We had the good fortune of connecting with Dani Parada and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dani, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born in Cali, Colombian but moved to the united states when I was 5 years old. Times were pretty tough for my family at first, although I never really realized that until I was older– my mom always did a pretty good job of making life seem grand and magical. There were days when my mom wouldn’t eat to make sure I could but she always made the best of our situations by joking and reminding me of how far we had already come. We basically started from zero in a country that neither of us knew anything about but like most immigrants willing to fight for their dreams, this isn’t how the story ends.
When I turned 7, my mom met my step-dad Beny who, over the years, took on the role of a real father. They worked pretty normal office jobs for a few years until they were able to open up their own business. We went from living in a one-bedroom efficiency to a home in the suburbs–all the magic that the American dream talks about followed. Because of their hard work, I was able to attend college and open up my own business, something that seemed unattainable at times. I don’t think any of it came easy but I saw how hard they both worked and through every trial and tribulation, they leaned on God for support while constantly feeling grateful for where they were. Growing up while watching all these dreams and goals become a reality really gave me an honest and optimistic view of how far you could go if you’re persistent–It taught me to work hard for what I want while always keeping a grateful heart. Most importantly, relying on the big man upstairs for guidance.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned from working in a creative industry is how important balance is. There is so much heart and energy that goes into a creative outlet like photography. The line between your work and your personal life is thin, so creating a balanced life can be difficult, at least it was for me. At first, it seemed that success and happiness went hand-in-hand with overworking myself or being constantly busy! It wasn’t until I realized that success doesn’t always equal happiness that I began to really enjoy my profession. I began scheduling in family time and “personal days” as I would with any other job and I truly feel like I’m finally in a happy medium. Since creating this shift, I feel more creative and I’ve noticed a profitable shift in my business as well because it feels like a hobby again and not a 9-5. To me, success is enjoying where I’m at in life and I know it’s controversial but my biggest goal in life isn’t to be a successful businesswoman. . . it’s to have a loving family and home. With that in mind, every business decision I make revolves around how I could better serve my (current and future) family.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have a soft spot for Miami! Although I love the mountains and quiet life, there’s a certain magic that comes with our city! My favorite place is the Cape Florida lighthouse. It’s one of the few places that feels serene in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city! And if you want good food, go local! I’m a sucker for bakery food and home-style restaurants so my top picks would definitely be Bamboo, Pinecrest bakery, Islas Canarias, Mondongos, El Tejadito, Pincho factory, and for dessert, always finish at Bocas Latin house!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m a huge believer in creating community. From the very beginning of my photography career, I have been surrounded by amazing individuals and creatives who have motivated and helped me to continue to improve my craft. My Fiance, David, deserves so much credit for how far my business has come. He’s spent countless nights listening to me go on and on about where I want to be professionally and has always had an open heart to help me get there.
I began working as a photographer a few months before we started dating but I saw a huge shift in how I handled my business as soon as he came into the picture. Pun very intended. I always say he’s the brains behind the whole operation because he basically manages all my financial changes and budgeting. Part of me dreads our quarterly sit down meetings when he starts talking about marginal growth and earnings reports. . . I really can’t tell you what any of it means, but it works! From my point of view, photography is a creative outlet I’m lucky enough to call my career. From his point of view, it’s a functioning business with multiple gears. I think this juxtaposition in perspective really makes Dani Parada Photography the growing business it is today because it allows me to focus on my craft while knowing the logistics aspect is functioning in parallel. I’m also part of a photography Instagram group made up of about a dozen amazing and talented photographers! Through them, I have not only learned specific photography techniques but have also learned how to maintain a balanced life. When all your heart and energy go into a creative medium, it’s easy to get discouraged or unmotivated. Through this group, I have created a community of people willing to also share their experiences and advice. It makes a world of a difference to know you’re not alone!
Linkedin: Dani Parada
Facebook: Dani Parada Photography
Other: Clubhouse: Daniparada Tiktok: Danixparada