About the Photographers

Based in Asheville, North Carolina Cat Ford-Coates and her team strive to give only a customized experience to each person they photograph. Tailoring each session to the client and their needs and dreams of being photographed allows them to hold not only a safe space, but one that allows the client to feel as though they are able to step into their best self to create portraiture that will outlive them. For their children, and their children's children. We are Studio 828 Photography.


About the Photographers

Based in Asheville, North Carolina Cat Ford-Coates and her team strive to give only a customized experience to each person they photograph. Tailoring each session to the client and their needs and dreams of being photographed allows them to hold not only a safe space, but one that allows the client to feel as though they are able to step into their best self to create portraiture that will outlive them. For their children, and their children's children. We are Studio 828 Photography.

Asheville photographer cat ford-coates - accredited master photographer the portrait masters

Cat Ford-Coates, Principal Photographer

Philosophy: As a product of the 'TV Generation', I have always struggled with my own imperfections; my weight especially. As a child, then young woman and my exposure to the feminine idols always left the question, "Why can't I look like them?"

My purpose with 828 is to provide a stellar experience to anyone that has EVER asked that question. Every woman should feel amazing in her own skin & it is my job to help regular, everyday women to realize their own light & be empowered by their own SELF. A day with us is about ensuring you look and feel beautiful, to celebrate You.

  • Header Image courtesy of You Are Stunning Photography

  • Image just above courtesy of Michelle Taylor Portrait


I've been photographed professionally a few times over the course of my life. I would even attribute my very first photo shoot, in Tampa, Florida, as the reason I am a Photographer today. He saw me. He saw beauty within me and the kicker was that it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was expected and that shifted everything in my world.

With each photographer I’ve worked with in my adult and professional life, when I first saw the images they had created; thought about the experience as a whole, it literally left me breathless. I thought to myself, "Every woman should experience this." 

My Photo Shoot with Lauren Gregory Photography

Images courtesy  Lauren Gregory Photography , Columbia, SC

Images courtesy Lauren Gregory Photography, Columbia, SC

Preparing for the session(s) in and of itself can be nerve wracking. What do I bring to wear? God does this even still fit? Is this too over the top? How much weight have I put on? ...And then I remembered my own rules for client wardrobes and calmed down: texture, form fitting, accessories, neck lines. Breathe, Cat.

Sitting in hair and makeup, we of course have fun. It is always so reassuring when you know that it is in everyone's best interest that you truly look as great as you can before a photo shoot. We laughed, made jokes, we even selfied (because, duh!). And, going through the experience with Lauren and her team of course I was nervous, and felt awkward but having direction given during the shoot was priceless. That direction kept me from falling down the rabbit hole of self doubt. My twelve-year-old self was quieted. Whew! 

But, it wasn't until I saw that first image that everything washed over me and I realized the impact that our work as photographers truly has. The woman I saw looking back at me was everything I aspire to be in my day-to-day life. She is confident, and feminine, and powerful, and accomplished, and loved. She is LOVED. That is powerful stuff, right there. It was in that moment that I realized that every woman should experience a portrait session for herself. These portraits are more valuable to me than most anything I own. They are photographs OF me. They document an incredible time in my life. They represent everything I hope to inspire in others in learning to value their own self.

That is what I do. I am a Portrait Photographer.

If you have one hour of air
And many hours to go,
You must breathe slowly.

If you have one arm’s length
and many things to care for,
You must give freely.

If you have one chance to know God
And many doubts, you must
Set your heart on fire.

We are blessed.

Each day is a chance.
We have two arms.
Fear wastes air.
— mark nepo

katie richard - photographer - asheville photographer - photo studio

Katie Richard, Associate Photographer

I picked up a camera at an early age and I never set it back down. My passion for nature, new adventures, and sharing that beauty with others has been the driving force in my photography. Taking portraits of people is no different. I love the intimate experience of a portrait session and allowing my clients the chance to see themselves from a new perspective, in their infinite and unique beauty. Allow me to create heirloom portraits that you and your family will cherish forever. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, because not one of us is promised tomorrow. I believe that photography is magical and I am a magic maker.

Let me help you share your story with the world. Whether you are coming in to celebrate love, family, a milestone, or yourself this IS a cause of celebration. I studied Photojournalism and received my bachelors degree in Mass Communication at UNC-Asheville. I live in Fairview North Carolina with my husband and two children, Isabella and Luca. When I’m not taking pictures, you can find me chasing waterfalls and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Click here to see Katie's Portrait Gallery




photo studio - Asheville professional team - studio manager

Morgan Grigsby - Studio Manager & Assistant to the Photographer

Ever since I was young I always loved photographing nature, animals, and my friends. I love to capture beauty in the simple every day moments. My sister is also a photographer and from a very young age I was constantly modeling for her. I love everything about photography and how it captures the most beautiful moments that can never be lost. I thrive in a room full of people, feeding off their magnetic energy and enjoying every moment that life has to offer. When I am not at the studio I am enjoying Crossfit, Hiking, and time spent on my farm with my husband and 2 dogs.

