One of my recent clients is Annie. She has been with Arbonne for a little over two years now and is discovering how exciting owning your own business can be. For those that aren’t entrepreneurs, your first couple of years can be a real doozie and much of the time it is difficult to see the forest through the trees. Luckily, Annie has oodles of inspiration and purpose that is her driving force and she is KILLIN it in her business!
One of the things that I LOVE about Annie is her drive. She and her husband have this incredible love, four amazing kids and she is inspired daily to not only contribute to her home and their livelihood and future but, it is because of her business that they are all travelling to Europe this summer! How exciting is that??? It inspires me for sure.
One of the things that I love about Annie’s business IS her purpose. She is creating a foundation because the woman that inspired her to succeed IN her business passed away unexpectedly and they were very close. Gah, if I ever were to lose anyone close to me like that I wouldn’t even know where to begin let alone how to champion a charity. It is truly remarkable. She is also coordinating savings to contribute towards the Buncombe county school system. Look, we all know that the public school budget is less than ideal and here comes this woman, this incredible mother with plans to create a buffer so that the structures, the classrooms, and the teachers have a resource to meet their deficit.
And to do all of this by providing these amazing skincare lines and beauty products that are eco-friendly, natural, and safe to use. It is a win-win! Oh and by the way, I have sampled the RE9 skincare system, and the “Lotus” lipstick. For starters, the lip line is Annie’s favorite and I can see why. The texture is out of this world creamy, and the moisturizer is doing wonders for my face!!! I come by quite a bit of makeup and care lines in this business and I can easily recommend both of these, personally.
For Annie’s personal branding session we did more than simply change outfits. We created several different looks both in wardrobe AND in makeup and we created each look with only her Arbonne line. It was truly impressive and I am so excited for what the world holds for Annie.
Everyone makes new years resolutions, right? I was never one of “those” people. I kind of thought they were dumb. What makes January 1st any more a reasonable time to make changes in your life over any other day? Then it kind of dawned on me; we are all trying to be better. Maybe we forget from time to time and get caught up in our daily lives but, I think overall each of us, in some way wants to be better. It’s kind of like the advice others give you when you want to correct your posture. Have you heard this? When you walk through a doorway, use the doorway as the reminder to stand up nice and straight. The doorway is kind of like January 1st. No matter what is happening in your life, remember at the very least, on January 1st to set intentions to be better.
My intention this year is to be the best version of myself, to live up to my potential.
That is what this image is for me, a reminder of the best version of me. A very dear friend photographed me in January and I have decided that this shot is going to stand as my reminder that I am to make choices every day that help me to be better than I was yesterday.
To make better choices personally, in my business, financially, in relationships, and the list goes on. I’ve always had the excuse “Well, I didn’t really try for it anyway…” Well, this year, anything I set my sights on I am going after. No excuses. I refuse to take any part of my life for granted any longer. Not one minute and neither should you.
Call your mom. Enjoy the sunshine. Be passionate. It doesn’t matter about what, just that you are and about something. Further your education. Travel. Get outside your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be across the globe (though, if it can be, it absolutely should be!), it can even be 20 minutes away. Hug someone. Hug a stranger, hug a friend. Learn something new. Take a walk. Take a nap. Live in this moment, this one right here.
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:
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)
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.
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.
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.
Now, 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!
As a photographer who shoots primarily for women, I occasionally have a client that is so incredibly versatile that it blows me away. Destonie is one of those clients. She photographs as though she should have been 25 years old in the mid 70’s, her wardrobe is filled with beautiful pieces from different eras and seemingly all over the world and she is, well just gorgeous. Take a look for yourself below. She is one of those photography clients here in Asheville that gives a photographer a liiiittle bit more room for artistic expression. Thank you Destonie. Glad we could finally get together (we’ve been planning this shoot for almost a year)! Hope you love them!
I had my shoot yesterday. Eeeeeeep! You know, the one I told you about…where I’m in front of the lens instead of behind the camera? Well, I did it. Many of my clients ask me if I’ve been through one of these shoots before (boudoir or beauty) and while I had done some modelling about a hundred years ago, I never could say “Yes”. Well, I can now! What a fun day yesterday was!
Many of you might be wondering WHY I’m blogging about this experience and sharing details about where I went and which photographer I chose, etc. It pretty much is an advertisement for THEM instead of my own business here with Studio 828 Photography. I feel that it is important to share the totality of my experience from how I chose the photographer, to what I experienced with that photographer and to be completely transparent. I chose Jesseca (explained below) for many reasons. Maybe some of you will also choose her, She’s WONDERFUL! I didn’t come by my decision lightly and, if I am truly going to tailor my business model to shoot primarily with women, then I needed to choose a photographer that I not only admire but one that embodies the whole package from her steps of service before, during and after the shoot all the way through to the delivery of product. I suppose I don’t have to share my experience with you, but I’m choosing too as I need to be able to relate to as many of my clients as possible. What better way to do that than to experience a session AS a client? I had a blast with my session and while I did feel awkward, it is part of the process…a process I adore.
