A young photographer’s freelancing future is in full focus after spending a season capturing Wrexham FC’s most successful year under the reign of Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
23-year-old photographer Cody Froggatt from Connah’s Quay, who graduated with an MA in photography from Nottingham Trent University in August last year, has spent the last eight months preserving his local club’s most memorable milestones as they were promoted back into the Football League for the first time in 15 years.
From Elliott Lee’s 78th minute celebration and Paul Mullin lifting the trophy as National League champions, to the club’s victorious open-top bus parade, Cody’s pitch-perfect shots – which also feature celebrity faces Will Ferrel and Paul Rudd at the Racecourse – have been featured more than 74 times in national media titles like The Times, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.
Cody had been speaking to a number of non-league clubs, when the opportunity came to photograph at Wrexham AFC as a freelance photographer for Alamy, a stock photography company, in 2022. Recalling the game that changed it all, Cody said: “I’m a huge football fanatic so when I get any chance to cover massive games it’s always a massive privilege and opportunity. Wrexham’s game against Notts County was a massive one for me, dubbed the title decider for last season league; I was very excited. It wasn’t until I got home and saw that Ryan Reynolds had shared my photos to his nearly 50 million followers on Instagram that I realised this could change my career.
“The next thing I knew, my account was blowing up on all social media platforms and I knew I had quite a lucky break into the industry. Almost overnight I was getting golden shots that not many other photographers were capturing, and they soon began popping up across the media as Wrexham’s success skyrocketed.”
Alongside capturing shots of Wrexham AFC, Cody has travelled across Wales and England capturing women’s football games and rugby tournaments. Cody also photographs aviation events, a childhood passion that led him into photography at a young age. He is now photographing Wrexham on behalf of photo agency News Images.
In February 2023, shortly after beginning to sell his photographs that had captured the nation’s interest, Cody reached out to Big Ideas Wales, a Welsh Government funded service that, as part of Business Wales, aims to support anyone between the age of 5 and 25 to develop a business idea, including students and graduates, as part of its commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee.
Cody was paired with Business Advisor, Martin Unwin, who supported him in ensuring he had all the documentation necessary to operate as a certified freelance business and continue working with Wrexham alongside major Football League clubs.
Cody said: “When I reached out to Big Ideas Wales, my dream of operating as a successful freelance photographer was already in motion, but I still needed support in making sure my business was certified. Martin has helped me secure solid business registration ahead of the upcoming season and went one step further by helping me to secure the Young Person’s Start-Up Grant, which helped me get my hands on next-level equipment that make my images stand out from the crowd. Having this wealth of support has eased my mind of all the stresses that come with operating a business. I’m very lucky.”
Martin Unwin, Business Advisor at Big Ideas Wales said: “Big Ideas Wales is here to support entrepreneurs at every level of their business, including those who have already achieved success but need to ensure it has longevity. It’s important they ask for support when it’s needed, even if their business is already a flying success, and that’s why Cody’s story is so important. He’s a great role model for businesspeople who want to ensure they’re operating as successfully as possible.”
Has this inspired you to kick start your business idea? Visit businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas to get started.