Wedding Photography as a Second Shooter {Asheville Wedding Photographer}



Occasionally, I have the opportunity to act as a second shooter for a wedding. Truth be told, it is one of my favorite jobs and I’ve been asked to shoot for a handful of weddings this past summer in this capacity. It is a great way to shoot for local brides without the full-time job as “wedding photographer”. For those of you that know me and my business model, you know that for 2014 I held off on booking very many full weddings as a primary shooter because I have (with three other partners) launched another business here in town (Blue Kudzu Sake Company) and it takes quite a bit of my time and energy. I wanted to be sure that I could give my business and each of my clients the level of service that I have set as a requirement without being too overwhelmed. At any rate, I am always grateful when I get a call from another photographer in town to shoot with them.  “Thank you Ryan! Always a blast to shoot with you!”

I do plan to be booking more of my own weddings for 2015 and have several booked already however, if you are just beginning the search for your wedding photographer here in Asheville and the surrounding areas, please do get in touch as dates are filling up quickly. You can reach me directly at or call 828.275.9932

Primary Wedding Photographer: Ryan Bumgarner

Second Wedding Photographer: Cat Ford-Coates

Locations: UNCA Botanical Gardens, St Lawrence Basillica Catholic Church, Crest Center Pavilion

Wedding Cake: Short Street Cakes

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Cat Ford-Coates’ wedding photography is often described as creative, timeless and sincere. As a wedding photographer, she is motivated, focused and has great attention to detail and loves enjoying her clients and their families on the most special of days. Are you in search of your Asheville wedding photographer? Reach out to Cat directly at or call 828.275.9932 to inquire about your wedding date today.

2015 Brides and Grooms:

  • Complimentary 11×14 Gallery Canvas
  • Complimentary Newborn Photography Session
  • All inclusive wedding photography packages are built with (but certainly not limited to) engagement sessions and second wedding photographers.



So, I’m IN a Wedding {Wedding Photographer is a Bridesmaid}

So, I’m IN a wedding next Spring. To be honest, I’ve never been IN a wedding before. I’ve shot about a million but IN one? Nope. Well, being in my line of business and in a fairly close relationship with the bride-to-be, she confides in me about her planning process pretty regularly. In that confidence, there are also questions. These questions, of course got me to thinking…”Are these regular questions?” or in some cases “Are these real assumptions?” Some of them even stop me in my tracks. That being said I thought I might blog about it here to help any of you that may be planning your upcoming nuptials with the hopes that I may be able to save you some headache.

  1. Hiring a friend will save us some cash
    1. Not always. Sorry to burst your bubble but, your wedding vendors are responsible for executing the biggest day of your adult life. You are joining two families to one and claiming your undying love and faithfulness to one person and maybe, just maybe some of those duties should be left ONLY to professionals and not a buddy from high school because it’ll save you $300
    2. Try to think about it this way: Say you hire your friend Joe. Joe was on your high school football team, you guys get along famously  and you are so glad you ran into him. He’s a “professional” wedding DJ now AND he’s cutting you a super great deal! Score! He doesn’t require a contract, never offers to help plan your timeline, give advice about songs to be played or not to be played, what may or may not be appropriate for cocktail hour verses late night but hey, you were buddies and he’s letting you pay the day of the wedding. Yup, until he shows up a half an hour late (You’re friends, maybe he had car trouble it’s cool). Then, maybe he drinks a little too much during your reception and next thing you know he just hit on your mother in law. What?! Here’s the thing about hiring friends: A lot is taken for granted when you mix business with friendship. That isn’t to say it will always happen but it can. It is up to you to decide which wedding vendors you can trust to your pals, if any. Another thing to consider is that say there is a completely innocent mistake made by your buddy. What happens then? Is the buddy your caterer? The DJ? God forbid, the photographer? What happens to your friendship then? Innocent mistake or not, if the mistake is big enough to put a serious dent in your day, how do you handle your friendship after the fact?
  2. Is the wedding photographer requiring a retainer and a contract normal?
    1. Yes. In fact, every single one of your vendors should require a contract. I don’t care if you’ve met, get along great and could never imagine anything going awry. Guess what, it will. A contract is there to protect both parties and that includes YOU. Whether or not they require a retainer is completely up to them but I would be wary of anyone that did not and here is why:
      1. a retainer is a monetary investment from the client to the vendor to reserve time on that vendor’s calendar. You want the vendor to be invested in your big day right? You want them to reserve that time FOR you. Well, believe it or not weddings are a business and while, there might be a million vendors that specialize in weddings those that are worth their weight are sought after by brides and grooms all throughout wedding season. That retainer paid for by you, and that contract signed by you, are how YOU know that vendor is going to show up for you and not the other six brides that called them about the very same date after you signed your contract.
  3. My wedding venue is asking for insurance from my vendor(s). Do I pay for that?
    1. Don’t panic. Your vendors carry insurance. Call them and they should be more than happy to provide that proof of insurance to the venue directly.
  4. Cat, we’re fighting over the photographer. HELP!
    1. Thumbs Up: Photographer A requires a retainer and a contract, has been published and/or won awards by his or her peers, specializes in weddings, has shot both as a second shooter and main photographer on weddings for at least two seasons, has backup equipment, is insured and responds to your inquiries within 24 hours.
    2. Thumbs down: does not specialize in weddings (I’m serious folks, how are you going to feel when you’re in your 70’s, looking back through your wedding album and your photographs are all half-caught moments, or worse, MISSED all together?), not insured, is a “Shoot and burner” (shoots your wedding and hands over a disc of unedited raw files), has no backup equipment (God forbid their camera body malfunction during the ceremony. Where is that first kiss then?), has no contract, calls you back a week after you left them a message about needing proof of insurance for your venue to tell you they don’t have it. Poof! There goes your venue)
  5. This Wedding Photographer’s Recommendation: Both the bride AND the groom need to prepare their expected budget for the wedding and the priority in which they hold for each aspect and vendor. For instance, my budget is $10,000 and I (obviously) highly regard wedding photography so I expect that we will spend upwards of 35% of our budget on wedding photography. Guess what, maybe my husband places a higher priority on the DJ and has placed wedding photography around 15% of our budget. Well, guess what…now we need to have a conversation before we start signing contracts don’t we? You can imagine how crazy the planning process will get if we have each of our vendors placed at a different priority level. Oh, and by the way, this is also your first marriage prep counseling session. It’s called, learning how to compromise as a couple. 🙂 You’re welcome.

