Do YOU Value Portraiture? {Asheville Portrait Photography}

“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. “

Derek Walcott

Let me ask you something…Do you exist in pictures for and with your family? Your friends? When was the last time you had a real image taken? Not one someone snapped with their cell phone, but a REAL image. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite images are taken with a cell phone. In fact, on the Meet the Photographer page on my website, there is a picture of my husband and I that was taken at the Mountain State Fair by a friend in the car behind us.

On a side note, the story behind it is funny. I am deathly afraid of heights! Seriously! I even have vertigo going up two steps on a ladder. This summer was a huge accomplishment for me as I managed to not only climb UP 8 feet into scaffolding, but STAY UP there to paint for a mural. At any rate, in the image it seems as though I am resting my head comfortably on my husband’s shoulder “Awww lovey dovey moment”! WRONG! I was holding on to the side bar of the car for dear life and keeping my head turned as far away from the view over the side of the car! So, every time I see it I giggle.

Now, when I look back through our pictures, that cell phone image will always make me smile. It will for the rest of my life. I know that. It was a funny moment, and that is wonderful! Photography EXISTS so that we can capture moments in time. The other side to that coin is that I also don’t have any pictures, I mean REAL pictures of myself. i have been photographing clients and friends for 18 years and I think there might be THREE images of me, in that time taken by chance, by pros.

“WHAT?!?! Cat!!!” I know, I know. I market my business around existing in these pictures, if not for yourself, then, at the very least for your loved ones. And here I am, not existing myself. After I’m gone, or after my youth is gone, I have almost nothing from the last twenty years. Well, I have plenty of facebook profile pics from my very own cell phone, but no real portrait. No imagery. Nothing that exists of me from this time in my life. I challenge each of my clients to DO this. That they should value not only the final product of imagery but also the experience. The stylists, the laughter, the pampering and yet…I have done none of this! Why? Honestly, for the same reasons you haven’t. Because I am not as thin as I once was, or because I can’t afford it at the moment, or because, simply I haven’t valued myself enough. Typing that last sentence kind of hurts a bit. It is true. I know it is stupid. I am important. I am valuable. I deserve to be documented. I deserve to be treated well. I know all of these things to be true…on paper. I also know that I have my own fears and issues and in order to take a step TO value myself and TO love myself that I too need to take a leap of faith. I have not stepped in your shoes. Well, (gulp) I’m diving in. Keep an eye out on the blog as I’ll be posting the results from my experience here. And if you’re a photographer reading this…shoot me an email. I’m in need of a portrait photographer. 😉 Preferably one in the beauty genre.


Adding a little love for my beauty clients {Asheville Beauty Photographer}

This past week has been pretty inspirational for me. The fall always brings it on, I think that is why it is my favorite season. Personally, with the Zu, it has kept me wrapped up for most of the Summer which, I cannot be more thankful for! It is almost surreal however, having been in a constant state of GO GO GO! I was finding less and less time to enjoy and pursue my joy, my photography. So, when I started amping up and planning for the Femme Frames event in November I was swimming in this sea of questioning about “What can I bring to the table beyond my photography skills and art?” That may sound silly, “Isn’t that WHY people pay you Cat? For just that?” That’s it though, it IS ‘Just that’!” How can I show my clients that their own light is special? That they aren’t just a number in my cash flow projections?

There is an international photographer that teaches pretty regularly on creativeLive, Sue Bryce. I’ve been following and taking her courses for some time now. A bit of a virtual mentor if you will. Her photography is beautiful and the way she shares is incredibly honest and transparent and inspirational…

At any rate, I was day dreaming about shooting women in these amazing dresses and gowns and…even from thrift stores were waaaay outside of my price range. I wanted my clients to feel like Hollywood. To feel like they could be on the cover of magazines…but I couldn’t quite put it together. I haven’t filled all of my appointments for this event so, my budget for provisionals FOR my sets and clients is less than I was hoping for, to really bring something great to the proverbial table, to go above and beyond. How can I accomplish this? How can I do what I do, to help you feel safe and vulnerable at the same time, to give you beautiful imagery in showing you your very own beauty? How can I do this any better than another photographer might?

Then I happened upon Sue’s blog post about her session dresses, and how she cannot afford to shoot her girls in the dresses that she wants too, so she makes her own. BLAMO! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh, because I sew like a 2nd grader might attempt drawing architecture…but, I have a sewing machine and Sue delivered a seemingly simple tutorial on how to make her dresses so, I’m giving it a shot!

I think I’m on the right path. As I walked in to Joann Fabrics on Monday I had a simple budget for one dress’s worth of material…Thank you bank holiday! Everything was 50% off! So, I started perusing the tulle section scavenging through available colors with enough material (20 yards btw) and came to the decision that if I was going to go for it, I mean really GO FOR IT! I would make two dresses. Go big or go home ya know? Then, my crafty girl side started looking at flowers for hair pieces, patterns to make the dresses adjustable in size (6-10 and 10-14), hot glue, ribbon…and I still walked out of that fabric store with material for both dresses, a little bling and supplies to make hair pieces for less than I was planning to make one simple dress. I was pretty proud of myself, I must say. Then I got to thinking, was that the Universe letting me know something?

