Mother Daughter Photo Shoot

Anita and Brittani are two of my favorite people! The love these two share for one another, holy crimeny! They have this wonderful relationship both as mother and daughter and as best friends!

best friends, mother and daughter, asheville photo shoot, studio

They came to me to celebrate that relationship and to be a part of our portrait book, “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters” and I couldn’t be happier! I adored having you in the studio, ladies!





Celebrating 40 and Fabulous {Beauty Photographer}

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Hair and Makeup: Daisy Chavers, Love, Daisy Salon

Celebrating 40 with everything you are! Nicole came to Studio 828 Photography with her daughter for a portrait session. Instead of shirking away from her birthday, she is embracing it in all it’s glory and creating a beautiful memory with her daughter.

grace - beauty - turning 40 - portrait - photographer

I always love it when moms bring in their daughters for their session. We play dress up and have fun in the studio but, little do the daughters know that in the game of “girl’s day” we are actually teaching them the value of SELF. She and her mother now, will have beautiful portraits for a lifetime. Portraits of the day. Portraits of their love for one another. Portraits they can both, always look back on to find the spark in their eyes.

When I delivered Nicole’s folio, she was going through the images and there is an image of her daughter she simply adores and she looks up and says to me “Now, I’ll always be able to remember her just like that…” It is so true. Have you ever had a memory, you thought for sure would be bright and bold in your thoughts forever? And then, little by little, that memory fades? It gets filed back in your subconscious behind all of the new bright and bold memories you make as time moves on.

Don’t wait. Celebrate everything you are, right now. Exist in photos for and with the people you love.

portrait - daughter - beauty
Beautiful portraits of a daughter

Are you interested in a portrait session with Studio 828 Photography? Get more info today about a beauty portrait session here in Asheville.

30 Days of a beautiful you {Summer photography contest Asheville}

summer photography contest - asheville - mature woman - photographer - portrait photographer asheville
A Beautiful You. Summer photography contest in Asheville with Studio 828 Photography. You deserve beautiful photos of yourself. Enter today.

As I was going through the 28 days to gorgeous challenge last month, there were lots of little moments for me to see beauty in my own self and my own life and I got to thinking. “Cat, it is your JOB, your amazing purpose to see beauty in everyone and to show them that beauty through your work.” Well, why not expound on that 28 days TO gorgeous journey and take it a step farther? Let’s do 30 days of a beautiful you. From now until June 30 I am accepting nominations from women all over wnc to take part in this event and it is going to be a doozie! I will photograph 30 women from July 10 – August 10 whose stories really resonate with me. I must admit, 30 photo shoots on top of my regular client base in 30 days is going to be a tough nut to crack. That being said, I have to remind myself that it is my purpose to show you the beauty I see in you. That purpose does nothing more than inspire and excite me to no end! Whether you are a 20 something, a mom, a grandmother…I want to photograph you.

How it works:

  • Share your story with me using the contact information below. Tell me Why, Who you are, What you love in life and what you hope to gain from a makeover and photo shoot with us (is it some much-needed pampering? time to focus on just you? have you recently reached an amazing personal goal? you’re ready to really SEE what others see in you already?)
  • I will hand-pick 30 winners based on their stories. Feel free to enter for yourself or nominate a friend! Heck, do BOTH!
  • Winners to receive our full photo shoot experience from personal consultation, professional hair and makeup styling, photo shoot all the way through your in person reveal and ordering session.
  • The chosen winners will receive our makeover and photo session for a $150 retainer that will be applied 100% towards any product purchased at their reveal AND a $150 print credit. That is $300 towards any purchase made from your photo shoot.
    • Retainer is non-refundable
    • Print credit is not redeemable for cash.
    • Cancellations and rescheduling must occur no later than 7 days before your scheduled photo shoot

What we need from you:

  • Signed model release (your images will be shown in social media, print and online)
  • Your ability to be photographed between July 10 and August 10.
  • Your beautiful self, just as you are

What are you waiting for? Enter today.

