Photo editing can be a very exciting, but exhausting job. The level of photography, and the amount of shooters sending in submissions seems to multiply every year. There are a handful of photogs year in and year out that always seem to really captivate me, while going through their yearly photo stacks. Lorenz Holder is one of these guys, at the top of my list of favorite shooters. I’ve heard other photographers mention that his photos are almost more like paintings than actual photos. When it comes down to it, Lorenz has it all. He is very tech and calculated with his artificial lighting, knows how to find the most original spots, and has the drive and organizational skills to corral the best riders for his shoots. – Mike Yoshida
Home Mountain: Spitzing – Germany
– Cameras: Canond 5d MkIII and Canon 60D
– Lenses: Sigma 10mm 2.8 // Carl Zeiss 18mm 3.5 // Carl Zeiss 50mm 1.8 // Canon 24-70mm 2.8 // Canon 70-200mm 2.8 // Hartblei 80mm 2.8 Tilt Shift // Hartblei 45mm 3.5 Tilt Shift
– Flashes: 2x Elinchrom Ranger RX // 3x Canon Speedlite 550ex
– Flash Triggers: Pocket Wizards and Elinchrom Skyports
Talk about your start in snowboard photography. Weren’t you an am rider on Nitro for a hot minute, before picking up the lens?
True, I received boards, bindings and outerwear from Nitro about 10 years back. One day I hurt my shoulder and I had to stop riding the way I was used to. But I still went to the mountain with my old buddies cause I just love to be out on the snow. This was about the time when I started to shoot my friends, just for fun. I would never say that I was a good snowboarder when you see what the guys are doing these days… My action based background made it a bit easier at the beginning of the my photo career, because I just took pictures the way I would like to have pictures of myself, when I would have been the rider.
You have been deemed a lighting master from a lot of your peers, what was your introduction to artificial light, and how did your lighting style progress over the years?
Wow, lighting master sounds good, ha ha!! I was just fascinated with what you can do with flashes. It is such a strong instrument for photos because you can just light up the stuff you want people to see in the picture and leave other areas in the dark, that you just don’t want people to see. Flashes also give the pictures a more plastic look if the lighting is good. In the beginning I had no idea how to use an external flash, so I made all the mistakes you do when you are a rooky. But after a while I pretty much always followed the same routine: First get your camera-angle, after that select the amount of daylight you want to have in your picture with the shutter speed, aperture and ISO. After that just get your flashes out and highlight the rider and the areas you want to have lighten up. I just checked the display of the camera, if the strobes had the right power. I still use this routine at every shoot, when I use flashes. But I still think you don’t need a flash to make a good picture. Sometimes you can destroy everything when you set up a flash. So I think you just have to learn if adding a flash makes the photo better or worse.
Ok, so I’m sure a lot of hungry photographers out there would love to know what type of gear you are using these days…. Can you give us a little insight to the lighting, and any new or old techniques you might have up your sleeve…. Or is it a secret??
The gear I’m using is actually the standard gear that pretty much every action photographer uses. So no secret on this one. If anybody has specific questions about a picture just drop me an email.
Most of all the spots that you shoot are so unique and it seems that they make for the perfect photo. Are you personally finding these spots, or do the riders contribute too?
Both, I learned a lot about spot-scouting from Anton Gunnarsson. Back in the day, I was just looking for handrails while driving through a city. Now I pretty much don’t even look for handrails, because there are way more creative and unique spots out there. The perfect spot for me is when you look at it and you have no idea where the spot is. It took some time to open your mind and search for creative spots. Winches are also a bonus for spots. Back in the day, you always needed an in run or a drop in ramp to ride spots. Now, a spot can be in a totally flat area. Spot-scouting gets more and more important. I’ve spent two weeks last autumn in Helsinki and Stockholm just for looking for spots. That’s how I prepared myself for the season.
What is your favorite location to shoot, and what is your favorite crew to bring along?
