We had the good fortune of connecting with Christine Andert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christine, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I have been doing photography for probably close to 15 years, and four as a “side hustle”. I had planned on resigning from my job with the State of Arizona and ADEQ as a Budget Analyst in September of 2019, but due to reorganizations, my husband was cut from his job at IBM. I kept my job for the health benefits while he did contact work and went back to school for his Masters in Global Management. January of 2020, my husband had a job with benefits, we had a date in March for me to resign. Then Covid hit. I chickened out. The old “what if”….
While I was working both jobs and in an office, I had commute time, meetings, lunch breaks etc. I wasn’t sitting at one desk in one spot for hours on end. Once Covid forced us to work at home, I was up at 5am/6am to start working and sitting in the same spot for hours on end. Logging off from my state job at 3pm, and most nights working on marketing and education for my business until 9pm, 10pm or even as late as 11pm. I would stand up and be crippled.
Finally, my husband said to me, you need to just do it! Again, “what if”. He is in the IT field, middle of Covid wasn’t friendly for that business let alone the photography business. I specialize in Families, HS Seniors, Business Branding/Headshots, and sports. I had done a pivot and was offering banners to made with pictures already shot for the graduating class of 2020. I was also doing “drive by” family shoots.
We re-fi’ed our home to lower our monthly payments, cut cable, and other expenses as much as we could, and I jumped in with both feet end of April 2020 beginning of May 2020.
October of 2020 I joined a networking group BNI, and have had no regrets! BNI has helped me fine tune my business, offerings, as well as helping others grow. (PS, fast forward to December of 2020 and Google came in bought my husband’s company and let EVERYONE go two week prior to Christmas. We made through March when he got another job, he had done substitute teaching in while interviewing, and “What if” went right out the window!)
Today my business is going strong, and I am also the staff photographer for a local magazine North Peoria Lifestyles as well as a contributing photographer for sports to the Peoria Independent.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe that keeping up to date on the latest processes and techniques is critical to any business. In 2020, through extensive studies, a written exam and technical submissions I obtained my designation as Certified Professional Photographer from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). I am required to keep up on training each year to maintain this designation.
I make it a point to make sure I have educational funding set aside each year. I attend Texas School of Photography once a year each spring. This is a once a year event, there is one instructor with about 20 to 30 students for a five days. Last year I studied under HS Senior photographer Gary Box and this next spring I will in a class with Allison Carlino. The training is depth, with hands on training.
With training from Dan Frievalt, I have started offering Montage Composite pictures. This is a technique popular with HS Seniors. I can take a portrait of the senior and use action shots to create one picture that shows well on a large canvas. This can be done for anything from a hobby to sports, band etc.
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?
We would start with a brunch in Cave Creek to get a feel for the gorgeous desert setting of Arizona. There are many great spots in the town of Cave Creek with an old Arizona feel. We would make our way through Scottsdale for some shopping and walk along the river walk, maybe an outdoor patio for some drinks. We would then head down to the Roosevelt Row area for dinner at one of the many little outdoor eateries they have, while admirng the art work along the walls. As a huge hockey fan, we would end at West Gate for a hockey game and then find some excitement in the West Gate area after the game!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Personally, without a doubt, my husband! He had the faith in me even when I didn’t! I know it sounds like a cliché but seriously I would not be where I am without his support. And reminding me we can make it through anything. The biggest fear I had leaving my cushy state job was something happening to his job and it did, but we made it through.
Professionally, Julie LaCroix for having faith and taking a chance on me for her magazine. I love working with her and Susan.
Being a member of AZPPA, has been critical to my development and business. The educational value is priceless. I have also obtained my designation as a Certified Professional Photographer. I have learned from and had a mentor Dan Frievalt. He has had a strong influence on my business.
Picture Lady Photography, LLC