Photographer Anna Lena Holz: “Don’t copy other people and find your own way.”
“..do what you love and do it with full heart and passion. Don’t copy other people and find your own way.”
Anna, can you tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to photography? Hey guys, just reached a quarter Century now, living in Cologne, Germany. My three dogs and me living in my home studio. I bought my first camera after my first trip to New York in 2011. With tears in my eyes I recognized that every photo was in an awful quality.
What is it that interests you most about photography? And what’s the best part of being a photographer? The best part of being a photographer is to get to know so many interesting people all over the world. This is for me the best part in my life. Working with creatives and having a good time together. I even love the fact that you can learn so much about yourself.
How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of look do you try and create in your photos? My vision in photography is to show all those beauties in my way of perfection. There are those details that make people beautiful and special in the same way. I think the unique part of my photography is my way of treating my models. I am feeling like big mamma all the time, trying to give them the perfect feeling during the shoot, so that they can focus on their expressions, without doubts.
In your experience, what are the most difficult aspects of professional photography? The most difficult aspect is to be 24/7 on focus, because you have to correct your faults all on your own. Even to find a team, which you can discuss, brainstorm and work with.
In your own eyes, what was the moment that your career took off? A special moment was my first job for an creative agency in Hamburg. They pushed me since my first days of photography and I am very thankful that they believe in me and gave me many great chances.
What are the ingredients for success with photography? The same like in every business, do what you love and do it with full heart and passion. Don’t copy other people and find your own way.
Can you name a project or single work that has resonated with you the most emotionally? Why? It isn’t really a project, but working on a special wedding last year. Totally catches my heart, because the whole day was full of emotion and love. And I never captured so many feelings on the same day. Being totally involved in a strangers wedding shows me how good life can be.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh? I take my inspiration mostly from my travel experiences. Doing new sports and meeting new people is my favourite inspiration. Looking around for new locations is my favourite hobby. I love nature, sun and fresh air. Daniella Midenge is the best Photographer to me but I try to focus on my own work.
Fashion photography comes with a lot of stress, how do you handle it? I love doing my work out, 3 times a Week. Just my music on and then I go running. My second love is cuddling with my dogs. I just love spending my time with them and I can forget all the stress during the day.
What’s going through your mind when you are on set behind the camera? When I’m behind my cam everybody will tell you, I’m talking all the time. That’ s the moment when all ideas come together and I want to do everything on point. But during the shoot I will calm down and focus on what we have to do.
From your point of view what makes the shoot successful? For me the most important point is the team spirit. I love working with people who know me and everybody knows how to deal with the others. You can discuss everything because everybody wants the same, having a good editorial at the end.
Anna, how would you define “beauty”? What does it mean to you? A beauty for me is a person, who is able to let you take part of her soul and her feelings. Beauty to me means to be happy with yourself. I have so many beautiful girls in my gallery and you can see that they are totally different, but they have all strong confidence which is so important. You can only be beautiful to others, if you have got things straightened out with yourself.
What tips can you recommend to models looking to expand their portfolio? I recommend to every model that model portfolios are different than a photographers portfolio, so the problem will be when you doing test shoots the outcome is too artistic. And when I’m booking models I always have a look on classic portfolios, to see how the girls and boys really look like. If they need to expand their portfolio they should take some money and do classic sedcard shootings.
What is your retouching philosophy? And what do you think it delivers in the final image? Do you have any practical advice to give to photographers who are trying to master retouching for their own photography? Less is more. Focus on what you want the image shall look. During the edit, zoom the picture in and out and control how it looks as a whole. Retouching begins during make up and photography. Only editing on your computer is too late.
You use natural light in a lot of your images. Why is that, what is the appeal of natural light for you? Natural light for it is so similar to studio lightning. You have to show the model in the correct light. For that you have use sun, clouds and walls like in your studio. But I do like the fact to be outside, to have wonderful nature around as. There is no limit in using natural light.
How do you choose which images you ultimately provide to your clients? This is maybe the part which is totally different to other photographers. I often make a preliminary selection and then I discuss the rest with the clients and team, because I’m so much into my part of work that it is important for me to have the best image as whole, not only the best light.
What role does social media play in your photography business? It takes part in my life every day, but I’m not of the social media generation. I’m only available at Instagram and Facebook. Because it is a quite the best advertising in nowadays but I do hate the fact that it takes so much time of my day and I decided that I love my real job, doing photos, so much that I want to spend my time in retouching and shoots.
How has photography experience changed you as a person/your personal life? Life as a photographer makes me more empathic and emotional. Getting to know so many people with their destinies and stories left their mark on me.
What are your future ambitions? My ambition for the future is to be able to do the kind of photography I love. Beauty, Portrait and Fashion is my inner passion. My plan is do connect traveling and shooting. Doing editorials all around the world would be everything to me.
What superpower do you wish you had? Why? I wish I could see what others think. It is the most interesting part for me, to know what people really think and feel.
Please share something people don’t know about you. Many people describe me as a confident woman, but in fact I’m very nervous before meeting clients or having a shoot, because I’m doubting all the time, if I’m able to stick to their expectations.