I’ve been using all of my free time this week hand sewing these dresses. “But Cat, you have a sewing machine. Why are you hand sewing?” Well, I’ll probably use the sewing machine for the finishing touches but, as I was totally engulfed in 50 yards of tulle I realized that if these dresses are going to be these special gifts FOR my client’s sessions, then I really need to put raw energy and love into them. I needed to use my hands to sew them. I know, it is silly and inefficient at best and maybe I’m just being hopeful, but it is more than just having a rack of beautiful finds for my clients to wear at their session (though, I’m building that rack too), it is having something with my own energy and passion that is not something they’d find in any store, it was made just FOR them. Is that silly? Maybe…but it is honest, it is true and I hope that it inspires at least one of my clients to be Cinderella, even if only for 20 minutes.

Are you considering a Femme Frames session? Appointments are available November 9 & 10. A little bubbly, professional hair and makeup and some Cinderelly go a long way. Contact or call 828-275-9932 with inquiries, I’d love to shoot for you!

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One of the skirts for my handmade dresses

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Holiday Legacy Portrait Event {Asheville Beauty Photography}

boudoir - glamour - beauty photography asheville
Booking ::

Cat Ford-Coates of Studio 828 Photography is a portrait photographer that specializes in boudoir and beauty photography in Asheville NC.  She plans these photography events bi-annually and helps each client to relax and feel her absolute best in a fun and relaxing environment.

“What IS it?”

Boudoir and Beauty photography is an absolute joy for me to shoot! All of us run through our lives so busy and in a constant state of a To-Do list we sometimes forget that it is important to save a little bit of ourselves FOR ourselves. With that in mind, that is really WHY these types of portraits are so special. Whether you choose the beauty path or the boudoir, we work together to ensure that these images are there for you now, in ten years and again in thirty. What woman doesn’t want to look back on photos of herself and really KNOW that she is gorgeous? That is what I do for my clients. We are taking just a little time in an afternoon to add to your legacy.

Whether you are twenty-two or seventy-two, I know that you are more than the sum of your parts. You are not your weight scale reading. You are not your grey hair. You are not your stretch marks. You are creative and loved, and meaningful.  Let me show you. Let’s capture You, as you are, right now.

“What is the difference between Beauty and Boudoir photography?”

Think of it this way, beauty style portraits are portraits you’re comfortable sharing with friends and family and hanging on your living room wall. It can be you, you and your best friend, you and your Mom or sister(s). These sessions are great for Girl’s Days, mothers and daughters, holidays and birthdays.

Boudoir is a little more intimate. Literally defined boudoir are images taken in a woman’s private room/or bedroom and include intimate apparel (lingerie, robes, etc.). Many women find that the boudoir style sessions are not only engaging and empowering but also are amazing gifts for their significant others around the holidays, anniversaries or just as a great surprise!

There are only a few appointments left for this holiday legacy portrait event and they will be booked on a first come, first serve basis.. Professional hair and makeup, a little bubbly and a great time! Make it a Girl’s Day with your Mother, daughter, sister or BFF! Let’s have some fun ladies!



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A New Path for Studio 828 Photography {Asheville Beauty Photography}

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind. For those of you that know me personally, alongside Studio 828 Photography I have also opened a Sake Brewery here in Asheville (Blue Kudzu Sake Company). In doing this, it has been quite the juggle to cater to these new business needs with the tasting room and responsibilities I have here with 828 and my photography clients. With that being said, I have definitely had to reorganize my workflow schedule and personal life to find a balance.

This, in no way is meant to say that I will be leaving Studio 828 behind. In fact, this change has forced me to look a little closer to what my offerings are and should be as well as where my heart with photography truly lies. The last thing I ever want to do is short my photography clients or my guests and patrons at the Zu.

The Streamline: To ensure that I am able to give 110% to each and every client, I am focusing my offerings. While I love, love, LOVE wedding photography, it simply is not feasible for me to book 30 weddings each season and still maintain my service levels (or sanity) so I will only be accepting 10 wedding clients per year. Also, I am refocusing my offerings to include primarily feminine portraiture. The Femme Frames IS my heart. Maternity and Beauty sessions are where I find the most joy in my work and this as a model as how I plan to operate Studio 828 from this point forward.

It is a little unnerving to put this into a post. This decision has certainly not come lightly or without serious thought. Each of my clients has bettered my life and opened doors to new opportunities at every turn. I simply cannot thank you enough. Yes, it is scary, but that certainly cannot hinder me from making this move. My photography is my art and I strive to constantly learn not only about my technical abilities, but also new and exciting ways to make each of your lives better through this vision we share together.

Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to shooting for you!






modern beauty group headshots
Shooting for Women is what brings me Joy. Let me share that joy with You.

Athena and Adara’s Mother Daughter Session {Asheville Family Portrait Photography}

When I first moved to Asheville in 2004, Athena and I became fast friends. Here we are 9 1/2 years later and her daughter is getting ready for her Quinceanera NEXT week! My how time flies! So, as my birthday gift to Adara, I gave she and Athena a Girl’s Day Mother Daughter shoot! For those of you that know Athena and her family, you know that just another pretty park setting just wouldn’t work for them. We decided to think outside the box a little bit and head out downtown for some really fun urban style portraiture! I’m so proud of them both. Love you!!!

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Two of my Favorite ladies!

Are you ready for a current photography session? A session that expresses your love and your lifestyle? Get in touch today to schedule your session with Cat from Studio 828 Photography. We’ll work together to define your vision for your photography session here in Asheville.