It is to see the beauty in you {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

I received an email this morning that stopped me in my tracks. Reading it, I immediately started bawling. For those of you that know me, you know I’m not a crier or openly vulnerable person. This woman’s complete honesty and vulnerability brought me directly back to my chubby, unpopular 12-year-old self that was teased relentlessly for years. It brought me to a place where I remember why I am a photographer in the first place. It is to see the beauty in you. It is to capture it through my lens. It is to show you how beautiful you already are.

“I have felt guilt and shame throughout my childhood for being beautiful, and as an adult I decided to just be ugly; because it made me feel better about myself. Over the last few years I’ve let myself “come out of the closet” and choose to be me, and it’s been so terrifying much of the time! But being part of this photography project with you would feel like a public embracing and accepting of myself as the woman I am: me! I am beautiful! But it’s my soul finally free to shine that is my true expressing of beauty, and I’m so happy when I let that pour out of me! I’m deeply inspired by the journey you’re on, and would love to connect with you on this project.”

As a woman who has struggled with accepting herself, her true self for her entire life I am in a constant state of growth. I am learning daily how to forgive not only those that I allowed to destroy my own self value but, also forgive myself for allowing it to happen in the first place.

Forgiveness is not an easy path. Over the years I’ve found myself stalking their social media profiles and hating them and their successes in life. I know, it is terrible. Here I am, 39 years old and I can still feel those wounds and times in my life like they were yesterday. I don’t allow myself to go down that rabbit hole any longer. The only person that hurts, is me. The difference between then and now is that I honor how my younger self felt in those moments of what seemed like sheer terror. I hug her. I peer into the mirror, through my eyes and see the lost little girl and tell her that she is beautiful. That she is valued and loved. I honor those moments by finding the light in every single woman who I meet. When I photograph you, I can see everything you don’t like about yourself. I can see everything that you love. No one is “crazy” for feeling their nose is too long or their hips are too wide or their frame is too small. We all have imperfections, they are what make us beautiful. And now, instead of stalking those profiles and hoping they have found some sort of karmic retribution, now I hope they have found some way of filling the void that they held as children. That terrible loneliness that caused them to be so cruel. Some days it is hard to wish them only the best in life, to wish them happiness and a life filled with love. That challenge is my own but in learning to forgive them, I am learning to forgive myself.

This woman’s simple email brought everything right back around for me. Having guilt and shame wrapped around embracing your own self is so incredibly painful and it is terrifying and I am blown away and honored that they would choose me and my services to help them to reclaim that for them. Thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for reminding me that we all deserve to value ourSEVLES. I look forward to photographing you.


“Oh, you’re not photogenic? You hate being in front of the camera?”

I hear all the time, “I’m just not photogenic.” or “The camera hates me” or “I’m so awkward in front of the lens” You know what? That’s completely okay. I specialize in posing and direction so your connection and body language speak only your brand of beautiful. Whether you’re in need of beautiful portraits, boudoir photography or even professional head shots here in Asheville I will ensure that we minimize what you don’t like so much about yourself and maximize your radiant self. We will create beautiful portraits for you.

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Before and After of a beautiful woman in western North Carolina. Elegant Portraits with Studio 828 Photography.



And then I hear “Oh, they’re just models. I could never look like that.” WRONG. Each of my clients are REAL people. Not that models aren’t real people but, my specialty is in photographing women. I photograph teachers, CEO’s, women who have retired, mothers, grandmothers, nurses, artists, students, daughters, sisters, entrepreneurs, writers, dancers, bartenders and that is just my May and June calendar. Have you seen the before and after gallery on our website? These are all women, just like you who have somehow connected with my story and what I do, and the service I give each of my clients and called on me for a photo shoot.

Please call on me for your complimentary consultation. We’ll discuss what you have in mind for your session, where we’ll shoot, what to wear as well as our pricing, products and service to you. When was the last time you had a professional portrait taken? I would love to photograph you.






30 Days of a beautiful you {Summer photography contest Asheville}

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A Beautiful You. Summer photography contest in Asheville with Studio 828 Photography. You deserve beautiful photos of yourself. Enter today.

