Western North Carolina (Southeast) Photographer

This is where I’m supposed to say something meaningful and profound about myself and all the amazing things I take pictures of at BY ilona PHOTOGRAPHY. Its all very simple. I catch light in a box and use it to tell a story. Your story. Your event.

When people encouraged me to start BY ilona PHOTOGRAPHY, it was with the hope that I could turn my life-long love of photography into more than a hobby. I was the girl in Jr High snapping pictures of everyone on field trips and wearing “glimlach” written across my t-shirt – “smile” in Dutch (my family immigrated from Holland).

I’ve spent my life in the sciences where I started as a laboratory analyst, later helped develop and became vice president of one of the largest environmental testing companies in the world, and then started my own consulting business. I am excited about photography because I love meeting people and helping them capture moments important to them.  It is my opportunity to share my creative side. 

Thanks to great clients, interesting subjects and lots of encouragement, my love of photography and its impact is stronger than ever and it shows in every event or project I shoot.

- Ilona, Asheville, NC

Click here to see my Portfolio. 

"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language."

– Walt Disney.


BY ilona PHOTOGRAPHY is located in Western North Carolina and I travel throughout the Southeast and occasionally the West Coast. Just about any location is a possibility - I love to travel and have done lots of it in my past. You can reach me using the Contact Me tab on this page to start planning your photo shoot or event. My email address is

I am a lifestyle/event/portrait photographer. I photograph children and youth retreat weekends, weddings, family events such as birthdays and anniversaries, Indoor Drumline competitions, live stage performances, Autocross, car shows, marching bands, concerts, and just about any type of event you can imagine or would want to photograph.

PURCHASING - Some galleries are private and some are public. Private galleries require a link or code to see them. To purchase pictures or picture files, use the Buy icon on the top right corner of the photo viewing pages. If the photo or gallery you are interested in does not have a Buy icon, please leave me a message by using the Contact Me tab above. I will correct the issue. All photography development is done by one of the best photo processing labs in the country - Bay Photo Lab. If you have any special photo development needs (adding a logo, changing to black and white, requesting a larger print, etc.), use the Contact Me tab above . I can make the additions/changes to your order if you contact me within 24 hours of your order. 

EVENTS - Can you trust me with your event? Yes. I have taken photos and captured a variety of events for many years – both indoor and outdoor, taking candid and posed pictures. My past experience in event planning (conferences and retreats) across the country has taught me how to work with event planners and work with the unexpected. I know the questions to ask. I am professional, but still connect with the people I work with. You can expect photographs that go beyond just the event,  capturing not just the people, but the atmosphere too.

WEDDINGS - I have done work with an incredible wedding photographer that has done over 500 weddings. He is McGinnis Leathers in Athens, GA and has been featured in numerous publications. I have included links you can follow to find out more about his work. Leave me a message and we will contact you to talk about your plans, share our ideas and give you pricing. Links:

OnlineAthens - McGinnis Leathers

Metro - A Wedding Party

I bring many years of experience in photographing people and events to every photography session. You tell me what you need, when you need it and I will make it happen. Send me a message on the Contact Me tab above and lets talk about what you are looking for and how I can help. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

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Testimonials From Happy Customers

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Pictures are powerful. They can snap you back to an exact moment, help you remember things you've started to forget, and help you appreciate what you have or value all that you have lost. Looking back to my perfect wedding and reception from 2 years ago with my perfect wife, I was brought to tears. In the middle of taking my breakfast break at work, I was brought to tears. Those pictures helped me realize - no, helped me remember - just how lucky I was and still am to be married to such a beautiful and wonderful woman. They helped me remember who all was there and appreciate them for going all the way to Gatlinburg, TN to witness such an important and defining moment in my life. I got to re-live the dancing and partying of the reception and re-experience the raw joy that was evident not only in mine or Amanda's face, but in the face of everyone that was there.Last, but definitely not least, I got to see my Grandpa again. I got to watch him pick through the buffet and grab anything that appealed to him. I got to converse with him and see just how proud of me he was. I even got to shake his hand like the man I had become, and hug him like the grandson I was. All of this was because of just a few photos. I also want to thank the person responsible for such amazing photos. Ilona, thank you so much for bringing us the treasure of memories that will last our lifetime.

- Amanda and Jacob

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We've used Ilona for several projects within the music program at the college. For everything she's shot, the photos have never failed to perfectly capture the atmosphere of the event. It's one thing to have pictures that give you the visual to remember - it's completely different to have photos that let you relive the emotion and excitement. She always catches each shot at the right time, bringing the students' lives and personalities into focus.

- Ryan Williams, Assistant Director of Bands - Limestone College

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Ilona is quite an individual. She is without a doubt one of the most creative and gifted photographers that I have ever encountered in my last three decades of ministry. I have seen her work in a wide variety of situations and can truly say she has an exceptional eye for capturing incredible images that freeze time and memories that will last a lifetime.

Ilona also has a natural enthusiasm for life and all that she does. She has a gifted ability to work extremely well with people and especially young people. Everyone tends to seek her out and want to hang around her not just because of her unique charisma but because of her sincere compassionate nature. By the end of your event she will have worked her way into your heart and become part of your family!

Over the last few years, she has been our primary Senior photographer for our state-wide youth and children’s ministry retreat weekends, children’s concerts and southeast regional youth conferences. Because of her gifted insight and creative vision for what we need on our ministry events, all we have to do is turn her loose and the beautiful photos just flow! … I do not intend to build her up beyond what is real. Out of 35 years of professional ministry and working directly and consistently with hundreds of media professionals in an endless variety of environments and mediums, I can truly say that Ilona  ranks in the top 1% of all the media professionals that I have ever encountered! She is without a doubt the cream of the crop, top of the top, best of the best. You would do well to have her shoot for any of your events. …

- J. Mark Manuel, Executive Director - SCREAM Ministries

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