We had the good fortune of connecting with Yanelis Torres and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yanelis, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Let’s start at the very beginning. Both my parents were born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, where they met, married, and had me in their early to mid-twenties. I spent the first nine and a half years of my life not knowing much of what goes on outside the island, so you can imagine my surprise when we moved to Miami in 1995. To say the least, the transition and language barrier was extremely challenging but the potential for a better life made it all worth it. Unfortunately, my parents split shortly after and it was up to my mom, grandma, half-sister, and me to move on with our lives. My mom has been my biggest inspiration growing up. Ever since she was very young, she has worked tirelessly to provide for my little family. She’s strong, witty, a go-getter, and a true definition of a mother. Her example has taught me so much about what it takes to be a strong and independent woman. She has always pushed forward and sacrificed so much of herself so my sister and I can experience the best youth, adolescence, and early adulthood possible. As a dancer from middle school through college, I’ve always been drawn to the arts and creativity but never imagined I could find success in pursuing as a career. Therefore, I followed the path of least resistance and landed a corporate job while attending college. Years and years passed, never truly satisfied with my positions. In the mists of time, photography sparked an interest I wanted to explore but wasn’t ready to fully commit. More years went by and finally, with the love and support from my husband, I decided to leave an accounting position to pursue photography. Little did I know that it would become my dream business. I am delighted to say that 2020 marks five years in business. I couldn’t be more thankful to God for equipping me with talent and a giving heart, my clients for believing in my work, and my husband for the encouragement and constant support.
What should our readers know about your business?
Starting and sustaining my business has not been smooth sailing. Initially, it was tough to get any sort of guidance on where to begin from others already established in the industry. I had to lean on books and the internet to teach myself about photography plus the ins & outs of starting a business. It took me a couple of years to find confidence in my abilities, overcome impostor syndrome, and get rid of the shame. Finding a work-life balance has become my biggest hurdler. It’s easy to believe that you can wear all hats when running a business but for me, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve felt drained, uninspired, inundated with the endless daily tasks a business demands. I’ve since realized that if I want to nurture my personal and professional life, I need to allow myself to outsource areas that take up most of my time. I am now implementing systems that will streamline my business and help me get my life back. With that being said, I wouldn’t change a single struggle, challenge, or obstacle I have faced. They’ve all taught me much of what I know today and played major roles in my growth as an entrepreneur. Given the nature of my business, there are a lot of moments in my career that I am proud of. As an example, I recently photographed a small business owner who was looking for quick headshots. We set up a date and met at my home studio. We began the session and as I started taking her photos, we were able to ignite this fire in her. She exuded confidence, strength, and this electric energy that was easy to feed off from. She left the session feeling empowered, ready to conquer anything in her way. It was one of the most exciting and proudest sessions to date. Witnessing how taking someone’s photograph can help clients rediscover a deeper part of themselves has opened up a new world of photography I hadn’t experienced before. Yanelis Torres Photography “YTP” specializes in photographing women and children. I love to capture the first milestones of a growing baby and the beauty in women as they experience life through pregnancy, motherhood, and/or in their professional career. No matter the reason, my job is to create beautiful images that my clients will love and be proud of. I work alongside professional hair & makeup artists to help our clients look and feel they’re very best. Think of a celebrity photoshoot and that’s what we aim for. I also guide my clients with what to bring and what to wear so they look absolutely gorgeous. We start by going over all the details and prepare them for the most amazing shoot. After the session, I then invite my clients to our photo reveal where they’ll get to see the final images for the very first time. This is typically the most rewarding step and my proudest moment because I get to witness my clients’ reactions when they see themselves in a way they haven’t before. I get happy tears, sighs, hugs, and such profound emotion that can only be explained by having them experience it. I believe my love for photography and providing my clients with a full-service experience distinguishes my business from the masses. A new extension of Yanelis Torres Photography is what I like to call YTP’s Creative Day. This is a monthly shoot where multiple photographers, model, and collaborating vendors come together and allow our creative juices to run wild. The purpose of this gathering is not only to elevate our skill set but also to lift each other up as a community.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Where do I even begin?! Miami has so many places for dining and entertainment but ever since we moved to Broward County, my husband and I are always looking for hidden gems. Currently, our favorite restaurant is Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. The service is superb and the food never disappoints. But when we crave some authentic Italian cooking, we go directly to Mundi’s Italian Restaurant in Dania Beach. It’s a 3 generation family-owned & operated restaurant that make you feel right at home. The Sparrow in Ft. Lauderdale is a rooftop hideaway we sometimes visit for Happy Hour to enjoy the view, drinks & light appetizers. A spot we visit from time to time for live Jazz music is Le Chat Noir in Downtown Miami. It’s definitely worth the drive for us. Besides these top favorites, we find ourselves doing most of the entertaining at home whether it’s playing games, jumping in the pool, taking a boat ride through the intercoastal, or making dinner/drinks for family & friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I’m asked who has been my biggest supporter, without hesitation the person that instantly comes to mind is my husband. He is the reason I decided to drop my position at the time and pursue photography as a career. He’s encouraging and believes in me when I find difficulty believing in myself. We always bounce ideas off each other and make most decisions as a team. I could have not asked for a better partner to do life with. As a self-taught creative, I dove deep into the internet for my education. Although I considered going to Arts school, I did not want to get myself back into debt, especially since I had just cleared my school loans a year or two prior. Through my search, I stumbled upon Photography Concentrate. It was the resource I had been looking for. It taught me the fundamentals like how to use my camera, lighting, and composition. Thanks Rob & Lauren! Since then I have participated in online and in-person workshops, as well as taken courses from industry leaders such as Sue Bryce, KT Merry, Vanessa Joy, Amy & Jordan Demos, Erika Delgado, and more.
M Suarez Photography – My photo Yanelis Torres Photography