Are these some questions you are coming across planning for your big day? If you’re interested in a no obligation consultation to help plan and photograph your big day, I would love to help. Feel free to get in touch with me and we’ll set up a time to meet. We’ll have some coffee and talk about what you’re planning for your wedding day and how Studio 828 Photography can help. 828.275.9932

Jake and Mitch’s Asheville Wedding {LGBT Wedding Photographer in Asheville}

While many states in the US have started legalizing same sex marriages, North Carolina has yet to cross that threshold.  These two WONDERFUL human beings stepped up to the marriage license plate (no pun intended) and were among the first to be passed along TO the Attorney General’s office from the Asheville Register of Deeds in October of last year. A great step for Southern Equality and the LGBTQ family here in the south.

In May of this year, they went to New York and were legally married in the big apple but really wanted to celebrate that union with their close friends and family. On July 12th, they met that goal and renewed their vows with friends and family here in Asheville. If I hadn’t been so busy taking pictures, I may even have cried.  Gentlemen, it was an honor. Thank You.



PS – One of my FAVORITE pictures of the two of you. I couldn’t resist ❤

Two men at ferris wheel

And, without further adieu, I give you the handsome couple!

#JakenMitch Wedding Video

Wedding Venue: Asheville Art Museum

Wedding Reception Venue: Blue Kudzu Sake Company

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Entertainment: Asheville Wedding DJ, Mitch Fortune Productions

Officiant: Mikel Doucette

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Alex and Alex Get Married {Asheville Wedding Photographer}

Gah! What an amazing day the Alexes had for their wedding! Excitement and prayers for the rain to be kept at bay (AND we were successful!), a beeeeeeautiful venue at Bell’s Cove in Barnardsville, the funniest and kindest bridal party, loving family and some pretty epic dance moves! We had a wonderful day together and I couldn’t be happier for them both.

Congratulations and Thank You for having me shoot for you. It truly was a terrific wedding!



Wedding Video Montage

Wedding Photography: Cat Ford-Coates Studio 828 Photography

Wedding Venue: Bell’s Cove WNC (Barnardsville NC)

Bridal Hair & Makeup: Salon Intuition

Catering: Mark Sternal and team, Frankie Bones Catering

Wedding DJ: Craig Loveland & Mitch Fortune, Mitch Fortune Productions


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Brittney & Chris Engagement {Asheville Engagement and Wedding Photography}

If I said Brittney and Chris were just your everyday engaged couple, I would be lying. I’ve known them both for about 7 years now and watching how they both have grown as humans truly makes my heart smile. When Brittney called me a few weeks ago about scheduling engagement pictures, I went through the roof! I know she wanted the “Happy couple” pictures, outdoors so we definitely scheduled that and then I knew that they needed some intimate couple’s moments as well. Moody, loving, terrific! So, I also had them come in studio for some sexy and fun portraits as well. We did both shoots the same day and I couldn’t be happier about how they turned out! In fact, I’m a little proud. I had done a boudoir shoot for Brittney last fall…they do say one leads to another.  Haha!