Glamour Party {Asheville Beauty Photographer}

This past weekend, Studio 828 Photography teamed up with Independent Sales Director Ashley Fender of Mary Kay to host a day of beauty with women here in Asheville. You might remember Ashley from a recent post where this glamour party was announced (if not, you can read about it here). When she and I met earlier last month, and during our photo shoot, we had gotten to talking about how we absolutely LOVE our jobs! Corny, I know but so true. It is our job to see the beauty in every woman we come in contact with and provide her with a service for her to find that in herself. Duh! What an amazing purpose, right?

Well, I can promise you two things:

  1. Each and every woman that came in for her appointment
    1. came in a little unsure but excited
    2. left feeling beautiful
  2. My makeup ran down my face pretty much the entire day (thank you coconut oil)<<<even I have a bad makeup day from time to time. I’m only human ya know 🙂

In all seriousness though, I feel so blessed to have photographed each and every one of you. Thank you for taking just a bit of time out of your holiday weekend to enjoy one another and yourselves.



beauty photography; women; emowerment; mother daughter; best friends; asheville photographer
So much fun photographing these amazing women!

Are you considering a beautiful portrait session to celebrate you? Maybe you would like to come in for a makeover and photo shoot with your best friend, mom or sister? I would love to photograph you. No holiday needed.




Beautiful Portraits with Wildflower Bridal {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

Wow! Remember my last post where I explained how coming to your photo shoot prepared with outfits that you love is paramount to an amazing photo shoot? It is soooo true. Margaux is such a perfect example of this! Before her shoot, we emailed back and forth about ideas and she even took cell phone snapshots of outfits she had in mind for her photo shoot with Studio 828 Photography. I had a blast shooting for Margaux and her wonderful style beams through in her imagery. Thank you Margaux!!!

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Photographer’s Assistant: Anita Bryant

Hair & Makeup: Daisy Chavers, Love, Daisy

Model: Margaux Shrager, Wildflower Bridal

wedding gown - asheville bridal portrait photographer - heirloom fashion; 70s chic; pay dress up for your photo shoot; studio 828 photography professional portraits; branding; studio 828 photography in asheville fierce; casual headshots; modern beauty photography in asheville wedding dress; unique goens; wildflower bridal; bride; portrait photographer in asheville nc


Are you considering a beautiful portrait session? I would love to shoot for you.




Preparing for your Photo Shoot {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

“Preparing for your photo shoot? What do you mean? I thought I just washed my face, showed up with a few outfits and you work your magic with professional hair and makeup?” Yes. That is kind of true. The other side to that coin is that, the more you are ready for your photo shoot with your outfits, getting your nails done, and shaping those eyebrows..girl it makes a world of difference! Remember, the images we will create with you are images that you will have for a lifetime. Don’t you want to make the best of that? Create such a lovely heirloom?

Many clients have a few different needs with their pictures. Not only do they need updated head shots for their professional branding, but also, they’re looking for beautiful images of themselves in their favorite outfits. We do indeed play dress up! We can even take it a little farther with some beautiful, floor-length tulle skirts or sequined dresses I have available in the studio. That being said, what do you have in your own wardrobe that runs the gamut of style? Professional outfits, a beautiful dress or gown, casual sweaters with jeans, gorgeous draping tops, scarves and the list goes on.

A beautiful example of this is from my client Spencer. She did an absolutely beautiful job of preparing for her session and brought at least ten outfits with her. When she arrived, we went through those outfits together and picked five beautiful pieces for her photo shoot here in Asheville. After her professional makeup by Zack Russell from Makeup at the Grove Arcade, she looked absolutely stunning and her session went beautifully! See for yourself!

preparing for your photo shoot - set mapping - 5 outfits

Isn’t she gorgeous? Gah!!! We paired her clothing against several beautiful backdrops, fixed her hair in both up and down positions to create a different feel for each set of images and she knocked it out of the park! Some images have a softer, more feminine feel, some more professional for her work and others more casual for a lovely keepsake portrait. Thank you Spencer. I absolutely adored shooting for you!

beautiful - portraits - avl - photographer in asheville

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Makeup: Zack Russell, Makeup at the Grove Arcade

Are you looking for an Asheville portrait photographer? I would love to shoot for you! 828-275-9932

Preparing for one EPIC weekend of Photography! {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

I have been preparing for several weeks now to put together the Femme Frames event November 9th and 10th. The weekend is FINALLY upon us and I am so excited I might actually jump up and down…and then I got to thinking. Believe it or not, photographers all over the world host marathon photography events like this, and it might actually behoove people to understand what all goes in to preparing such an event. Well, I am hosting one. Why WOULDN’T I share how I go about getting ready for it?

