reflector is the ideal solution.

Closing

Model: Miki Hamano

Photographer: Ana Dias

Photography Director: Anna Wilson

Art Director: Erica Loewy

Photography Assistant: Jorge Teixeira

Styling: Kelley Ash

Makeup and Hair: Bree Stanchfield

Staff Photography and Video: Evan Wood

 Photo Coordinator: Sandra Evans

Video: Eric LongdenImages used with permission of Ana Dias.

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33 Comments

Previous comments
Black Z Eddie .'s picture

For me, not sure if times have changed, but, I don't even consider Playboy as porn, anymore. Back in the 80's, I can picture my best friend's mom referring to it porn/smut. lol

Nowadays, when I think "porn", I think photos/videos of sex. Actual sex/intercourse. Either with something or someone (including oneself).

Isaac Insoll's picture

I just wanted to say "thank you for an interesting article about photography".
99% of articles on this site seem to be clickbait or useless "top 5 reasons you need the latest camera" nonsense and this article doesn't even mention the camera used and instead discusses the photographer and the photos. Thank you

Cedric TOSONI's picture

"Photography Director", "Art Director", "Staff Photography and Video", "Photo Coordinator" .... .... "Retoucher" !
She is not a photographer, but a production team.