28 Days with Sue Bryce {Personal Journey}

If you have been following me or Studio 828 Photography, you know that I’ve been 110% immersed in a continuing education program called, 28 Days with Sue Bryce. For other photographers out there that are considering a contemporary portrait specialty in their studio, I cannot recommend this enough. To all of the models that I have worked with over the past 29 weeks, I am incredibly humbled by each of you. I am so thankful to have been able to give you imagery that you love and that you were there for me to help me come closer to mastering my craft. And Sue, you have given so much to the photographic community and to me personally within this virtual mentor-ship through the Facebook groups and via CreativeLive…I cannot thank you enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Is it a cakewalk? Not even a little bit. Is 28 Days expensive? Only if you don’t do the work. Can I just subscribe to her site instead? Sure you can but it won’t be the same. The beauty of the subscription service on Sue’s site is that when paired with 28 Days, you simply get THAT much better both as an artist and in business. SueBryce.com is the protein shake, 28 Days is the workout.

There are a few courses to finish that cover logistics and philosophy (the shooting is complete) but, I couldn’t help to share some of the beautiful imagery I’ve been able to create this year because of 28 Days with Sue Bryce on CreativeLive. I’ve met some amazing people and pushed my own boundaries to really make the best of my skills and talent to provide a better service and quality in product. I’m looking forward to creating the business of my dreams and the ball is already rolling.

One of the amazingly great side effects of working through this program is creating bonds “on the inside” from others doing the work, the same as you. I’ve connected with several wonderful and talented women (and a handful of men) on this journey and yesterday had the opportunity to go to Columbia to meet another student face to face, have a delicious lunch (because, duh!) and trade mini shoots in her natural light studio in Lexington SC. It was so great to connect outside of the interwebs, truly. She and her husband are a fantastic team and they work out of their home (I might be a little jealous there haha) to create some beautiful work for their clients. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Lauren Gregory of Lauren Gregory Photography.

beauty photography - modern glamour glamour photography ashevile nc



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My personal journey in completing 28 days with Sue Bryce on Creative Live.

Headshot Marathon in Asheville

Twice a year we host a day of headshots here in our Asheville studio, a “Headshot Marathon” if you will. This is a fabulous opportunity to update your personal branding for your business, social media and your own advertising. The best part? You receive your portrait choices digitally in web and high printable resolution AND matted and ready for framing.

Do we photograph headshots normally? Absolutely! The nice thing about a marathon setting is that because there are a few appointments available for the day, you are able to enjoy a taste of our services with a bit of a discount. Normally our professional branding sessions are $550 each, include: a preparation consultation, photo shoot at our studio or at your location of choice, professional hair and makeup styling, 2 wardrobe changes a 1 hour photo shoot and an in person reveal and ordering session where you choose your favorite 2 images from your session. Whether you opt for our full service headshot appointment or an appointment at our bi-annual marathon, you can rest assured knowing that we strive for not only great imagery for your needs, but also a fun experience for you with the highest level of service.

When was the last time you had a professional portrait taken for your business and personal branding? According to Salesforce.com:

“Your profile (social media) should be viewed as an online resume and needs to be as professional as possible,” adds McLain, who suggests updating your headshot once a year. “Recruiting in the tech industry, I expect candidates to have a thorough and polished social media presence,” adds Cesarz. “Not having a completed profile is more of a red flag than a profile lacking a picture. A profile with a picture of a landscape or a pet picture is worse than no picture at all and comes off as unprofessional.”

Sara Elisabeth Photography also touches on some key points about headshots and your industry in this LinkedIn article.

“More and more companies are opting to use the same photographer for their entire staff. Companies, large or small should consider hiring a photographer to capture professional branding images of their staff because it demonstrates unity and consistency in a world where the image is more and more important.” – Sara Shirley of Sara Elisabeth Photography


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Are you rocking a selfie for your personal branding? My husband is an ad designer for a local sales publication and more often than not, comes home in complete disbelief at how many professionals send him quick and dirty headshot “selfies” from the local coffee shop or worse yet, seat-belt strapped in their cars to be included in their magazine. I just shake my head. For those of you that may be guilty of this, (c’mon now, we’ve all done it even if just for a profile pic on Facebook) consider what your potential clients, or worse yet, your past clients are gleaning from this seemingly harmless photo of you. I’ll even use one from my social media as an example (give me SOME credit here, it was a few years ago ;-D)

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Car selfies, what do they really say about you as a person?

