Life in Focus: Getting Into Ski Photography with Mattias Fredriksson

Oversnowed house in Mt Baker, Washington, USA. Photographed in January 2012

All images by Mattias Fredriksson. Used with permission

Mattias Fredriksson is a photographer who grew up in Sweden and then moved to America to become a ski photographer. He started his career in print journalism which later evolved into wanting to tell stories through images. Mattias is now a senior photographer for Powder magazine–and has shot loads of their covers.

He told a bit about what it’s like to have worked in his shoes.

Be sure to also follow Mattias on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Phoblographer: You grew up with Sweden, which probably explains your love of skiing. But how did you first get into photography?

Life in Focus – E11 Mattias Fredriksson from f-stop || Gear on Vimeo.

Mattias: I was a journalism at a local paper, which was extra work when I was in college, and I knew about an outdoor photographer. I did a story about him and got interested in photography.

Phoblographer: How did you go about first building your career in the ski photograph industry and then into other genres?

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Mattias: I actually started to shoot mountain biking before skiing. That was something I had just outside my door step and I could do it all the time. I also shot a lot of mountain bike events which gave me access to good riders and lots of opportunities. It was a great start!

Phoblographer: You often like participating in the games that you shoot to get a better feel of what types of images you should take. Do you feel that’s important for every photographer to do?

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Mattias: Yes, very important. It is key to become good at this.

Phoblographer: Tell us about the gear that you use.

Mattias: I use Nikon cameras and lenses. F-Stop bags. Good stuff!

Phoblographer: What’s the most memorable photo that you’ve shot? Tell us about the experience.

Mattias: It was a photo of pro skier Henrik Windstedt sliding a S-rail in the terrain park at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah back in 2005. I almost left the camera in the car that day, but on the very last lift ride up before they closed the resort I snapped the photo of Henrik when he was sliding the rail right under the lift. I shot on film and did not know for sure, but felt it was a good one. It became my first cover shot of Powder Magazine – something I had been dreaming about since I started taking photographs!

Phoblographer: Ski photography isn’t really all about just shooting great images, a lot of it is about business. How much of your time in a given month would you say you dedicate to the business side, scouting locations, post-production, etc.?

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Mattias: The business side of things is definitely a big part of being a photographer these days. I am pretty on it with the communications; answering e-mails, keeping in touch with clients, athletes and locations. I am active with social media, but I have a full time assistant working with post production in the office. It is hard to say how big percentage of my time is business and out shooting, but lets say 40/60 (business/out in the field) in the winter time.

Phoblographer: How do you stay inspired and look for new ideas in order to keep your work fresh?

Mattias: I make sure to have a good work/life balance. That is very important to not burn yourself out. Especially since I am working with some of my biggest passions in life; skiing and mountain biking. It is extremely important to ski and ride without the camera so you can just enjoy once in a while. Other than that I love to read books and magazines, watch movies and travel. Through these channels I find a lot of inspiration.

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