BY Cady Kuzmich
CLIFTON PARK — Wedding photography, bond trading and psychology may seem like three words that don’t belong in the same sentence, though they’re all probably listed in Louis Torres’s resume. The Clifton Park man is proof that there’s more connection between the three than initially meets the eye.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Louis Torres discovered his passion for photography at age 15 while skateboarding in the city. He explored academia, psychology and the high stress world of finance before he decided to take the leap and turn his passion for photography into a business.
Shortly after Torres graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in psychology, he ran into a friend who had been working as a stockbroker. “I asked him how it was and he was like, ‘You’re going to love it.’” recalled Torres. Two weeks later, he was interviewing at his friend’s firm.
After 10 years of bond trading for Deutsche Bank in New York City, Torres said he “met an amazing woman and relocated to the Capital Region from New York City for love.” He decided to try something new — wedding photography.
Since he started his photography business in 2005, Torres has photographed 350 weddings. He is also the official photographer for Clifton Park Neighbors Magazine — a publication catered to local business owners.
Torres loves being behind his Canon 1DS — his dedication and enthusiasm for the craft radiates in his voice.
Though Torres said his experience as a bond trader and as a wedding photographer have been vastly different, he said the two are “a little more connected than you would think.” He explained, “As a bond trader, I would trade $200 million a day, [sometimes] $350 million in bond trades every day. [With weddings], the stress level is so incredibly high, as you can imagine, that lots of photographers avoid weddings because it’s so stressful. Working in finance geared me to work with stress.”
Through his work at Deutsche Bank, Torres was able to build up enough savings to help him transition to his new career. “Finance helped me… finance, if you will, my dream of being a professional photographer and focusing on that,” said Torres. “I moved upstate and decided I’d do this full time and give it a shot.”
He started with portraits of families and neighbors. Then, he eventually moved to weddings. Though Torres shoots family portraits and engagement photos as well as weddings, he said weddings are by far his favorite event to shoot. “Without question,” he said.
Torres is dedicated to doing whatever he can to ensure the bride and groom have the wedding day they always hoped for. “I’m not one of those photographers who says, “Oh, I’ll show up at this time.” I love going through the process with them. [I ask] who their wedding DJ is, what they expect from the wedding. ..You can’t be hands off. It’s not a hands off type of business.”
He added, “Couples want to know that you’re more than just their photographer. You’re their friend. You’re their confidante. You reassure them the day will run perfectly smooth.
Torres said that sometimes, as soon as you walk into a wedding the stress is palpable. “I have to handle that tension by making people laugh and helping them feel at ease by saying ‘everything is going to be completely fine, everything is going to be beautiful.’ That calms people down. Strategically, I’m using what I learned in psychology,” he said.
Torres is always trying to make people laugh, and he’s good at it. Though it comes naturally, his charm is also intentional. “I’m doing it all on purpose because I don’t want anyone to be upset, angry, or terribly stressed,” he said. He attributes his ability to put people at ease to “being raised in Brooklyn where there are millions of people and you have to deal with so many different personalities,” he said.
Torres’ interest in photography bloomed out of teenage frustration and a love of skateboarding. He first started skating at age 12. He and some of his friends skated so much and so well, they caught the attention of sponsors. Some of Torres’ friends even went pro. “That was the previous life,” he said.
At a skating competition, Torres noticed a girl taking photos of all his friends skating. When he started skating, however, she put her camera down. “I didn’t like that she was taking photos of everyone but me,” he said. Though, later on he learned the girl liked him and was actually just too shy to take his photo.
Upset that he didn’t have any photos of himself in action,Torres bought his own camera and asked his friends to shoot him skating. “They were terrible photographers” according to Torres, so he gave up and got behind the camera himself.
Now 42 years old, Torres is still turning heads on his skateboard,, though he now skates in Clifton Park. While he said he’s now the oldest guy in the skate park, his experience as a sponsored skater means he’s still one of the best. “Kids ask me if I’m pro and I say no.. I definitely have fun. I’m like a little kid. But a little older now,” he said.
Though decades separate the Torres that was taking photos with teenage skateboarders in the streets of New York City and the Torres that documents one of the most romantic, highly anticipated days in a couple’s life together… his passion for the craft remains aflame.