On a personal level, I was really excited about my new earrings, those giant feathers of glory right there. Gah! I still love them! I wanted to show them off in between the boutique and my outing for the night. A little personal splurge. Now, on a professional level with that as my social media “branding” what might that image say about me as a professional photographer?

Not so much, right? The image is blurry and over filtered, I’m in a CAR for crying out loud, light is all over the place and there is a funky border? If you were considering me for my portrait services and decided to do a little digging on me on social media before reaching out for your session, would you feel confident about my ability to provide you with a great service? My past clients (I’m friends with many of my past photography clients on Facebook) might see this image and think “Really? Really Cat? You charged me MONEY for your photography service and THIS is what you come up with for your very own profile picture?” Yeah, it would leave a bad taste in my mouth too.

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How about this one? What does this image say about me as a professional?

What about this one? Is that a bit better? Sure, it’s not fantastic but it is football fields beyond that first image isn’t it? I’m well styled in hair and makeup (Meghan Pulliam btw), you can easily read my facial expression and my pose is simple. The image is clear.

Now, what does this image say about me as a professional?
Now, what does this image say about me as a professional? Image courtesy of Jesseca Bellemare 2014

To be clear, this is not a headshot. However, what do you get from this image? How might it affect your first impression of me? What does it SAY to you? Chic and stylish, polished, maybe that I’m curvy and might connect to some body image issues that a client might have, that I care about my own image enough to shoot with a professional and include styling so that I am putting my best foot forward with something as simple as social media? It’s not so simple is it? That branding is your first interaction you have with any potential client and it needs to convey that you are worth every penny you charge and, that in caring enough about your own public image, you will care tenfold about each and every client experience that comes through your door.

portrait profile pic collageNow, is that to say that I don’t have “other” images as my social media profile? Not at all! There are fun ones, images with my wonderful dogs or with my husband. From these images you might even decide that I’m fun or adventurous, or that I love my family. And those may help your decision about whether or not you choose to hire me for my service. What none of those image says is “I am a professional and I care about you and your experience with my work.” THAT is what your headshot needs to convey.

On the Studio 828 Photography business page, in the past I’ve leaned more towards having a logo as the profile image simply because it creates recognition in my readers’ news feeds when I post. Though, I think that may fall by the wayside. I’m finding that my followers connect more with me as a person AND a business when they see ME. I am my the face of my business. Whether it is when I post behind the scenes imagery or video, the bounce on the engagement is always great. Returning clients and potential clients connect with my business through me. That being said, by Monday August 3rd (see how I’m giving myself a deadline here?), I will have photographed new headshots for my social media presence. It is just as important for me as it is for you. When was the last time you updated your personal branding? Be honest now…was it more than two years ago? Three maybe? Why don’t we go ahead and get you in on August 15th then? There are only a few appointments available for the day so please reach out for your personal consultation today.

Remember, the headshot is the new handshake.


All My Best,


UPDATE: I did it! I found the amazing Lauren Gregory of Lauren Gregory Photography and she was kid enough to handle me, insecurities and all and captured this lovely headshot for me! Yay! I’m updating as we speak!

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Image courtesy of Lauren Gregory Photography in Lexington SC

FashMob IV

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Ladies of VaVaVooom boutique in downtown Asheville

Fashmob IV. What. A. Fun. Event. Hands down. Getting outside of my own business for half a second and stretch my creative legs was EXACTLY what I needed. Whew! Who knew?

So, WTHeck is a “Fashmob”? Photographers, models, stylists and designers of all levels in the fashion community to come together to create art, flashmob style. Which is exactly what we did. I think I lost count after about 45 photographers and dozens of models all wearing designs from some of my favorite Asheville clothing designers. Oh, you mean I show up, meet with 80+ people all in it for the love and art of it, work with them in groups and individually to create art we love and are proud of? Duh. I’d LOVE too! Meet new people, laugh and connect? You BET! Put faces to names I see almost daily on social media? All over it! Share the love? Yes.

Thank you Duncan Chaboudy for putting this together. I absolutely see it as part of my “must participate in” events list. Thank you Asheville, for coming together to create art, collaborate and make our days just a little bit brighter. Read more about Fashmob IV on Ashevegas!



This Photographer’s Steps of Service {Asheville Photographer}

Preparing for a photo shoot as a photographer. So, what does that mean? What are this photographer’s steps of service? Don’t I just show up and shoot and send you home? Nah, it wouldn’t be nearly the experience for either of us if that were all there was to it. What is my process? Well, there are a few steps.

