In 2006, La Plata County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Wingerd received a simple gift.
It was a six megapixel camera from his mother. Little did he know that it would change his life.
He started taking photographs, and several of them sold in a gallery in Bisbee, Arizona. He became obsessed.
For the next ten years, he continued taking photos and videos and practiced editing them.
In 2014, Ignited Imagery was born. He worked at the business part-time for two years.
Finally, Andy took the plunge, retired from the Sheriff’s office, and became a full-time photographer and videographer. “I believed Mark Twain’s words that if you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life,” he says.
He is passionate about helping people document their dreams in progress. “I love working with people on dialogue, sound, look, and much more to showcase their unique dream. If they don’t look good, then neither do I.”
Today, Andy specializes in corporate and commercial photography and videography. His portfolio showcases his skills in the areas of real estate, events, product photography, headshots/team shots, commercial walk-through videos, and more. He is considered the photographer of choice for business professionals because of his expertise.
But, it wasn’t always that easy. Andy says, “I thought that once I got a website and phone number out there, business would just come… I sure was wrong! I learned how to ask for help, attend classes in finance, develop my website’s SEO, and network. I had to figure out what to advertise . . . and what not to. I had to develop a process for building checklists for each type of job and how to be flexible and brave.”
To grow his portfolio, Andy provided inexpensive or free jobs for clients. He also found his niche and learned to only advertise the types of jobs he wanted. “I started out doing everything, which translates into nothing. By narrowing it down, I have a few select lines of revenue and expertise.”
Through the process, Durango’s community resources have been an invaluable source of support. SBDC graciously gave him tickets to the Small Business Conference in exchange for providing videos and photos, which opened the door for him to meet many professionals and get hired. The SBDC Leading Edge business class gave him the opportunity to understand the importance of hiring people that are strong in the skills that he is not. By hiring these experts, he also gained them as long time clients.
His advice for other aspiring photographers?
“Learn and practice all you can before you begin your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others in your profession. I put other photographers on a pedestal and thought that they would not want to share or help me . . . I was completely wrong. Now I am friends with many of the photographers and videographers in town. We ask each other for advice and to borrow equipment. I even get referrals from many of the folks who, years ago, I would have thought of as my competition. I send people to them too, because I can’t do it all. I wish I had made friends with them years ago.”
To see more of Andy’s work, check out his portfolio at www.ignitedimagery.com.