Last summer I was approached by PSV Eindhoven to shoot a marketing campaign promoting their seasonal passes for all home games. These are my experiences during this project.
When PSV Eindhoven first approached me, the club had already drafted a concept in collaboration with sports marketing agency Triple Double, who are now in fact one of my favourite clients as well. The general idea for this campaign was to interview and photograph a series of faithful supporters of the club. The interview and photoshoot would take place at the very seat these supporters always sit in during every home game. I thought the concept for the campaign was great, especially since the empty stadium would make for a rather dramatic backdrop. The club intended to use a mix of celebrity supporters and random long time supporters. One of the celebrities was Luc Nilis, a PSV legend now active as a coach for the strikers of the club. Another supporter viewers would be familiar with is Cees Geel, a Dutch actor. In addition to these celebrities, a husband and wife who were among the club’s most long time supporters were involved.
Personal interpretation of the brief by PSV Eindhoven
My personal vision for the project was to ask these supporters to think of some of the most memorable moments they had experienced in the stadium. I was looking for a kind of focused, intense and epic look on their face, avoiding a smiling, happy and commercial look at all costs. I wanted the viewer to feel a kind of ‘calmness before the storm’ emotion: this person and the stadium were at ease now, but once 22 players came onto the pitch and the ball started rolling, the atmosphere would be full of energy and emotion.
Because I knew the natural light in the stadium would be adequate but probably lack some direction and definition, I brought in a rather large octabox to light the supporters from the side, giving a nice look to the texture in their faces as well. I had my buddy Stijn assist me in holding the lightstand and setting things up.
Working with the models
The supporters turned models were all great to work with. For the old couple this clearly was a special day out, while Cees Geel and Luc Nilis were obviously used to photoshoots and were true professionals. To be honest I liked working with all supporters equally well. When I’m shooting sports action, there is definitely a noticeable difference between top athletes and amateurs. For portraits however, I love coaching any person towards achieving the best possible look for them, or to obtain an expression that will fit the brief.
In order to amplify the mood that I was going for, I pulled out some of the saturation in these images, while really focusing on the red tones. For the different shots, because we were shooting throughout the stadium, the lighting situation varied slightly. I tried to achieve a consistent look throughout the photos despite this challenge. In the end, PSV were thrilled with the images and used them both online and offline in their campaign to promote the sale of seasonal passes for their home games. I’m proud of the images I created and having worked with these people, and have since added the series to my portfolio.