As I was going through the 28 days to gorgeous challenge last month, there were lots of little moments for me to see beauty in my own self and my own life and I got to thinking. “Cat, it is your JOB, your amazing purpose to see beauty in everyone and to show them that beauty through your work.” Well, why not expound on that 28 days TO gorgeous journey and take it a step farther? Let’s do 30 days of a beautiful you. From now until June 30 I am accepting nominations from women all over wnc to take part in this event and it is going to be a doozie! I will photograph 30 women from July 10 – August 10 whose stories really resonate with me. I must admit, 30 photo shoots on top of my regular client base in 30 days is going to be a tough nut to crack. That being said, I have to remind myself that it is my purpose to show you the beauty I see in you. That purpose does nothing more than inspire and excite me to no end! Whether you are a 20 something, a mom, a grandmother…I want to photograph you.

How it works:

  • Share your story with me using the contact information below. Tell me Why, Who you are, What you love in life and what you hope to gain from a makeover and photo shoot with us (is it some much-needed pampering? time to focus on just you? have you recently reached an amazing personal goal? you’re ready to really SEE what others see in you already?)
  • I will hand-pick 30 winners based on their stories. Feel free to enter for yourself or nominate a friend! Heck, do BOTH!
  • Winners to receive our full photo shoot experience from personal consultation, professional hair and makeup styling, photo shoot all the way through your in person reveal and ordering session.
  • The chosen winners will receive our makeover and photo session for a $150 retainer that will be applied 100% towards any product purchased at their reveal AND a $150 print credit. That is $300 towards any purchase made from your photo shoot.
    • Retainer is non-refundable
    • Print credit is not redeemable for cash.
    • Cancellations and rescheduling must occur no later than 7 days before your scheduled photo shoot

What we need from you:

  • Signed model release (your images will be shown in social media, print and online)
  • Your ability to be photographed between July 10 and August 10.
  • Your beautiful self, just as you are

What are you waiting for? Enter today.

Boudoir Experience for a Wife, Mother and Artist

Sometimes you have one of those days…after you’ve had several of “those” days, where you sit down and are filled with gratitude because you get to live your dream. After day in and day out of feeling like I was just spinning my wheels and feeling disconnected, I had the pleasure of photographing Sara. We’ve been talking about it for a little over a year now and a couple of months ago she kind of giggled and quietly said, “OK Cat, I’m ready. I want to do it.”

{insert giant grin here}

I’m going to say she knocked it out of the park. Wife, mother, artist…Sara. Beautiful Woman. Feel free to show Sara some love in the comments below. She nailed modeling for her very own boudoir photography photo shoot.

Hair: Sara, Blush Asheville

Makeup: Wendy, Blush Asheville

Photographer: Cat, Studio 828 Photography

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Showcasing the beautiful Sara from her boudoir photography experience in Asheville with Studio 828 Photography

Interested in your very own makeover and boudoir photo shoot? I would love to photograph you.

Head Shots for an Author {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

Sandra came to me about scheduling a portrait session to update her head shots. Sandra is an author that has a new book coming out in September (how exciting!) As a photographer who specializes in photographing women, the main things I strive for (outside of give you a fabulous and fun girl’s day), is to make sure that you have the makeup you’re envisioning, you’re lit correctly and most importantly that your head shots showcase not only your professionalism but also your approachability. The head shot is, for lack of a better term, the new hand shake. Your online presence is your first impression and determines how your audience will perceive you. Will it be stuffy and uptight? Or will it be friendly and approachable?

Thank you Sandra! I loved photographing you!

BTW, if you’re a lover of romance novels…by ALL means, check her out. I picked up “The Letter” on my ipad yesterday and I can already tell I’m going to love it!

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Makeup: Wendy Ballance, Blush Asheville

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Professional Head Shot of Sandra Owens. Published Romance Author.



Are you in need of updating your professional head shots? Online presence need a little szuszhing? Reach out today to discuss your needs. I would love to photograph you.