This is it! The official end of one season and the beginning of another.
12 years ago today, I was photographing my very first solo wedding. Dear friends of ours, Bill and Michelle, took a chance on me. My husband (fiancé at the time!) was a groomsman, and I jumped in our car with him and 3 other groomsmen to drive 10 hours to Florida. Yep – I was packed in a car with four other guys and all our suitcases and my camera gear! I was nervous and excited, I did my absolute best with what I knew then, and it marked the beginning of Nancy Ray Photography.
Today, I’ve been doing this beautiful work for 12 years whole years. I hired and trained other photographers, I’ve worked out of our guest bedroom and 2 home studios, I’ve been featured in all kinds of magazines, I learned to shoot in film, I fell in love with the business side of things. And my greatest accomplishments : I’ve been married for over a decade (coming up on 12 years, in fact!), and we’ve had three beautiful children. My family has supported me and cheered me on every step of the way, and I’m so grateful.
Seasons are beautiful, aren’t they? But the changing of a season isn’t always clear – Summer doesn’t end abruptly, with all it’s heat and sunshine and pool time and ice cream coming to a close on one particular day, and Fall doesn’t start on the very next with a burst of colorful leaves all at once. No, it’s an ebb and flow, a transition. The same has been true for me. This seasonal transition has already been taking place for a year and a half or so, and it will continue to. I still have a few things to sell, some emails accounts to close, some galleries and albums to deliver. I’m sure some things will keep popping up over the course of the next year, because just like seasons don’t change in a day, it’s hard to close a business in “a day.”
But here, on this blog and website that has been my little home on the internet for 12 years, I’m saying goodbye with this one final blogpost.
I’ll be honest – closing this business has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. I’ve spent much of 2019 grieving the loss of it, and it’s a weird kind of grief because it’s not a person or a thing – it’s this entity and life and culture and team and work that I’ve built with thousands of hours of my own life, my own hands, my own mind, my own skill. I’ve poured much of myself into it, so it feels a little bit like I’m losing part of myself. As it has grown over the last 12 years, I’ve brought more brilliant minds and hands and lives to come alongside me in the growth of it, which was the biggest joy of all. And we simply won’t be doing this kind of work anymore.
I told my mama today… this is the first time in 12 years I’ve looked to the year ahead of me and have had a completely open calendar. I’m used to having several Saturdays and weekends already called for. It’s a funny feeling, but it certainly feels right for this season of my life.
In this grief and saying goodbye to something I love so much, I’ve found so much clarity. As I look forward to 2020 and beyond, I feel so much lightness and hope. I know that it’s right and good, and that God has some really good things in mind for me – even though I don’t know what they are quite yet.
So that’s what I’m doing. No doubt my plate is already full – I’m not trying to fill it up with more work! I have 3 little lives that have already done that for me! And I’m thrilled to be home with them more, to continue working on my podcast, and to do things that bring me life and joy. What a gift to have the freedom to do just that.
I guess in writing all of this, I hope to encourage anyone who might be in a similar season of closing their business. You might be coming back to this post years from now. What I want to say is this:
God always takes us from glory to glory.
You have to let go of something to make space for Him to do a new thing.
He has you in the palm of His hand.
With that said, THANK YOU. Thank you for sticking with me through the years, thank you for your love and support. I am so incredibly grateful! And if you want to stay in touch, I would love to. The best ways to stay connected are :
And if you would like an incredible photographer to capture your day with a similar style and aesthetic as mine (but honestly way more funny and fun), head to Olivia Suriano’s website. She’s the real deal (I trained her, after all 😉 ) and I cannot wait to see how she carries on the banner and legacy of this beautiful work!
Well friend, this is it! Work is beautiful and good. This work has provided for my family and has given me great purpose! I’ve met so many wonderful couples and have experienced things I never would have otherwise. But work isn’t everything, and it’s not who we are. It’s a good thing to transition from one season to the next, because that is what life is – a beautiful journey, transitioning from one season to another.
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