How Amber Torrealba is making a splash, in and out of the water

Woman with sunglasses on gazing at turquoise background.

Image source: Amber Torrealba.

For Amber Torrealba, riding the waves is a metaphor for life. From high school and college athlete, electronics store manager, and entrepreneur to world-champion skim boarder, brand ambassador, and filmmaker — she knows what it’s like to leave the nine-to-five life behind to pursue her passions.

“The traditional career path is not for everyone, [and] many people feel like they can’t escape,” says Torrealba. “I’m proof that they can.”

After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Torrealba continued her job as a Radio Shack store manager to make a living. With a minor degree in digital media, she spent her time after hours helping brands develop their social media strategies, eventually starting her own marketing agency.

Somehow, she still found time to nurture her own creativity through photography and, eventually, videography. Already in pursuit of a professional skimboarding career, Torrealba took her GoPro with her on the water and posted her videos online. This caught the attention of sponsors, and inspired Torrealba to make a drastic life change: She packed up her car, left Florida, and drove across the country to pursue her dreams in California.

“I decided to go all in on my skim board career, combining that with filmmaking to not only positively influence action sports for women,” she says, “but also to show people that sometimes the hard decisions you make in life are also the right decisions.”

Person in dark room looking at computer screen of skim boarding photograph.

Image source: Amber Torrealba

Finding success in new places

It didn’t take long for Torrealba’s decision to pay off. After arriving in southern California in 2015, she was crowned the Vic Women’s World Champion of skimboarding in 2016 — a feat she repeated in 2018 and 2019. And when she wasn’t on the board, she was busy honing her filmmaking skills.

Today, Torrealba is a sought-after producer, director, and editor, working with some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 brands to create engaging social media videos. She also acts as an influencer for brands such as Blenders Eyewear, Freestyle Watches, Built Bar, and Body Glove as she continues to compete on the professional skimboarding circuit — all while continuing to work on her own content, which is shared widely across social platforms.

The medium — and the tools — have come a long way since her introduction to Adobe back in college. She first gained proficiency in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop before trying her hand at Adobe Premiere Pro. While she continues to rely on Premiere Pro for longer-term projects, her daily go-to is Adobe Premiere Rush.

“Adobe Premiere Rush is helpful for on-the-fly projects, when I need to make quick edits and get content out for same-day sharing,” says Torrealba. “But I also use Premiere Rush to make initial edits, and then sit down at my computer to finish them off in Premiere Pro for brand campaigns or longer storytelling pieces.”

As an early adopter with an audience spread across so many different platforms, having the right resolutions and aspect ratios already set up in Premiere Rush, that easily translate over to Premiere Pro, is a big timesaver for Torrealba — as is the Adobe Sensei-powered Auto Reframe feature now in both applications.

“There’s usually many videographers on the beach filming with us, and it can be tough to capture the action in the center of the frame,” says Torrealba. “So, if they capture something worth posting right away, I don’t have to go back to my computer to make edits. It’s changed my entire workflow.”

Torrealba loves transitions and is always looking for new, fun ways to edit her videos. She often chooses matching clips and puts them together very precisely in Premiere Rush or Premiere Pro to create interesting transitions between scenes. Cutting together different camera angles is another way she makes her videos more active and energetic.

Image source: Amber Torrealba

Image source: Amber Torrealba

Color is also key to Torrealba’s creative style. She uses Lumetri tools to not only correct footage, but to customize the look and feel of her videos. Her signature color palette of teal and blue tones can be seen in her signature brand sunglasses and watches, as well as in her videos, thumbnails, and Instagram posts. To achieve the look she wants, she transformed a Photoshop Lightroom preset into an Instagram filter and then correlated the color palette in the Lumetri Color panel for her YouTube videos to create consistency across her brand.

If you can see it, you can be it

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the influence of Torrealba’s family on her work. She often turns to them for sanity checks on her content. The feedback she gets from them, as well as others, influences which video cuts get posted to which platform.

“One of my favorite things to do is show my grandma my work. If she’s confused, I go back to the drawing board. If she gets it, I’m set,” says Torrealba. “And my father came from another country, so I’m always learning from his perspective, thinking about how quickly and clearly I’m speaking when teaching how I edit.”

She also tries to put herself in the shoes of young girls who aspire to the sport. “I didn’t have many female skim boarders in my area growing up,” she says. “I want up-and-coming female athletes and creators to see my work and know that they can go after what they love also.”

In the meantime, Torrealba continues to focus on what she loves doing most — creating inspiring content for her audience — and sharing her knowledge with others.

Check out Amber Torrealba’s 2020 Adobe MAX session on Quick Tips for Creating the Most Engaging Social Media Videos.

Watch the Tips & Tricks Tuesday interview with Amber Torrealba and get access to host Valentina Vee’s tutorial guide.