First and foremost: I have you in to our photo studio here in Asheville for a consultation (or via Skype if you aren’t local – @CatFC828) and we get to know one another a bit. Really, its a conversation more than anything. I ask you questions about what you’re hoping to get out of a photo shoot experience with us. Is it to celebrate a recent victory? A holiday or anniversary gift for a loved one? Investing in your own self care? Maybe you haven’t had a professional portrait taken in a while…or ever? You ask me questions, whatever is coming up for you: What do I wear? How much should I bring? Should I do my hair? What kind of shoes should I bring? What kind of artwork do you offer? How much is it? Can I bring a friend/daughter/sister/mom/partner? We’ll address all of these things, and more. These consultations typically take 30-45 minutes and are no obligation. If after we meet you decide that maybe I’m not the right photographer for you, that’s okay too.

What do YOU get from this consultation?

From this consultation I am able to really get a sense of you, your personality, your likes and dislikes and I use this information to tailor your photo shoot TO you.

  • Design a posing map based on your wardrobe, body type and personality
  • Learn about things you might not be so comfortable with about yourself and be sure to pose you in a way that is flattering for all of your best features
  • Understand the types of artwork you are interested in to help me shoot with that artwork in mind.
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My not-so-Picasso sketch

So, we’ve had our consultation, now what? Well, if you choose to move forward with your makeover and photo shoot with us we will:

  • confirm your date with our calendar. That requires a non-refundable retainer paid either at your consultation or a date determined by our conversation at your consultation.
  • send you our PDF about the details on how to prepare; everything we discuss at your consultation and more in detail.
  • communicate either by email or phone about additional questions that you have before the shoot. For example, you might be out shopping and trying to decide between a few outfits. Text them to me and I’ll give you my recommendations and why. Send me your pinterest boards, tell me what imagery on my website that you love and are drawn to and why and feel free to pin those images as well. You can add comments to everything that you pin so I can know right away when I connect with your board.
  • follow up with you to remind you about your session the day before your shoot and then we’ll meet at the studio for your appointment.

During this time, I also take a few hours to sketch out my ideas for your session based on everything we discussed at your consultation, communication before your shoot and any inspiration you’ve provided. I’m no Picasso with a pencil however (see above image), these sketches allow me to solidify a posing map specifically designed for you. I’ll then use this map when you arrive in the studio to plan out your poses once I have your wardrobe in house while you’re in hair and makeup with our stylist.

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When you arrive at our studio,we’ll take your before photo and you will go directly in to hair and makeup. Our stylist will discuss with you personally how you’re envisioning your hair style and your makeup for your session as well as anyone else receiving this service in your party. I will be finalizing our posing map based on your wardrobe selection, shooting some behind the scenes stills and video and arranging our first set.

Once we’re into the shoot, I’ll be coaching and directing you through the entire process based on that posing map. I’ll also be sure to capture candid in between poses as well. How you carry yourself naturally is beautiful and while I want to have the foundation of the map, your natural beauty will shine on it’s own as you become more comfortable and I want to capture that, above all else. 🙂

Following your photo shoot, we will schedule your in person reveal and ordering session. It is typically within a week of your photo shoot. At this reveal session we will go through all of your edited imagery together and you will choose your favorites for your artwork and place your order. Whether you love one image or twenty-five images, what you purchase is completely up to you. It is my job to create beautiful portraits of you that you will love. It is your job to choose your favorites and try not to want everything that we’ve created together. 😉 Once your order is placed we will schedule your product delivery. This is usually 3-4 weeks following your ordering appointment and dependent upon the artwork you have purchased (folio collection, wall art, etc.).  I will personally deliver your order to you at the time we choose at your reveal session. I drop ship nothing, ever. All of your artwork is delivered to me first, so that I am able to ensure the utmost of quality from my suppliers before it reaches your hands.

For the record, I am a hugger. I am connected to each and every one of my clients and I cherish you all. Each of us has a story and I am so grateful to be able to learn about you and provide this service for you. That being said, more than likely, you’ll get a hug. 😀

So, there you have it. Are you interested in a makeover and photo shoot with us at Studio 828 Photography? I would love to photograph you.



Photographing Women and the People they Love {Asheville Family Portraits}

At Studio 828 Photography, we specialize in photographing women and the people they love. We had the pleasure of shooting for Brooke and creating amazing portraits of her and her family! Brooke was a little shy at first but, she trusted the process (her words) and I thought she did a fabulous job (seriously, she is a stunning woman)! And her family, ohmygosh! Too sweet!

Thank you for letting me photograph you all! I had so much fun and hope you LOVE your imagery!

Are you interested in a makeover and photo shoot with Studio 828 Photography? We would love to photograph you and your family.