I like the small Swedish city “Umeå” a lot. There are just so many good spots and of course, always enough snow in the city to hit them. One more thing about Umeå is that I’ve barely ever gotten kicked out of spots from police or landlords. It’s more the other way around, and it just so happened that random people came along and helped digging, just because they thought what we were doing was cool. I love that city. My favorite crew to shoot with is for sure the Nitro Crew. We have a lot of good riders with awesome attitudes.
Filmers and photographers are always battling to stay out of each others shots, and make for a clean scene. Do you find it hard always working with filmers in this sense, or do you go on photo missions without filmers?
I’ve never had any problems with filmers. If they are really destroying a picture, because their only way to get the shot done is by using a fisheye, then I just talk to them and they film till they have their shot and I’ll do the photo after that. Talking and friendship is the key. On the other hand, there are some spots that just don’t look good on film, so I can choose the perfect angle for my photo, and the filmers are more in the background. It’s a give and take. A good crew includes riders, filmers and photographer who just get along perfectly. When it feels like a school field trip, then the mood is perfect.
I hear that you recently had twins! Obviously this is going to affect your photography somewhat in the winter, can we expect to see more snow photos from you, or are you going to transition into a different photo outlet?
Yes, I became the father of two twin boys last February. Having kids is so awesome and I just love to see those two characters grow up. The years before I became a father, I was traveling pretty much the whole season to get as many shots as I could get. Now, I’m back home planning more of my shoots. I try to minimize the days where you just go out and see what you can shoot and maximize the well planned out shoots. This season I’m more working on the Nitro cataloge – shooting outerwear and products and less action. But I’m pretty sure I will still stay inside snowboarding. I just love the sport and I love to be out there in the snow.
Being the Nitro team photographer, what differences do you notice when shooting with European vs. American riders?
I think the biggest difference is that american riders are a bit more picky when it come to spots they want to ride. If a spot is not 100% rideable, they are not stoked when you ask them to maybe even try it out. I guess us-riders are also a bit more film-focused than the european riders that are open for photo spots as well.
But I guess this difference is way smaller than I just pointed out. You have the same characteres in the USA as in Europe. But so far, I enjoyed shooting with both a lot.
Who has influenced you in your photography over the years?
Anton Gunnarsson for showing me how to look for spots. Peter Lundström for how to get creative with the camera. Photographers who are starting to shoot a bit more film these days.
What is your take on film, and do see yourself reverting back to shooting film in certain circumstances? Or is it just a gimmick?
I think it’s just a gimmick. I had a Hasselblad and I just loved to shoot with it. It’s 100% raw-photography. But I think the times have changed and there is something I just can’t stand anymore:
– An average picture is not better, because it’s shot on film.
– And a bad picture on film is not always art.
– In the times of Instagram and Hipstarmatic you just see how easy it is to make a bad picture look good with the vintage effect.
– If the picture is strong – there should not be a difference if it was shot analog or digital. The thing that made me stop shooting analog was the fact, that the slides looked so sick on the light table, but as soon as I scanned them in, they just lost all the great colors that I’ve seen on the light table. This fact was quite frustrating and I stopped shooting analog, because digi was just way more effective in snowboard photography.
Outside of snowboarding, what are some other types of photography that intrigue you?
I love to shoot landscape pictures and of course my two sons.
Are you gonna shoot snowboarding forever?
I’ve asked myself the same question a couple of times. I’m not shooting snowboarding to get rich, because that will never happen when you only shoot snowboarding. I just love the sport and the fact that I can do whatever I want. Snowboard photography just has so many facets to its imagery that it never gets boring. You have to shoot: Action, landscape, lifestyle, products, portraits, studio and so on. But I guess I will stop shooting action when I don’t feel connected to the crew I’m traveling with anymore. I guess that’s a good point to switch. But right now, I just can’t wait to go out shooting again. The best feeling is when you come home after a long cold night shooting and you know you got some good stuff and have a cold beer with your crew.