As a photographer, I am privy to many instances that most people aren’t. I get to share in moments with them that they might normally share between just one another. Sure, we stage a few but when two people are this close, and this happy, that light shines and it is my job to capture it.

XoXo to you both! I couldn’t be happier for you!


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Their laughter is contagious!!
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One Love
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Hand in Hand
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I just love the simplicity in this
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a little playtime never hurt anyone 😉
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Are you getting married in 2014? Let’s get those engagement sessions and wedding dates on the books! 2014 dates are filling up quickly through October.  I’d love to shoot for you!

Booking Inquiries: 828-275-9932

Amelia and Warren’s Wedding Festival {Asheville Wedding Photography}

bride - groom - first dance
Amelia & Warren taking the dance floor

Amelia & Warren are by far the coolest of couples. Both are very down to earth, conscious of their friends and surroundings…and know how to throw a Great party! They decided that, instead of hosting your regular ole wedding and reception, they’d take it to the next level. They had a Wedding Festival complete with food trucks, bands and camping and hula hoops. Every last detail was accounted for, and the day came off with a quick downpour after their ceremony and bam! Went straight into beautiful weather and all of their wedding guests had a blast!

Thank you both so much for being such an adorable, hilarious and wonderful couple. I wish you both ONLY THE BEST for your lives together.



Food Truck: Melt your Heart

Beer Tent: Pisgah Brewing

Trolley: The Trolley Co.

wedding - bride - hula - photo booth
The bride Amelia Hula hooping her way to the photobooth
bridesmaid - reception - hula fun
One of Amelia’s bridesmaids getting ready for some hula hooping action
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Bride & a couple bridesmaids having fun with their fun photobooth at the reception
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Amelia & Warren taking a moment for some laughs
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Amelia & Warren sharing an exciting moment after the wedding
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Personalized cornhole boards for their wedding festival reception
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Scented fans as gifts for their wedding party
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Is it a car? Is it a bbq? Yes, its both
bridal shower activities - bridal party - bachelorettes
For the bridal shower, the wedding party and friends all made personalized hula hoops for the wedding reception!
ring bearer - wedding party - getting dressed
Warren’s little brother getting ready for the wedding. He was showing me his muscles. Big and strong boy!
groom - tying bowtie - youtube
Warren may have had to relearn from the youtube…just a little
straightening the tie - groom and groomsman
Helpin a brutha out
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Warren and the groomsmen take a minute to be calm, cool and collected before the wedding ceremony
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The groomsmen lookin all kinds a dapper!
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Amelia’s beautiful wedding dress
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Amelia and her friend getting every detail right
brides hair details - getting ready
Setting the last detail in the bride’s hair before she walks down the aisle
wedding rings - detail shots - family heirlooms
Amelia and Warren’s wedding rings with a family heirloom handkerchief
mother of the bride - bride - getting ready - mother daughter moment
Amelia pinning her mother’s corsage before the wedding


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Amelia having a moment with a bridesmaid right before the service
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Getting a little advie from Dad before the wedding
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Amelia and her bridesmaids!
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Ready for the Wedding!
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Having a little fun on the trolley. Yes, Amelia IS the Conductor
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Warren was waiting as Amelia’s father walked her down the aisl
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Wedding party for the ceremony
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The First Kiss!
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Amelia and Warren’s First Kiss…continued 😉
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JUST Married!
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Everyone at the wedding, IN the picture!!! That is love ya’ll!
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The bridal party lookin Gooood!
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Amelia and Warren having a moment…I just happened to have a camera
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I dip, you dip we dip!
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Amelia and Warren had the sweetest utencils! Thank you Maid of Honor!!
cutting of the wedding cake
Working as a team…
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Dont you dare…
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she couldn’t resist 😉
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her eyes are beyond smiling. Too happy!


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Mother of the groom having a laugh
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Amelia and Warren expressing their thanks for friendship, attendance
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Father Daughter dance
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Warren and is Mom sharing a dance
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Warren sharing a moment with his Mom
pisgah brewing - wedding reception - the official wedding beer of asheville
Pisgah Baby! (“P-ber, for hydration”)

Chantal & John’s Wedding {Waynesville Wedding Photography}

What a fun day! I was lucky enough to have had one Mister Ryan Bumgarner call on me to act as his second shooter for this summer afternoon wedding in Waynesville. Once we arrived and I met with the bride…we were bound and determined to have a crazy fun day! Chantal and her wedding party were an absolute blast to shoot for! Thank you Ryan and thank you Chantal and John! It was my pleasure!!!

