It was Friday Night Football at Liberty High School nine years ago. Christine Andert's youngest son, Michael Eyde, was a freshman starting in football. Andert volunteered to work at the Lion's Den selling t-shirts to support the program. Before the game, Andert heard the coordinator lament that the photographer couldn't make it. As an avid hobby photographer at the time, taking family photos for friends and photographing vacations, she volunteered to run home, get her equipment, and photograph the game.
That night launched what would become a full-time photography career.
Picture Lady Moves to North Peoria
After relocating to Arizona from New York in 1999, Andert moved to North Peoria in 2006. Her two sons, Christopher and Michael Eyde, graduated from Liberty High School.
"I owe my business start to Liberty and my son!" says Andert, recounting that fateful night when the photographer was a no-show.
She continued photographing Liberty Football and soon added Girls' Volleyball. The following summer, the coach wanted Andert to photograph the seniors during a football game. He yelled at the team, "After we are done here, I want all you seniors in the end zone. Picture Lady here is gonna take your picture!"
The name stuck. Andert says the kids, the coaches, and parents started calling her Picture Lady. It seemed the perfect name for her photography business—Picture Lady Photography, LLC (Picture-Lady.com).
Taking the Leap
Before launching full-time, Andert studied hard to perfect her craft. She took college courses. She joined Arizona Professional Photographers and the Professional Photographers of America. Eventually, she received her Certified Professional Photographer designation, which she updates regularly. She spends a week each year in Dallas at an intense workshop studying with photography professionals.
During her training, Andert continued to work as a budget analyst with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. With her work schedule, her time for photography was limited. Parents began contacting her to do senior pictures and family photos. It was time to take the plunge!
In May 2020—amid COVID—she did just that and resigned from her job to launch Picture Lady Photography full-time. It turned out to be fortunate for students during the pandemic.
"During COVID, fans were limited at the high school sports," recounts Andert. "Donating my pictures allowed the parents or family members not in attendance to see something from the games. I post them for fans to have complimentary access."
Even though parents and fans are once again cheering on their students, Andert continues to donate her time to photographing the games. The photos are on her website for complimentary download—and she donates the football photos to the booster club to sell. "I do not make money from these," explains Andert. "I am completely a volunteer."
In addition to Liberty Football and Girls' Volleyball, Andert photographs other sports at Liberty. She has done end-of-year banquets for sports teams along with band and choir. Andert laughs that she's now at the school all year round.
Her biggest thrill is watching how the teachers and coaches give back to the community and their impact on the students. She recounts how the coaches go out of their way to inspire and lead their students.
An Established Business Woman
Andert joined North Peoria Lifestyle in the summer of 2021 and began photographing for the magazine with the October issue that year. She spends her days—and many nights—volunteering to photograph the athletes in between her increasing workload of clients who call on her for portraits.
She loves being a part of the North Peoria business community. She is a member of the Glendale Chamber, Business Networking International (BNI), and is a Better Business Bureau Accredited business.
I wish to give back a fraction of what the coaches and players have given me, my family, and our community.