  1. Make it Special! Look, anyone can book out a calendar whether it is for a single day or two. The question is “What is it about your photography event that differentiates it from anyone elses?” OK, your photography is pretty good…but there are hundreds of other photographers too.
    1. I try to make my sessions special by personalizing not only my shooting and editing style to each client, but I bring a little extra handmade hair pieces - asheville photographer - beauty photographyalong with me. I’ve made three dresses that my clients are welcome to wear if they want too. I’ve made a few hair pieces they can wear and I provide a professional makeover with artisans from the Asheville area.
      1. Amanda Fitts Lewis – Lola Salon and Gallery, Ashlee Knight – The Secret Spa, Tiziana Severse – Aubergine Salon
    2. I personalize their session to them. By having conversations and asking them to complete a simple survey I go into their session knowing what THEY are envisioning for their photography, the purpose of it (whether it is a gift for themselves or for someone special), what they love about themselves and maybe a few things they don’t like so much. All of this information helps me to tailor my shooting TO them. I’m not here to simply point and shoot. These sessions have the capacity to be truly impactful to each of you. It is my job to care for and design each session with that in mind.
    3. Mimosas. Enough said.
  2. Inspiration.
    photography preparation - asheville portraits
    Making your inspiration tangible helps to solidify your process and in turn, your final product
    1. I make time to research in magazines and online for photography that I identify from what I know of each client. What can I do for them that will bring them joy with their finished images? Do these clients identify with Audrey Hepburn or Angelina Jolie?
    2. I carve out some time where I can sit down and draw out a posing plan to help along my vision for their session. Now, as you can see I am not much of an artist when it comes to drawing, however I do find that even sketching ideas out on paper truly helps me to solidify the vision that I have for my clients. ***That vision is of course based on conversations that I have had with each client and not just random thoughts I’m pulling out of the air. 
  3. Keep Organized! Believe it or not, if you don’t go into these marathon sessions even remotely organized…you’re done for!
    1. Setup client info sheets and model releases into Client folders before you even leave your office. Have each folder titled and ready with pens in one place. Bam! Before you even take your “Before” photo, have them complete the information. Not only will you get the legalese out-of-the-way, you’re making a professional first impression and then you don’t have to worry about chasing down a model release after-the-fact when you have that one amazing shot that you cannot use for your marketing because they never signed one.
    2. Have a backup camera, lenses, memory cards and batteries! Just do it. Even if you rent an extra for the day, that peace of mind is totally worth it!
    3. Bring a charger with you. Not just one for your phone either. I’m talking about a camera battery charger.
    4. Have copies of your price lists on site. You can give them to your client again as they’re leaving when you’ve scheduled their in person viewing. (Yes, that also means you should bring a calendar to schedule that viewing)

OK, I’m off to print a few model release forms to have on hand this weekend! If you’ve come across this blog post and are in need of a beauty pick-me-up this weekend, I do have a couple of appointments available on Sunday. Feel free to email me for your free personal consultation. I’d love to shoot for you!

Do YOU Value Portraiture? {Asheville Portrait Photography}

“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. “

Derek Walcott

Let me ask you something…Do you exist in pictures for and with your family? Your friends? When was the last time you had a real image taken? Not one someone snapped with their cell phone, but a REAL image. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite images are taken with a cell phone. In fact, on the Meet the Photographer page on my website, there is a picture of my husband and I that was taken at the Mountain State Fair by a friend in the car behind us.

On a side note, the story behind it is funny. I am deathly afraid of heights! Seriously! I even have vertigo going up two steps on a ladder. This summer was a huge accomplishment for me as I managed to not only climb UP 8 feet into scaffolding, but STAY UP there to paint for a mural. At any rate, in the image it seems as though I am resting my head comfortably on my husband’s shoulder “Awww lovey dovey moment”! WRONG! I was holding on to the side bar of the car for dear life and keeping my head turned as far away from the view over the side of the car! So, every time I see it I giggle.