Wedding Venue: The Waynesville Inn & Spa

Primary Wedding Photographer: Ryan Bumgarner Photography

Wedding Entertainment: Eklipse Entertainment

Bride kissing groom
Come here and kiss me!

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Jessica & Adam’s Engagement Session {Asheville Wedding Photography}

One of this year’s first wedding couples, one Miss Jessica Greenberg & Mister Adam Renfro had me shoot their engagement photography over the weekend. Saturday I was biting my nails because the weather was Gaaaa-Ross!! Hey Sunday, Thanks!

When Jess and I first met we talked about what her vision for her wedding, all the particulars and then found out that Adam was a little more than uncomfortable to have his picture taken. Well, we put a stop to that! I thought they did great!

Congratulations Adam & Jess! Looking forward to your wedding in October!

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Studio 828 Photography, Asheville Wedding Photographer

Chevron Chevron Chevron! {Wedding Trend Tuesday from a Wedding Photographer in Asheville}

So, normally I post specifically about my photography business. Today I got to thinking…”What about wedding related topics that stand out to me?” Right now, the Chevron graphic has made its way into so many aspects of design. Both in weddings and even in branding with companies and everyday fashion. Today I thought I would post specifically in what I’m seeing in weddings with the pretty Chevron business. How are brides and grooms bringing it into their wedding day? I did a little search on pinterest and Wowza! People are so creative! Now, for the sake of disclaimers – Studio 828 Photography did not shoot these images. They are courtesy of pinterest and the pinners as listed. Okay, caveat out of the way…ON with the Chevron!

Mint and white chevron wedding cake
Photo courtesy of Pinterest for Theo Milo Photograpy

Theo Milo Photography Blog

Gold gray and white wedding cake
Photo courtesty of Pinterest for the Bridal Guide

Bridal Guide Photo of the Day

Chevron wedding cookies
Photo courtesy of Style Unveiled via pinterest

Style Unveiled also did a great post on Chevron wedding trends! 

Marigold chevron wedding invitation
Photo via pinterest for Daphine Press

Daphine Press

modern chevron wedding invitations
Photo courtesy of

Wedding Chicks DIY Red & White Wedding

reception games - personalized cornhole - wedding
Style my corntoss! Photo courtesy of – Great Resource!

wedding aisle - chevron - 2013 wedding is a great DIY resource! What fun ideas!

Something Turquoise is a Bridal Inspiration website. Definitely take a click on over! ❤

chevron wedding theme - wedding dress
OK, so this dress is not American made, let alone by a local seamstress HOWEVER – it is a wonderful example of how a chevron style can really be upfitted into a high end design

Photo courtesy of

Now…I’m not done! We’ve seen some great examples from weddings and inspiration boards but WHY are people choosing chevron as their pattern of choice? It’s modern, chic, infuses a boutique yet structured feel to the bride and groom’s most special of days to name a few reasons. Personally, I love it! Some brides are even bringing the graphic to not only their invitations but to handkerchiefs for the groomsmen, in wraps for their bouquets, Thank you’s, party favors, and more. I’m looking forward to this summer when chevron is sure to hit its height of fashion. Thank you trends! Finally a wedding trend people can look back to and not be mortified (can anyone say 1977?)

For those of you just starting your wedding planning process, I would love to help you check wedding photographer off of your todo list! Email today.



Studio 828 Photography, Asheville Wedding Photographer

Team Wedding Asheville Strike Downtown! {Asheville Wedding & Portrait Photographer}

This afternoon, we Ashevillians were quite lucky. It is February and the weather was in the 60’s, and sunny. What does a wedding photographer do in February when she comes across weather like that? She teams up with a wedding dj to take some new portraits to update his marketing efforts! Which wedding dj did I meet up with? None other than one Mitch Fortune of Mitch Fortune Productions. And he isn’t your run of the mill wedding dj. We aren’t talking about setting up a playlist and walking away ladies and gentlemen. We are talking about handling your ceremony without missing a beat, keeping your party goers on the dance floor for as long as you can stand it, bringing along up lighting that will absolutely blow you away! If you are looking for a wedding dj, check him out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

PS – Big thanks to all of the amazing mural and graffiti artists that have painted these wonderful backdrops for us here in Asheville. We wouldn’t be this beautiful without you! ❤

Now, without further adieu. Mitch Fortune.

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates of Studio 828 Photography


Studio 828 Photography in a Nutshell

  • 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.
  • “Creative, Heartfelt & Sincere” These are words often used to describe Studio 828 Photography in Asheville North Carolina, New York and Sarasota. We are available to photograph your wedding anywhere in the world.
  • 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 for your appointment today.