How to Choose a Photographer

How do you choose a photographer? Why do you need a photographer?


How to Choose a Photographer

How do you choose a photographer? Why do you need a photographer?

What do you need a photographer for, exactly?

In today's digital age of cell phones and the ever changing landscape of photography you might find this a confusing question. Why would you need a portrait photographer if you can just shoot it with your phone and upload it to social media? That's really all that counts anyway, right?

At Studio 828 Photography here in Asheville, it is our mission to ensure that we aren't just providing you pretty pictures. Yes, of course our imagery is lovely but, it is powerful too. Our work is more than "just photography". How do you want the world to perceive you? How do you dream of being photographed? When was the last time you were empowered in your own self? 

When  you look back on portraits of your grandparents and great grandparents, what are you really seeing? It is more than a piece of paper that was developed in the dark and put into an album. It is your history, your lineage, your legacy from all of the people who have loved you. That is why you are looking for a photographer, and not just any photographer at that. You are looking for someone that knows not only how to use photoshop and the basic settings on their camera but; how to engage with you during your photo shoot, how to pose you in such a way that you're presented in your absolute best self, someone that sees YOU and creates artwork that conveys all of the beauty that those that love you see everyday.

At what point do you need a professional portrait photographer?

You need a photographer when you are celebrating a milestone or a relationship with someone you love. Generations portraiture with your mother and your daughter, sisters, best friends. You need a professional when you're ready to create a piece of artwork that your children and grandchildren will cherish when you're gone. You need a professional portrait photographer when you want to celebrate your family and document that love, today. For beautiful heirlooms, showcased on  your walls so that every single day your children have a visual reminder of the people who love them the most in their lives, for years to come. 

How do you decide ON a portrait photographer? 

Well, it takes a bit of research. You want to look around through photo galleries from photographers in and around your area and see whose work speaks to you. From there, you reach out to each of those photographers to discuss what you have in mind for your photo shoot and the types of artwork you're considering for your display. You will discuss things like products (gallery wrapped canvases, striking metal prints, matted fine art prints, and more). You will discuss each photographer's steps of service and how they operate their photography business. You will discuss pricing with each of the photographers and whether or not you will be viewing those images in person or via online gallery. You will discuss whether or not that photographer simply puts everything on a disc, whether or not it is edited and how you will receive said artwork. From that point, you should have the education from each of your selections and be able to make an informed decision of who to employ for your portraiture. Whether or not that is Studio 828 Photography, we do hope you will give us the opportunity for your consideration. Read up on our FAQ page for more details about our process and feel free to reach out on our contact page for your personal consultation
Contemporary Portraiture is, by far and away the heart of our business. Photographing women, at any stage of her life and shining light upon her to reflect everything wonderful about her and to celebrate that wonder to create her legacy.
Cat Ford-Coates is not your average portrait photographer. Her work has been described as "romantic, modern and sincere". She is creative and focused, and treats each client and photography session with the utmost care and attention to detail.
"Our clients are looking for heirlooms. For artwork versus snapshots burned to a disc."  This of course is what draws them to Studio 828 Photography as their photography company. Tell me, how do YOU dream of being photographed?"

Why do you have a portrait session?

Because you are worth more than your to do list. Because being photographed, at your best, this very afternoon is freeing. Yes, you enjoy the pampering with your personal style consultation (because c'mon ladies, we've all gotta get out of yoga pants at some point), professional hair and makeup and a portrait photographer that spends your entire photo shoot coaching you from pose to pose, giving you confidence because now you KNOW that you really WILL look your best and it isn't just fluff which, in turn translates to a sparkle in your eyes in your pictures. Because whether you choose to purchase our top collection or a single image, whatever you decide, for the rest of your life will bring you back to feeling confident in your own self. Suddenly you aren't just the one behind the camera anymore. Investing in your own self means that you ARE valuable (GASP!) "Oh no, I couldn't. Just get the kids, they are so special to me, I look a mess anyway." Shenanigans ladies! Have you ever considered how important YOU ARE TO THEM? Have you considered what defining and embracing your own beauty, and on your own terms really means? What it teaches your daughters? 

What will it teach you? 

You are beautiful. I know it. Your spouse knows it. Your kids know it. Your parents know it. You, yourself knew it at one point. Where has she gone? Let's find her together.


Photo Shoot FAQ

Have questions around a portrait session in our Asheville portrait studio? We've collected our top ten most asked questions and posted them here for your review. 

Photo Shoot FAQ

Have questions around a portrait session in our Asheville portrait studio? We've collected our top ten most asked questions and posted them here for your review. 

portfolio - heirlooms - collection - photographer packages

Photo Shoot FAQ

As you look around the internet, trying to find an Asheville portrait photographer that seems right for you, you will also probably find yourself wondering a few things: "How do people prepare for a photo shoot? How much does it cost? Oh, they can just "photo shop" it...can't they? What if I just want digitals?" Also, I'm sure there is so much more.

Listed below you will find an F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) that most, if not all of my clients ask at one point or another. Let's go ahead and take care of those questions right now. It is my job to inform you, and guide you to being at ease so that all you have to concern yourself with at your makeover and photo shoot is You.

