Business Branding Photography for Asheville Massage Therapist

I recently shot a batch of business branding photos for Joanne, a massage therapist starting up a new practice in the Asheville, North Carolina region. We brainstormed together to think of all the most useful images for her website and social media, where entrepeneurs can sometimes struggle to create fresh and engaging content. After putting together a shot list we planned for a 3 hour session that would include some time capturing Joanne as she was actually working on a client on her massage table, so that I could capture realistic images of the services she offers in her massage studio.  She prepared for the shoot day beautifully, and wanted to have me capture examples of the sweet refreshments she offers to clients at the end of their session with her: teas, fresh fruit or other treats like baked goods. Joanne is such a sweet and humble person, and like most people she was a little nervous about having a headshot or “official business portrait” taken, but I put her at ease and captured some lovely smiles just outside with the natural light and some pretty greenery in the background, as well as some options indoors with the white walls for simplicity. I loved getting to watch her work her magic and am excited to contribute my work to her future success in her freelance endeavor– building a carreer in any professional service field takes dedication, patience, and a lot of passion and hard work, and she clearly has everything she needs to succeed. I can’t wait to see how her new website turns out– it was a pleasure capturing these images with her!

Asheville Massage Therapist Jo Hershberger Business Branding Photos by Sarah Tew

Appalachian Academy of Therapeutic Arts: Documentary School Photography

I had the opportunity to spend a beautiful school day in May capturing a “day in the life” series at the Appalachian Academy of Therapeutic Arts: a unique and amazing school dedicated to holistic education in a gloriously nature-based setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC.

I was given free range to wander and shoot freely in my favorite style: artistic documentary photography with an eye for compositions and moments that reveal, resonate, and warm the heart. I enjoyed spending the day capturing activities of 3 student groups– this school currently has students from Kindergarten through Middle School. I happened to be there on a day when the new high school classroom had a handful of older visitors getting a taste of what the future high school experience might be like.

This day was full of magical surprises-  I must say, I was enchanted by everything I got to watch unfold during my visit to AATA, and if you happen to be a parent looking for something different, I would encourage you to check them out. It’s certainly a unique and special school!

If you’re a parent of a student at the school and you enjoy these images, please don’t hesitate to reach out– I also shoot family portrait sessions (the more traditional way) but right now I’m *especially enthusiastic about finding families who would appreciate a day-in-the-life photo series that captures the beauty of their real-world family life in all it’s rawness– that is my current passion, and I know my people are out there…  I am building a new niche offering where I spend a Saturday or other “family time day” photographing your lives (from wakeup through bed-time), delivering a slideshow set to music and a gorgeous book of the best images… I am presently looking for a few more families to document before I relaunch my website to highlight this service. My hope is to find young families who will be excited to have me shoot a new day in the life book every year or 2 as their children grow up, so I can revisit them and capture their lives as they unfold over time. You can view samples of this work here, here and here!

Similarly, I’m looking for other schools who would be interested in having beautiful documentary photography for their website, brochures, and social media, so if you know of another unique school (in the Asheville region or beyond) that would appreciate this work, please put me in touch– email me:

Students at an alternative elementary school entering their rustic open-air classroom at the beginning of a school day

Day in the Life Family Documentary Photos: The Bulans in Black Mountain, NC

I met Mary Bulan in a Tiny House building workshop at Wild Abundance last fall, and was delighted to discover that her wife Kiera was a classmate of mine at Wesleyan, on campus at the same time I was and hanging out in adjacent social circles. After getting my family documentary photography concept solidified I was eager to capture some different families and the Bulans have such a unique lifestyle I just had to spend the day with them! They are raising 2 young boys, 2 cats, and a dog, all while managing a small flower farm in Black Mountain.

Over the course of this saturday we spent together they made the kids breakfast, harvested flowers and the boys played outside. They took the family for a hike with the dog over on the trails surrounding Montreat college– it was a gorgeous day for a walk through the woods. Upon return home there was some downtime for Kiera to arrange flowers for selling from a stand by the driveway, and the boys got into a baseball game on TV. Later in the afternoon it was time for them to host the last U-Pick window of the fall over at their flower farm field they manage, and they had invited friends and family to come out and enjoy the last nice weather with them.  That night it was expected that freezing temps would inevitably damage the remaining flowers and peppers they had been growing at the farm, so everyone was encouraged to pick as many flowers as they could!  I myself even brought home a vase with some lovely zinnia and other gorgeous blooms!

While Mary and Kiera hosted friends and customers at the U-Pick, the boys played in the adjacent field with friends, throwing the baseball, finding and swinging sticks around at each other, tackling and and rough-housing as boys this age so often do. I had a blast capturing the pure energy of these two and their buddies playing outside. And of course, I love shooting flowers, so I have included in a few images of the blossoms at the farm to give you a taste of this sweet flower farm!

After packing up the van, it was time for an pizza dinner at their favorite local spot, complete with some arcade-areas options for the kids to spend a few quarters in. They got the baseball game up on the TV and everyone was happy and hungery for pizza. The boys were exhausted at the end of the day, and watching the end of the game was a special treat they got if they’d get ready for bed and brush their teeth. Mary read them a book and they were off to sweet baseball dreams.