When I first started my journey into finding the right photographer for my session, of course there were a million options. As I started thinking about it one of the main goals that kept coming up was “Why am I booking a session? What’s the real purpose here?” The easy answer is that I wanted to experience everything from start to finish as my clients would with my services. Sounds easy enough right? Haha…not quite. There are many beauty and boudoir photographers here in Asheville, and many photographers that offer beauty and boudoir as a service in their photographic umbrella. So, I start scouring websites and one photographer (that I’ve been following for a year or so now) kept coming up in front of me. You see, there are other factors playing IN to my easy answer. Other questions that play into my “Which photographer do I choose?” portion of my experiment into Beauty Photography as a client.
Do I choose someone that might work on trade for portfolio building?
Do I choose someone that is offering a great deal on portrait photography?
Do I choose someone that is just starting out?
Do I choose someone that is well established as a beauty or boudoir photographer here in Asheville?
Ding! Ding! Ding! OK, so aspect one is that I needed to choose a photographer that had the qualities as a photographer and a business person that I work diligently to be in my own business. Our photographic and editing styles don’t need to match but, I was looking for a woman (no offense guys), whose body of work is proficient and creative, whose reputation has integrity and a history of kindness and last but not least whose purpose in her work has similarities to my own; the passion of helping women to embrace their own beauty being my number one. So, after communicating a bit with a few photographers, I emailed Jesseca Bellemare.
I was very open about my purpose for the session and, I certainly didn’t want any photographer feeling like I was coming in for a session to steal their ideas or anything weird. Jesseca was very kind in our communication and very professional. Up front with her pricing structure and how her process works. It is more than apparent 🙂 that I already admire her work and her business model, so she’s my ideal choice as a photographer. I moved forward with the retainer for our session and started planning outfits. I’ve been working up savings as our ordering session is in a few weeks and I already know I’m going to want 90% at LEAST of what she shot for our session yesterday. She even sent me a sneak peek from our session yesterday, last night. Talk about service!!!
So, what was my session like? Well, I seesawed a little with my outfit choices but with Jesseca’s help, settled on two options: 1. a little classy rock n roll with a blue satin top and faux leather pants with my FAVORITE boots and 2) a beautiful emerald green dress I borrowed from a friend. Lemme tell ya, that dress is ALL about the curves and I’m a little more than excited to see how everything comes out.
So, I arrive at Jesseca’s studio in Biltmore Forest, a little flustered and almost late (I HATE being late) with my outfits and my Red Sox bag full to the brim with shoes (I have kind of a slight addiction with boots…). Jesseca introduced me to her makeup artist and close friend Meghan Pulliam (a super duper sweetheart with chops for beautiful eye makeup) and we moved right into hair. She and Jesseca talked with me about the goals for the session and I was tempted with some bubbles. Our noontime session lead me to coffee and water though.
One thing I thought was funny is how comfortable I was just running off at the mouth about “Me”. Whether it was about my insecurities about my age catching up with me or, my work with 828…it all just came tumbling out. For those of you that know me, I’m a fairly guarded person and try to stray away from talking too much about myself with strangers. I laughed to myself. Jesseca was recently on the cover of Verve magazine and one of the points that was made was about how “we’re women, we can talk about anything”…and it is totally spot on.
During the session, Jesseca was great about giving direction and being very detail oriented with everything from head to toe. The placement of my fingers, relaxation of my face, how to carry my chin and where to turn…everything. I’m pretty thankful for the experience. I’m finding that while this experience is an investment into my business, just yesterday alone reminded me why documenting mySelf is an investment in Me. Thank you Jesseca. Looking forward to our viewing appointment.
I always love January. When I depended solely on bartending to maintain my income, not so much. In the restaurant business in WNC January signifies the beginning of the end. Cold, slow winters where you simply hoped you would see more than 5 covers a night. That has all changed now. Of course, I also have a restaurant here in Asheville so we are making the necessary adjustments to our marketing and attack plans for shifts but in my photography business, well that is another story.
January brings new hope, new inspiration (often from unexpected resources), it also brings time where I can reflect on the previous year and devise new plans to create opportunity for the coming year. For me, it is important to continue to grow not only as an artist, but also as an entrepreneur. While a few days ago, I spent almost ten hours reading the manual for my new Canon and test shooting (my poor dogs, they just don’t understand why this clickity black box attached to my face keeps talking to them) all the while realizing that the entire exercise was merely to brush up on my own technical chops and get to know my new camera. (by the way, I still haven’t decided on a name for her yet, but if you have suggestions I’m all ears. Right now it is between Esmerelda, June, Edith…well those are my top three anyway).
