Yours Truly, Asheville Electro-Pop

It isn’t often that I’m asked to photograph bands but, when I am it is because I am somehow close to the artist(s) and their heart, their music.

I give you “Yours Truly”



Thanks to an amazing team!

  • Location: The Social Lounge, Asheville NC
  • Hair Styling: Danielle Hollifield and Gregory Sargeant, Asheville Salon
  • Makeup Artistry: Zack Russell, Makeup at the Grove Arcade

From “Make Do Suzie” to learning more in 3 days than I have in 6 months {Asheville Photographer’s Assistant}

Make Do Suzie: A “make do Susie” is one that always makes do with whatever is easiest (and sometimes most affordable out of necessity or laziness). GUILTY as charged. The 3 days I worked as a photographer’s assistant on a commercial shoot, taught me more than I’ve learned in 6 months!

I am, by far and away incredibly guilty of being a “make do Susie”. What is that exactly? Well, outside of my photography classes in my first round of a collegiate education ( we won’t talk about WHEN that was. We’ll just say it was a while back :-D) I am self-taught. I have always had a camera in hand. And by always I truly mean always, and forever, as long as I can remember. My lighting arsenal includes the sun, a white 42″ reflector, a 580ex speedlight and insulation boards wrapped in aluminum foil. Since I only just picked up molding light beyond my speedlight and the sun as of 2 months ago, you can imagine my elation to be asked to assist Montana Pritchard, a photographer from West Palm Beach here in Asheville on a commercial shoot for the new Asheville Outlets (formerly Biltmore Square Mall) opening in 2015.

I have never really been involved in much commercial work as a photographer. I modeled some in the 90’s for a few recognizable companies and worked as an actor in films, but never anything on the tech side of things. WOW!

Don’t get me wrong, I love, love LOVE my work. Beauty and portrait work is my heart. Being exposed to what I do from an aspect of the commercial world…there are almost no words. I realized that my “make do suzieness” (mds) was out of control. I’ve never seen, let alone used most of the equipment we were working with and after 3 days with Montana and the crew, I was able to comprehend HOW to take my own work to another level, items to plan for purchase to build my business (instead of buying what I think I might, maybe need) and how to work with and learn from others to make their job(s) more streamlined and efficient and use that experience to my own betterment as well.

So Cat, what did you actually DO for 3 days?

  • I pushed 300+ pounds of gear up a steep 20′ hill with the grip
  • lugged 70 pound pelican cases up and down flights of stairs and through parks
  • put my foot in my mouth
  • set up and broke down sets
  • shot behind the scenes with my iPhone (yup. my iPhone)
  • got lost at the Grove Park Inn
  • listened…closely
  • grabbed coffee refill(s)
  • carried a myriad of crazy gear and reflectors and lights and stands and power boxes and lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!
  • sweated like a banshee
  • learned
  • Loved. Every. Second. of. It.

Being a photographer’s assistant is not for the faint of heart. Figuratively and literally. It can be hard work. For someone in my position, it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I know, it sounds sappy, but it is so true. With a lack in a formal photography education, I’ve made do and built my own gear and needs and have never been exposed to the type of gear (& the knowledge to utilize that gear) that would allow me to dream big for my shoots. It isn’t rocket science, I know but it certainly was inspirational and an eye opener. Frankly, it was just the kick in the you-know-where that I needed to revisit my business plan to adjust my own plans and forecast for 828 for the next 18 months.

*Sidenote, for those of you not treating your business plan as a living document, get it together! Do it! Come back to it, and regularly. It will change your life! But, that’s for another post all together, anyhoo*

One of the things that was discovered along the way was that Asheville doesn’t seem to have a central web presence with contact information on crew here in the area. Crew, studios, anything. So, that is on the way. Once it is built and live, I’ll be sure to link out so that photographers can actually source people here in WNC for their commercial projects and work.

In the meantime, below are some fun pictures from our commercial photography shoot this week for New England Development handling the campaign for the upcoming Asheville Outlets. (*Are you excited? I AM!). Try not to hate too hard on the snapshots. Not only were they from my iPhone but on a set, you’ve gotta move FAST!

To everyone involved and especially Montana and his studio manager Kat, THANK YOU. It was an incredible experience for me and I hope to find myself working with you again.



PS – Did I mention Montana was shooting with a Hasselblad? Just being in the vicinity of one was worth the job…one day (sigh)


Asheville Outlets Commercial Photography Campaign: New England Development

Photographer: Montana Pritchard Photography, West Palm Beach FL

Stylist: Lydia Santangelo, Boston MA



Photography production crew:

  • Production Manager – Miles Rice
  • Digital Assistant – Matt Sellers
  • 1st Photographer’s Assistant – Paul Lewis Anderson
  • 2nd Photographer’s Assistant – Cat Ford-Coates (yours truly)
  • 3rd Photographer’s Assistant – Morgan Ford
  • Grip, Smokey Mountain Grip & Lighting – Mark Lewis
asheville arboretum - commercial photoshoot permit
Beautiful location at the Arboretum
staging a dining shot - montana pritchard photography - rad - lift studios
Staging a dining shot at the Lift Studios in Asheville’s River Arts District
grove park inn - amazing view - asheville outlets fashion campaign
BTS at Grove Park Inn, What a VIEW!
behind the scenes - asheville arboretum - commercial photography production crew
More behind the scenes at the Arboretum
Depot Street - commercial shoot - RAD - Avl
Shooting on Depot Street in RAD
photographer's first assistant - 1st assistant - paul lewis anderson - hasselblad camera - on set - junction
The first assistant (Paul Anderson) setting up the Hasselblad on set in front of thee Junction in RAD
photo shoot production crew - grove park inn - asheville outlets photo shoot - fashion in avl
Working as a team!
hair and makeup - behind the scenes - BTS
Professional hair and makeup is ESSENTIAL!
pro HMUA - asheville makeup artists
The hair and makeup team did an Ah-Mazing job with the models!
touchup - makeup - on set - commercial shoot
Touchup on set!
montana pritchard photography - asheville - fashion campaign - asheville outlets
Montana working the team!
montana pritchard - grove park inn - commercial fashion photo shoot - commercial
Setting up the best shot at the Grove Park Inn!
grove park inn - outdoor fashion shoot
Outdoor shoot at the Grove Park Inn
morgan ford - assisting montana pritchard photography - asheville rad
Morgan Ford assisting here in Asheville’s RAD for Montana Pritchard Photography
photo assisting - asheville photo production crew
What’s my light at?
asheville trolley tours - grove park inn - fashion campaign in asheville
The Asheville Trolley Tours even made an appearance!