These boys are so lucky to grow up with a pair of supermoms like Mary and Kiera, I had such a sweet time getting to capture a day in the life of this wonderful family and I was so inspired by them I may just have to figure out a way to set up bouquets of flowers for sale from a stand in my own driveway next spring!

two brothers wrestling in their room during a day in the life family documentary photography session in the asheville NC region
documentary photography throughout a day in the life of one family: Mary and Kiera are a married lesbian couple with two wonderful young sons


Want to see more of these sessions? Click here or here to visit a few other Day in the Life family documentary sessions I’ve shot in the WNC / Asheville area– you get me for a full day of observing and artistically capturing all the sweet, funny, routine, and sometimes painfully authentic moments that will pull up all the genuine memories you can look back on and relive what it was like inside your family at this moment in time.

Mellie & Peter’s wedding at The Barn at Tall Oaks in Hendersonville, NC

Mellie & Peter were married with an intimate Saturday afternoon wedding at this gorgeous barn-style venue just south of Asheville, North Carolina. I loved getting to capture a few hours of this casual summer celebration– the relaxed atmosphere and setting couldn’t be more beautiful.

Congratulations to Mellie and Peter and thank you for having me capture your wedding photography!

After a pandemic-years gap in my wedding bookings I must say it is wonderful to be shooting in a different area of the country– exploring venues I’ve never shot at gives me a real thrill, and The Barn at Tall Oaks was no exception. The family that built this place thought of everything! The well-designed “barn” structure is beautifully built with all the charm of a barn at a farm but the comfortable air conditioning of a high end event space.  With room for a catering team to stage up their serving, an adjoining covered deck perfect for a cocktail hour with a bar, and dressing rooms for both bride and groom, this space is one I certainly hope to shoot at again!

A Day in the Life of the Armhardts: Family Documentary Photography

I recently had the honor of spending the day with this sweet family of three: the Armhardts!  Julie and Dave are dear friends of ours– my husband and I moved down here from NYC because over a series of visits to see Julie and Dave here, we fell in love with the area. When they had their daughter, Olive, I was so proud of my friend and I couldn’t wait to take pictures for them, and I’ve had the pleasure of doing that a handful of times since she was a baby.  Watching our friends mature into such great parents has been sweet, and little Olive is growing up so fast, it’s unbelievable.
This latest opportunity was an opportunity to do another test of my newest obsession: day in the life family documentary photography. I took care to prepare them ahead of time, letting them know that though I’d be spending the whole day with them, I would mostly be documenting and not as interactive as usual, and that Olive could more or less just try to forget I was there.
The day came and I showed up as early as I thought they’d be getting up, but they were already mid-morning routine, and getting ready for Olive’s big day running in a 5K at her elementary school, just a walk down the street. Olive had earned a trophy for her age group of girls when she ran in the same race the previous year, so she was hopeful she could repeat the trick and her parents encouraged her to do her best.
Always the hard worker, after the run got started, Dave walked home to bang out some lawn-mowing while Julie and I kept tabs on the race at a nearby corner– just at the top of the steepest stretch of the route. He joined us to cheer for Olive as she passed by, walking for the uphill stretch. We walked back to the school and waited for her to cross the finish line.  As runners finished the 5K, Julie and Olive enjoyed the fair activities and checked the time stats to see if she’d earned another trophy, and indeed she had!  We walked back to their house to share the good news, and in classic form, Olive was more excited about showing Dave the painted rock character she made than her new trophy.
Julie is an amazing artist, and on Saturdays, Julie works in her studio at The Wedge, often bringing Olive for some of the day, and today was no exception. Olive knows all the artists on the hall and enjoys making her own works on paper at a little fold-out table Julie has ready to set up for her daughter to use when there.  Dave picked her up for a pizza lunch down by the river, and from there they went for a walk at a park with a lake, a playground, and a path by a beautiful waterfall. Olive challenged her father to races where they would select leaves or sticks to float downstream, seeing who’s item would win the race. After a few hours of exploring the park and then making a new friend on the playground, it was time to go home.
Julie returned from her studio and made a nice supper, and then Julie and Olive took their sweet dog Kizzy on her evening walk. Dave met them about halfway through and we tossed the frisbee around at the field behind Olive’s school for a while. Once home, they proceeded with their usual bedtime wind-down routine before Olive’s bedtime, with some family TV time followed by Dave reading to them from a chapter book, and Olive brushing her teeth. Looking back through the pictures I couldn’t believe how much fun and work gets done in a typical day in their world.
Part of what I want to do in my day in the life sessions with families is to capture just how much effort and attention and hard work parents put into the ongoing daily life they create for their children. I want moms and dads to know the dedication to getting things done well may feel often underappreciated, but it is very evident, and they are seen! With any luck, preserving a slice of life for posterity may offer the opportunity in the future for grown children to look back and gain new appreciation for all the special experiences they had growing up in their unique family.
My aim is to provide elegant coffee table books that include highlights and favorite shots from the day, presented one image per page with a minimum of around 100 images like the set shown here. Over time if families hire me to document a day with their families every year or so, they’ll have a growing collection of beautiful books that will be fun for parents and children to look back through and remember all the stages of growth– in their child’s personality, their activities and routines together, and in their relationships together as a family.
Would you love to have your family life captured in this documentary style? Reach out! I’m taking applications for a few more portfolio-shoot families in Asheville and would love to hear from you if you think you’d be a great fit!