What is it like to meet your hero

What is it like to meet your hero? Let me tell ya, it is nerve wracking, it is humbling, it is empowering, and it is inspirational.

new york - from the plane - cell phone snap
Arriving in New York, always a welcome view

So many professionals attend and exhibit at trade shows and photographers are no exception. I had the joy of attending the Photo Plus expo in Manhattan this past week. I came away with in person education from leaders in photography (Sue Bryce, Lori Patrick, Jen Rozenbaum and Lindsay Adler) a new holster for my camera which, I am elated about and a personally autographed book from my virtual mentor and photography hero, Ms Sue Bryce herself.

suebryce, learning, mastering my craft, womens portraiture, nyc, ppe 2015

For those of you that follow me here, you already know that I studied virtually under Sue (via CreativeLive) for the majority of this year. I knew at the beginning of this wild year that if I were going to step up my game in my photography business, education was going to play a HUGE part in that success.

I organized each of the week’s assignments with women and daughters and men throughout Asheville over the course of 32 weeks. I sketched out each photo shoot based on the class videos and the topic for the week and was rarin to go! What I wasn’t expecting in this class was how it would affect me personally.

The great thing about Sue is that in her teaching, part of her curriculum forces you to face your own…your own YOU. Your own fears, your own abilities, short comings and strengths. It isn’t only about posing, and set mapping, and business, the real value in this learning is what you learn about yourself. Your own success starts there, and you simply cannot get there without doing the work.

Well, needless to say I evaluate my life on a fairly regular basis. I measure results. I critique my actions and learn from each situation. I’m hard-wired for it. I love it.

Have I had missteps along the way? Of course. I have never been any sort of valedictorian by any stretch of the imagination however, this course was more valuable than any education I received in two different college settings. What I AM is creative, and driven, and thoughtful, and I do my best to support those around me and those that I love and, those I don’t even know.

I can be a little brash at times, haha. However, it is never meant maliciously, I’m kind of “a bull in a china shop” at life.

This past week was a dream come true for me. I got to photograph and learn in new settings from leaders in this industry, enjoy my favorite city for an entire week, I was invited to attend a very exclusive party and enjoy it with the company of a friend and people I had only ever dreamed of enjoying a cocktail with, fan girl a bit, and to top it off, I was able to thank and hug the woman who has championed women’s portraiture through two recessions, educated countless photographers through their own challenges personally and professionally (they do go hand in hand after all) and shows zero signs of slowing down any time soon.

Thank you for such a fabulous experience!! I hope you all enjoy my snap shots. They don’t even begin to do this trip any justice at all. Thank you to all of my new-found connections and the kindness I was shown from so many people. Thank you to my friend Lauren, for being the perfect confidante for the week. Thank you to all of the amazing hosts for the wonderful classes and experiences throughout this amazing week. And, thank you New York. You will always be my first love.

williamsburg ferry ride - tourist - new york skyline


Holiday Portrait Sessions

Oh the holidays!

Ladies, let me be clear. I’ve gotta put this out to you because every year I get dozens of calls in November from wonderful women that want to book their photography session to have in hand by the holidays (and I always feel like a jerk when I don’t have availability) Our cutoff for photo shoots to have your artwork in hand by the holidays is December 5th. We are booking November and December dates now.

Don’t be sad, reach out as soon as possible to secure your date.

  • Boudoir
  • Glamour
  • Portrait
  • Branding
  • Family
  • Generations
  • Sisters
  • Best Friends
  • 50 and Fabulous


  • Personal consultation to discuss our service and process and how you envision being photographed
  • Professional hair and makeup styling
  • Photo Shoot
  • Premier in-person reveal and ordering session to review 25 fully edited images from your session
  • Hugs

I would love to photograph you.

Personal Branding for the Inspired Professional

Personal branding for the inspired professional.

Meet, Maggie Marie.

head shots - the authentic and professional you - personal branding

She was an absolute joy to photograph! As a small business owner, she is rebranding her copywriting business and was interested in showcasing her own persona as the face of her business. As many of you know, your first impression is not made on the consultation or the work, or even in the delight of your current client base (though, that absolutely helps!).

Your first impression is made when your potential client somehow connects with you, with your image, with your brand. In a single image your readership will judge whether you’re professional, delightful, quirky, lazy, friendly, ambitious, and yes, authentic. What does your current head shot or branding profile say about you?


I loved every second of working with Maggie. Her work is inspiring, her words are crafted and her spirit is limitless.

Thank you Maggie.

Are you interested in taking your branding to the next level? Please feel to reach out here for your personal consultation to design the brand you want for your presence.

