His work has seen him deliver projects for a range of big-name clients, including National Geographic, Garmin, Eurostar, Men’s Health and Zeiss.
It’s important to Lars that his images offer something to the viewer and that they can connect to something within the frame that inspires or moves them. Whether he’s capturing beautiful landscapes in rough weather conditions, chasing the light, or shooting a portrait or action/sports scene, Lars is driven to pushing himself creatively and do something different.
View over Funnigur, Faroe Islands | © Lars Schneider
Near Trollstigen, Norway | © Lars Schneider
“Of course, these days it is hard to shoot something different than what is out there already – unless if you create artificial scenes with striking or unusual lighting. Sometimes it feels like everything has already been shot, in the best light, with the most beautiful model and so on. But it’s important to keep trying to be different, as it shows you have not given up on creativity.”
Landscape photography and photography in general are often considered to be quite solitary pursuits, but more often than not, Lars is fortunate enough to have a small team supporting him. “I hardly ever work just by myself, maybe only two or three times a year, and it’s a nice contrast for me. On those trips, I go to locations in Scandinavia or maybe Scotland, in specific search of solitude and wild untouched landscapes and tumultuous weather,” he explains. The rest of the year, when on assignment and doing commercial or editorial work, Lars is surrounded by clients, models and assistants. But he enjoys that too, saying, “There is nothing better than collaborating with a great team and creating something awesome together.”
Lars owns a number of camera bodies, including DSLR and film SLR cameras, but for his fine art landscapes, he favors his medium format Hasselblad H4D-50.
Stokksnes Beach, Iceland | © Lars Schneider
“Shooting medium format with a Hasselblad is a very different way for me to create images and I enjoy the slower process that often comes with it. Using a DSLR, I often shoot thousands of images a day and instead of capturing “the moment” in one image, “the moment” can end up on dozens of photos – if a camera shoots more than ten frames a second, that is. But with my Hasselblad, I use a tripod. I sometimes use filters or a remote trigger and things take time. I frame my image carefully and then expose, often for more than a minute.”
This slower, more considered approach to photography that Lars experiences with his Hasselblad gives him a special feeling that he believes can translate into the final print, providing greater depth for viewers to enjoy. But another key reason for Lars’ preference for his Hasselblad medium format camera is the image quality. “Because of the inferior image quality, I almost never shoot wide/grand landscapes with my DSLRs anymore. You lose so many details and shades of light and color and the comparable sharpness around the edges is often frustrating; this is not the case when you go medium format,” says Lars.
Death Valley, California | © Lars Schneider
Being a photographer who began and worked with film for many years, Lars was traditionally not a huge fan of photo-editing. But he recognizes the parallels between processing a digital RAW file and processing a slide or print during the pre-digital era. For that reason, Lars prefers to use filters to try and achieve the majority of what he is aiming for in the camera instead of on a computer afterwards. Conceding that some work in post can help to improve his work, Lars says, “I wouldn’t necessarily start huge compositions with my images, but I am open to working a bit more on some elements, such as contrast, saturation and colour. That level feels ok if it helps to enhance my vision.”
Many of Lars’ most arresting landscape images are captured in punishing weather conditions, but that does not deter him from taking his medium format camera out. “I think a camera is there to perform as my tool, wherever I choose to go; the camera is there to help create the images I envision. I have had moments where the temperature dropped so low that my H4D-50 just gave up as definitely other cameras would have. I also had a near camera-death experience in Scotland when a larger-than-expected wave caught me off guard when it hit some nearby rocks. But I still believe a camera should never be a barrier to you getting your shot, no matter how expensive it is! But with that said, I do insure my equipment.”