Now, when I look back through our pictures, that cell phone image will always make me smile. It will for the rest of my life. I know that. It was a funny moment, and that is wonderful! Photography EXISTS so that we can capture moments in time. The other side to that coin is that I also don’t have any pictures, I mean REAL pictures of myself. i have been photographing clients and friends for 18 years and I think there might be THREE images of me, in that time taken by chance, by pros.

“WHAT?!?! Cat!!!” I know, I know. I market my business around existing in these pictures, if not for yourself, then, at the very least for your loved ones. And here I am, not existing myself. After I’m gone, or after my youth is gone, I have almost nothing from the last twenty years. Well, I have plenty of facebook profile pics from my very own cell phone, but no real portrait. No imagery. Nothing that exists of me from this time in my life. I challenge each of my clients to DO this. That they should value not only the final product of imagery but also the experience. The stylists, the laughter, the pampering and yet…I have done none of this! Why? Honestly, for the same reasons you haven’t. Because I am not as thin as I once was, or because I can’t afford it at the moment, or because, simply I haven’t valued myself enough. Typing that last sentence kind of hurts a bit. It is true. I know it is stupid. I am important. I am valuable. I deserve to be documented. I deserve to be treated well. I know all of these things to be true…on paper. I also know that I have my own fears and issues and in order to take a step TO value myself and TO love myself that I too need to take a leap of faith. I have not stepped in your shoes. Well, (gulp) I’m diving in. Keep an eye out on the blog as I’ll be posting the results from my experience here. And if you’re a photographer reading this…shoot me an email. I’m in need of a portrait photographer. 😉 Preferably one in the beauty genre.

Starting a Modeling Portfolio {Asheville Portrait Photographer}

So you want to be a model? Right on! What a FUN and rewarding endeavor! I can say that, I was on your side of the camera for years as a teen and even a little in my twenties. Believe it or not, it is fun but it can also be challenging. No really, I said challenging. No worries, the more time you spend in front of my camera, the easier it becomes. Your nerves subside, your confidence builds, you even start to have fun (Gasp!)

What kinds of images do you need to start a portfolio? It varies from agency to agency but for the beginners out there you will need headshots and full body shots. Initially, you need these images with a relatively neutral background and a very natural “look”. It is actually called the “No makeup, makeup”. I know, you’re reading this with a heavy heart, you’re ready to stand on a ladder in a 20′ gown right in the middle of a landfill with the most amazing hair and makeup ever (And when you’re ready to shoot it, I’ll be there – I LOVE editorial stuff) but no, when you are starting out keep it simple. These agencies want to see the neutrality so they can visualize your person in their clients’ concepts.  You will need two outfits: a causal look with a solid tee or tank top and a pair of jeans, and something dressy that is flattering to your body shape. There is one exception to this general rule of thumb. If you have a physical talent/skill (ie. – a ballerina, aerialist, etc) it would be a good idea for you to bring your costume alongside your two neutral outfits and have your photographer shoot you in “action”.

What should your portfolio look like? Well, back in the day we carried 11×14 port cases with 8×10’s. Those days aren’t necessarily gone, but for the most part your casting will be accomplished online through a gallery with your agent.

Below I’m including a few images from a recent portfolio building session I had in Charlotte. Personally I think she did a great job! and it really gave me pause to consider how many of you out there who are considering modeling as a means to generate income, have some fun and possibly open other doors to opportunities in your career. This young woman was really sweet, followed direction very well (yes, you will need to be able to follow your photographer’s direction almost instinctually and with precision. But that will come with practice.) and we put together some really solid images to start her portfolio.

If you are considering building your modeling portfolio, please feel free to email me or call. My personal email is


An example of a model's calling card or Comp card for short
Example Comp Card”
A young model building her portfolio with a very neutral makeup
A young model building her portfolio with a very neutral makeup
A full body shot including a neutral background
A full body shot including a neutral background
Young model in a staircase
Young model with a “not so neutral” background
This image would make a good presentation for a fitness model. It showcases her femininity and her body shape
This image would make a good presentation for a fitness model. It showcases her femininity and her body shape

casual full length pose with neutral background

young wnc model jumping
Showing your personality in your portfolio can be fun and show that you are open to more than just “look here smile. look here, serious.” Ya know, the standards. Broaden the modeling horizons