Summit County photographer makes connections at trade show |

Summit County photographer makes connections at trade show

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Angel RodriguezPhotographer Terry Ratzlaff, left, poses with professional snowboarder Pat Milbery in front

LAS VEGAS ” Armed with a backpack full of self-promoting brochures displaying his work, local photographer Terry Ratzlaff canvassed the SnowSport Trade Show in Las Vegas recently with a focused and determined will.

“I want to get published as much as I can. …By coming to this show and meeting people in the industry face-to-face, I’m gaining ground,” Ratzlaff said. “Just making the connections I have, I feel like I already paid for my trip.”

A graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, Ratzlaff gravitated towards action photography, and snow sports in particular, when it came time to start his professional career.

“The energy and vibe around snowboarding right now is unbelievable,” Ratzlaff said. “I love to snowboard as well, but, for me, I’d rather get the perfect shot than ride.”

In just two short years, Ratzlaff’s creative approach to capturing riders in the backcountry and in urban settings and his willingness to experiment with angles has caught the attention of some pretty noteworthy businesses in the industry.

Companies like Capix Helmets, Arbor Snowboards and Never Summer snowboards all have used Ratzlaff’s photos, and locally-based start-up companies MeGlad and Neovolt are turning to him for creative direction.

Ratzlaff is also the new photo editor at AllUs magazine, a bi-monthly snowboard magazine dedicated to showcasing Colorado-based athletes.

“I really want to be strong in the Colorado scene,” Ratzlaff said. “Up until two years ago, I didn’t know anything about the industry. …There is such a level of professionalism that most people don’t take into account.”

A big part of Ratzlaff’s success is his openness to take direction from the athletes he shoots, and although he started his career snapping photos of his snowboarding friends, he now works with professionals who travel the world doing what they love.

Last year, Ratzlaff met Arbor team rider Pat Milbery, and the two have since been traveling throughout the country in search of the perfect shot, one worthy of making the magazine covers.

“Terry is such a mellow and understanding person to work with,” Milbery said. “There is a great energy between us, and together, we come up with different ideas for shots that aren’t as traditional. He’s my main man right now, and we’re just getting started.”

Already this season, Ratzlaff and Milbery have been hard at work producing quality shots that satisfy Milbery’s major sponsors, and one photo in particular has drawn interest from Snowboarder Magazine’s photo editor.

Ratzlaff made it a point to visit the magazine’s booth during his time in Vegas, a move that could mean the difference between getting published and being just another struggling photographer in the crowd.

“Sometime it doesn’t matter who the riders is, or where it was taken. It’s all about the shot,” said Ryan “Huggy” Hughes, photo editor at Snowboarder. “We definitely run photos from unheard-of photographers, and coming in for a face-to-face helps a lot.”

At just 24 years old, Ratzlaff feels he is just beginning to come into his own as a photographer, and his professional approach to doing business is earning him street credentials in an industry that has become notorious for catering to short attention spans.

“This business is all about staying current and being on top of the latest trends, tricks or styles,” Ratzlaff said. “I’m young, but at the same time I know what I am doing. I feel like if I am credible and stand by my word, then I will be respected.”

Ashley Dickson can be reached

at (970) 668-4629, or at

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