Class of 2016 {Asheville Senior Portraits}

Asheville senior portraits for AC Reynolds high school senior, Adara. Class of 2016. Adara is pretty incredible. Not only is she a stunning young woman, she is ambitious and graduating early. She is enrolled in a pharmacology program and not wasting even a minute of time getting her future underway.

So proud of her!

Often parents and students inquire about our senior portrait photography here at Studio 828 Photography and, so often am I just blown away by the caliber of students we have here in wnc. Adara is no exception. Congratulations Adara! I am so excited for you!!!!

class of 2016-high school - ac reynolds - asheville - wnc - senior portraits in asheville

Are you interested in your senior photo shoot with Studio 828 Photography? Fill out the info below and we’d be happy to schedule your consultation to design your makeover and photo shoot here in Asheville.


Personal Branding is a Sign of Leadership

Recently, to our portrait menu we have added an option for personal branding. “Personal what?” That’s right, personal branding. As a photographer I am quite aware of the impact of my craft however, many people pass over their branding with the hopes that it will take care of itself or, if they just get a quick and dirty head shot session in with any photographer they’ll be covered and will “deal with it later” and then, later comes.

I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to photograph Alicia Sisk-Morris. She was in need of updated head shots as she had recently re-branded her business website and she does regular speaking engagements on accounting and empowerment of small business owners throughout WNC.

For her consultation we discussed what exactly she needed her imagery to portray? Yes, she’s a CPA but so much of entrepreneurship is about being able to connect with your clients, potential or existing before they even pick up the phone. For Alicia, she of course needed them to portray her approachability but also that she is a professional and friendly and can carry her brand with her image. She is the face of Sisk-Morris CPA, LLC. Even in our western North Carolina town, that’s a big deal. She wants her clients to understand that not only does she have the experience, education and staying power that any CPA should have (I mean c’mon, they’re responsible for our taxes here) but also that she is a real person. In my experience, Alicia is funny and charismatic not to mention she knows her stuff!

She was a guest speaker for a women’s group that I chair about small business owners and taxes (I know, you are really wishing you were there aren’t you?) and she gave not only a well thought out presentation but each of us was able to connect with the information. I don’t know if you know many creatives but when it comes to money, numbers, and organization, that can be quite the feat. Alicia made it painless, easy to understand and was open to questions and gave comprehensive answers. That to me, is better than gold.

I am incredibly grateful to have photographed you Alicia. I am also thankful to know you. I love that you specialize in small business and in women owned businesses as well. Thank you, more than you know.



head shots - personal branding - professionals in asheville
Personal branding is a Sign of Leadership

I’ve invited her to write a guest post about her experience with our studio. These are her words.

Personal Branding is a Sign of Leadership


As a female Certified Public Accountant (CPA) located in Asheville, NC, I work with a lot of self-employed individuals and small business entrepreneurs.  I advise my clients that it is especially important to be mindful about how you are presenting yourself to your clients.  The message you send should be consistent in both the written and visual form.  A part of that imaging is creating a logo, website, and social media profiles that share a consistent message.  Your message should include a solid professional head shot and a logo that matches your company vision.  Many of us, myself included, are the faces of our business and we should always put our best face forward.  If you are comfortable in doing your own branding then by all means, save yourself some money and do it yourself.  But if you are like me, you may need some help in the design department.

According to a Forbes magazine article written by Glenn Llopis “Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.” When you represent your company, you want to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light.

I recently upgraded my website design and felt I was in need of an updated head shot to accompany the refreshed text.  I was fortunate enough to have met Cat Ford-Coates, owner of Studio 828 ,at a local networking group.  Cat is a local photographer who specializes in photographing women.  Having seen some of her work online, I felt Cat would photograph me in a professional light.

Cat’s process is, in my opinion, quite unique.  She requested that I bring as many outfits as I would like along with jewelry and accessories.  She took the time to go through my selections and chose the outfits that would photograph the best.  She also hired a professional make-up and hair stylist to help prepare me for my shoot.  We all know that make-up for camera lighting is often times quite different from we might wear for every day uses. I really appreciated their extra help. They both listen carefully to my styling requests and they gave me exactly what I wanted.  I also have deep respect for Cat’s attention to detail while photographing me.  She knew what poses would be most flattering to my body type while still being mindful of my branding goals.  A head shot is so much more than just a photo of what you look like.  It sends a message to your potential clients and you want to make sure that message fits within your personal brand.  As Glenn Llopis stated “Your personal brand is an asset that must be managed with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you and / or by being associated with your work and the industry you serve.”

Thank you Cat for listening so well to my requests and giving me a head shot that I will proudly post on my website and use for upcoming literature and public speaking engagements.


Alicia Sisk-Morris, CPA in Weaverville NC is your choice for your financial needs in western North Carolina.
Alicia Sisk-Morris, CPA in Weaverville NC is your choice for your financial needs in western North Carolina.