Frequently Asked Questions By Asheville Photography Clients

1. What do I wear for my photo shoot?

With Studio 828 Photography we will photograph you in up to 5 different outfits. Each of our sessions and posing maps are tailored to each of our photography clients here in Asheville so we recommend that you bring any and everything that you feel beautiful in. Let's run the gamut with your wardrobe choices! Some key things to keep in mind:

  • Wear a button down to the studio. This will make the transition from the hair and makeup chair to your first wardrobe choice much easier.
  • Think texture OVER print. Big, bold and crazy patterns distract from your face, especially in photos. Textures however photograph beautifully. Textures are: cable knit, denim, lace (GAH! I love shooting lace), tulle, chiffon, velvet, even fur. Also, if you absolutely must have a print, consider pairing it with a cardigan or a texture to tone the print down around your face.
  • Bring a range. While we only photograph you in 5 outfits, bring 20. We'll put things together at your arrival and who knows? Maybe I'll even put together options you haven't thought to wear yet!
  • One of the resources THAT I LOVE is Rent the Runway. They're perfect not only for the woman that participates in several functions and doesn't want to wear the same dress twice, but also for the woman that doesn't really do the "dress thing" all that often and needs something EPIC for her photo shoot but no real occasion to wear it after the fact. I love using Rent the Runway so much, I have partnered with them for my clients. That is HOW much I love them!!


2. Boudoir? Really? People do this?

Absolutely. There are so many aspects to boudoir photography. Some women do it to reclaim themselves, others as gifts for their significant other. The bottom line is that a boudoir photography experience in Asheville with Studio 828 Photography is empowering. It takes guts to break it down like that, and for those of you that haven't experienced it yet, consider what it must feel like to take the time and care into putting yourself out there, exactly as you are. To embrace your femininity and define your own beauty on your own terms. Wowza.I am so thankful that I get to help bring that joy and that strength to so many women.

boudoir is a style of photography where you accept exactly who you are and embrace your own sensuality. nothing more. nothing less.


3. How do I prepare for my photo shoot? What do I need to do?

Look, each of us has our own routine but when you're preparing for any kind of photo shoot you really do need to consider the details. Hair, nails, waxing, skin, to tan or not to tan, etc. These are our recommendations:

  • Hair cut/color: this should be scheduled 10-14 days prior to your photo shoot. This gives your hair the time it needs to settle in to the new style and texture.
  • Nails: Take advantage of the purpose for having your shoot ladies. Go hit up the salon for a mani-pedi. Your hands and nails will be in the pictures and you want them to be polished and looking gorgeous. We do recommend staying away from heavier tones in photographs but, you know what works best for you. Can't decide? Go with a clean polish. The buffing and shaping alone will help immensely.
  • Waxing: 3-5 days prior to your shoot. Skin can be very disagreeable when it comes to waxing. No one wants giant red welts in their pictures. No one.
  • To tan or not to tan. Tanning bed or spray? This answer is not going to be popular with many but we do not endorse tanning prior to a photo shoot. I know many of you are looking for that sun kissed glow but with so many of the results, we find that fake or real, tanning does nothing but age you. And fake tans, girl, no one and I mean NO ONE wants that weird candy orange glow in their pictures. 


4. How much do you alter the pictures? 

Ah retouching. This seems to be such a hot topic these days. My job as a photographer and artist is to not only take the most beautiful images that you've ever seen of yourself but to create beautiful artwork. Another part of my job is to ensure that you feel absolutely stunning in your images. I employ many methods to this, one of which is Photoshop. What I will not do is make you look like someone else. Our posing methods take care to emphasize only the parts about you that you love the most and this posing also helps to minimize what you may not love quite so much. Our post processing process is to help create the artwork from the vision that we have going in to your session. Will I "retouch" you down 40 pounds? No. Will I smooth your skin and remove shadows? Yes. My general rule of thumb is that you don't take away the lines (we've earned them afterall) but we take away the shadows the lines create.


5. What if I just want digital copies? 

Digital copies of any product purchased are included at high printable and web resolution. For example, say you purchase a collection of 5 images at 8x12 and a gallery wrapped canvas at 16x20. You will receive digital files of the 5 images sized to 8x12 and the file for your canvas at 16x20.


6. What is an in person reveal and ordering session?
We do not offer online galleries for our Asheville photography clients. We will meet following your session (usually about one week after your photo shoot with us) and at this meeting we will review all of your edited imagery together and choose your favorites and decide on which package works best for you. It is at this meeting that you decide on the artwork that fits your needs for your pictures. These sessions also give me an opportunity to provide you with the service to help guide you to the best product for your needs as well as to create impactful collections for your wall art.


7. Do you photograph families, newborns, or seniors?

Of course I do! My specialization is in photographing women and the people they love. 

  • Family Photography: we photograph a beauty session with Mom and bring the rest of the family in for the last 30 minutes. We've found that kids can be distracted/ing for an hour long photo shoot and 30 minutes seems to be the sweet spot whether in the studio or on location. Let's start with some time to pamper you, Mom. We'll create beautiful portraits of and for you and then we can bring the family in for some lovely family photos too.
  • Senior Photography: YOU BETCHA! We love, love, LOVE shooting senior sessions! We can shoot in studio, on location or both! We'll highlight their loves and dreams and have a ball! This is a great opportunity to showcase their love of sports, dance, theatre, reading, chess you name it! 


8. What is your cancellation policy?

Once your photo shoot has been scheduled with our calendar, cancellations are accepted up to 7 days prior to your appointment. Cancellations made within the 7 day window do require a $350 rescheduling fee. "Why?" you might ask? Because once your appointment is confirmed with our calendar, we do not accept any other business during that time-frame and are required to pay our stylists for the time they block off as well. Of course, we understand that emergencies do come up, and in some instances we may choose to waive that fee however we find that having this policy in place detracts from last minute cancellations.


9. Do you keep the files? What if we cannot purchase at our ordering session?

I love my artwork. And, I would love to say that I keep every last file, from  every last client but, I simply do not. What I love, I print. I love seeing my artwork tangibly, holding it in my hands and seeing it on my walls. Two weeks following your reveal and ordering session, un-purchased images are deleted from our archives. 


10. Do you photograph men?

Absolutely. Whether men come to my studio with their significant other, or on their own they are always welcome.

I love photographing men's portraiture. It's powerful.

photographing men in asheville