I truly enjoy working at Studio 828 Photography because everyday I am learning and surrounded by inspiration! It is an amazing sight to watch our clients discover their true beauty when they see the images created by our amazing photographers. I have never felt my spirit shine brighter than when I see a portrait of myself, what a beautiful gift it is to view yourself as the world sees you in your true beauty. The opportunity to work for Cat has helped me grow into a strong, kind, fierce woman who is ready to take on the world!


makeup artist - asheville makeup artist wendy ballance - professional makeup for photography



Wendy has been working as a professional makeup artist since 2003. A Georgia girl, born and raised, then fell in love with North Carolina! Starting out with CHANEL Cosmetics, she learned quickly that great makeup was worth every penny, and a gorgeous face was priceless! With a Bachelors degree in Music/Arts, she always knew she would be in the realm of Arts and Beauty for her career. Wendy is the owner of Blush Asheville and she and her insanely talented and skilled team work over 150 weddings throughout western North Carolina every year. Alongside weddings, Wendy is also contracted by FOX news. and works numerous jobs in film, television, and print, and is a single mom to her precious son Fletcher Leigh.

In 2016, Wendy traveled to Miami, Florida where she studied under her favorite makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic (Kim Kardashian's makeup guru).

"I am constantly training and learning" says Wendy, and "I am always inspired by the Blush artist, and constantly working on how our brand is going to grow. I am blessed and love working with Studio 828 Photography & am so thankful for the opportunity to work and grow with Cat in her business. We might just take over the world." (hahaha only kinda kidding on that last part ;-D )

Cheers to #828blush

Follow Wendy on IG: @wendybblush

Wendy's Portfolio

IMG_8674.JPGphotography makeup artist - photo studio - creative



Mandy started her journey in the beauty industry in 1997 as a Cosmetologist in Dallas, Texas. Her family recently moved to Asheville, North Carolina and are enjoying their home in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. For weddings, special events, and photo shoots she concentrates on enhancing your natural beauty, helping you to look and feel your very best. With Mandy, you are never a number. "In personalizing each of my clients' services specifically for their needs and wants is where the fun is. I look forward to meeting new faces and helping women and men achieve health and beauty."

Mandy adhere's to that philosophy with each and every client here at Studio 828 Photography.

Mandy has worked closely with Cat at Studio 828 Photography since arriving in Asheville. This experience has allowed her to grow both as an artist, a team member, and a business owner. You can find Mandy staying through the photo shoot to assist during your session so that you are cared for and look your absolute best throughout your different looks and setups.


Follow Mandy on Instagram: @gorgeousbymandynichole


Mandy's Portfolio


Our Promise to You

Portrait photography is the heart of our business. We are constantly working to evolve our service to provide a luxurious and boutique experience for every client that walks through our door for their makeover and photo shoot here in Asheville. It is our job to create the most beautiful portrait you have ever seen of yourself and our goal is to help you see that beauty in yourself from this point forward. 

A photo session with Studio 828 Photography is not only fun, it is empowering. Many women choose to book these sessions because of an anniversary, upcoming holiday, meeting a weight loss goal but really, our reason for photographing this genre is because each and every one of you deserves it. Do it for You.

Give yourself permission to embrace your own beauty.


Associate Photographers

Associate Photographers

Associate Photographers at Studio 828 Photography are the everyday face of our business. They are who serve our Asheville client base with creativity, skill, and joy. Here is where you will find examples of their work and the experience they offer our community. Please feel free to reach out about working with them for your photographic needs.

Associate Photographer Portfolios

Katie Richard, Associate

photographer in asheville- studio - photo shoot - queen for a day
Katie Richard, photographed by Cat Ford-Coates

Katie Richard, photographed by Cat Ford-Coates


associate photographer promotion

In welcoming our Associates into the fold here at Studio 828, we wanted to offer more than just a pretty portfolio and hope for the best. We wanted to offer a beautiful portfolio and an opportunity for our audience to take advantage of Katie's incredible work and have it be accessible to them. It's your lucky day!

Katie has been a freelance portrait and event photographer since 2012 but has been studying studio portraiture with me for most of 2018. She isn't fresh out of college never having served before. She is a consummate professional.  She is however eager to create some incredible portraiture for people here in Asheville.

Do you need new portraits? For work, for family, or even just for yourself? Let's get you booked! For bookings through the fall we are offering an incredible promotion! See the details below and if you're ready to book, let's get you scheduled!

Portraits with Associates

  • Design consultation

  • Professional hair & makeup

  • Photo shoot in our Asheville photo studio in up to 5 looks

    • on location with additional fee

  • in person reveal and ordering session

  • $300 Image credit toward your portrait order

Contact below for pricing information & package options

Name *