On assignment with Lorenz Holder


In Austria, the Red Bull Photography team had a sweltering summer, with so many sunny days they couldn’t resist the temptation to go out and create some memorable images. Salzburg was at its best, ideal to test out some Elinchrom ELB 1200 units.

Multiple Red Bull Illume winning photographer Lorenz Holder, and trail biking legend Thomas Öhler teamed up for a long day of shooting.

In the end, they produced a full set of action shots in 4 different locations, some close-up portraits and a couple of lifestyle shots. Half of the set was shot with natural light and the other half using Elinchrom units.

Here’s what Lorenz had to say about the shoot:

Which are the main aspects you consider when you are booked to create a series of images to update an athlete’s portfolio?

First of all, I try to understand the sport the athlete does, especially if I have never shot that sport before. I think the better you can feel what the sport is like, the easier it is to find the right locations for the shoot.

“Finding the right spots is probably the most important.”

You place a lot of importance on locations in your work, how do you go about finding the right spots?

I think finding the right spots is probably the most important thing. If possible, I try to have an extra day only for spot-scouting. Even if a location looks great when you find it via the internet, it might have changed or not even be there anymore. I also try to find different kinds of locations, like clean, graphical ones on the one hand, and more rough and run-down places on the other hand. If you are having trouble finding any right spots, try looking in areas close to train-rails, harbors or more into the industrial areas; most of the time you will see some good stuff there.

In this shoot with Tom Öhler you used the ELB 1200 on some of the images, and for others, you went for a natural light approach. Can you shortly describe your thought process when deciding on using strobes vs natural light to create an image?

I guess there is no rule for that, every spot is different and so is the light setup. But you can say when the background of the image is clean, and the athlete stands out clearly, then you don’t need flash, and white clothes could work best here. When the background is a bit distracting, a flash can surely help to make the athlete “pop out” in the image.

But as I said, there are a lot of different ways to make an athlete pop in an image.

“When you know how good the image could have been, if you would have brought your flashes…”

Was this your first experience with the Elinchrom ELB 1200? What were your first impressions?

My first impression when I lifted it: wow this is insanely light even with the battery, I was blown away by how light the flash-unit was and how long the battery lasted.

How essential are these tools in your image making process?

The funny thing is that most of the time I bring a flash to a spot, I don’t need it at the end. But I like it this way; I hate nothing more than being on the spot without the right equipment. When you know how good the image could have been, if you would have brought your flashes, but your where too lazy to carry them – that’s the moment I hate the most. So I’d rather take some flashes around for nothing than missing them at a particular moment.

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