The new year also forces me to return to my December list of “What worked? What didn’t?”. My marketing plans each year is chock full of new tactics to reach new clients; wedding, beauty and family clients. While, a lot of that work is via referral from previous clients (for the record, thank you! I wouldn’t be IN business without your referrals and it is because of this I have implemented a referral program I am sure you will love!) there is also quite a bit of legwork involved in reaching and attracting new clientele. In December, I sit down and review those different programs to determine whether or not those programs were logistically appropriate. Did they attract an ideal client? Not so ideal? Howso? What was my ROI? Heck, what was the investment? Time? Money? Both? And the list goes on. What can I do in the current year to maximize on those ideas? What new concepts should I implement into the programs that worked to freshen them up for 2014? Can any of the “not-so-great-but-not-so-bad” ideas be adjusted to be more appropriate? What are my personal goals for the new year? To make money? Sure. Is that the main goal? Nah. The main focus of my professional goals are to not simply “Do what I love and make money” but to do this to allow me time to reach dreams in my personal life. 1. Be a successful and profitable business 2. Have time to travel and visit with family and friends 3. Take a real vacation with only my husband (Our 5 year anniversary is in March so, a honeymoon would be nice LOL) 4. Shoot more personal projects (I like to call it creative breathing) 5. Develop a savings account and reach a true savings goal 6. Not work a hundred hours a week (between two businesses) and still have those businesses thrive and the list goes on. How can 828 allow me to reach those goals? By allowing me the opportunity to develop not only as a professional but also as a human. Being overworked is never good for your business or creative self. In fact, it is stifling. That is where those creative projects come to life. New ideas to keep me inspired in the coming year. I love it. I breathe it. I can’t wait. Let’s start today.
Happy New Year Interwebs! I know, the 12th of January is a little late to the party but I’ve got all kinds of new funness in store. First up, Valentine’s. Head over to the 828 facebook page to grab up an offer for $150 off any Beauty portrait package for 2014 when your session is on the books before Feb. 14, 2014. That’s right. Chocolates got nothin on a beauty/boudoir shoot! Promise!
By the way, did you notice Studio 828 Photography has a whole new look? We launched the new website on Jan 2 and it is like a breath of fresh air! Check it out. It won’t bite. The before and after transformations are by far and away the most popular page but hey, if you want to see more of something or in case I’ve forgotten to include something, feel free to shoot me a line. I’m quite open to feedback. In fact, I welcome it!
828 Goals for the new year:
Move into and open a full fledged studio space by October – we’re bringing on another photographer into the Studio 828 family and moving forward to have a singular space not only to shoot for you, but meet with you as well. If you’re a photographer and would like to be considered for the partnership, please do get in touch. Cat@Studio-828.com
As it stands now, 828 rents a studio space by appointment only and then hosts viewings at our office location in downtown Asheville. New goal, have those places be one in the same
While the business plan for 828 is a living breathing document, I would like for it to stay in the forefront of my mind throughout the year. Last year’s business plan 🙂 “may” have fallen by the wayside in October…I’d like to keep her nurtured and loved throughout the course of 2014
Weddings – Only agree to shoot ten weddings, no more. “Why?” you ask. Well, while I love, love, love shooting weddings there is quite a bit that goes in to them. Between my two businesses I’ve found that shooting more than ten weddings tends to stretch my ability to reach the level of service Studio 828 provides. The LAST thing I want to do is fall short for my client family. I won’t have it.
That being said, this could change with the new added photography partnership, the photographer that joins the 828 family very well could be a stellar wedding photog who wants nothing more than to book 30 weddings a year, in which case we’d make an amazing team!
Welcome 2014! Let’s DO this! Keep your eyes peeled for new promotions in the coming months! I would love to shoot for you!
PS – I will have a few shoots available in Sarasota Jan 28-30. If you’ve been considering a session with 828 on my next visit, now is the time to get in touch and get those appointments on the books! Beauty or boudoir photography, a family portrait session, email Cat@Studio-828.com today.
Good morning wedding universe! I think it is safe to say that Spring is FINALLY here!!! (No thanks to you Punxatawney Phil). As of this weekend, Asheville is officially the most beautiful place on earth. What do I do when I have a little free time with weather such as this? Have some friends over for a photo shoot!
I’ve been doing my due diligence, researching current wedding trends, what’s hot, what’s not, that kind of thing. One major commonality I’ve been finding in recent wedding photography blogs and postings is a complete lack of focus with the grooms and groomsmen. The bride gets ALL the glory! Well, Studio 828 wedding photography does things a little differently. While, of course our brides are glorious (as noted in these images below)- let’s bring it home for the gents shall we? Bravo guys! Bravo!
Cat Ford-Coates is not your average wedding photographer. She is creative, focused and treats each wedding with the utmost care and attention to detail not found with other Asheville and Sarasota wedding photographers.
Our clients are looking for heirlooms, for artwork versus snapshots burned onto a CD. This of course is what draws them to Studio 828 Photography as their wedding photography company.
Studio 828 Photography provides wedding day coverage primarily in Asheville NC but also in the surrounding areas of Hendersonville, Tryon, Brevard and Charlotte. In addition we are available for weddings in Sarasota FL, Manhattan NY and beyond.
Not looking for a wedding photographer? We are also available for senior and glamour photography sessions. Email Cat@Studio-828.com for your appointment today.