Apr 20-15


We did Anne's bridal session the Friday after we had all that crazy snow here in Raleigh, and after being stuck at my house for almost two weeks, I was so excited for her session. I met her and her incredibly sweet family at the Governor's Mansion in Downtown Raleigh. Although it was freezing outside, Anne had such a great attitude as we ventured into a small garden on the side of the mansion to get some beautiful outdoor portraits. Anne and Alex were married this past weekend in quaint Beaufort, NC and it was quite the celebration! I am so excited to share their wedding images with you soon.

Bouquet: Erin McLean Events
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab










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Apr 16-15


From Callie:
I will never forget the moment when Will and Nancy told me that she was pregnant. They had been out of the studio for majority of my working day and as I was about to leave for the day, Will came in and said those daunting words "Nancy and I need to talk to you about something." I was a nervous wreck and for sure thought I was getting fired. Thoughts were flowing through my mind, trying to remember if I had done anything wrong in the past couple of months. They came in the studio and asked me to sit with them in our little sitting area. I was sweating bullets and held my breath as Nancy said, "You know there's just no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it... I'm pregnant." I immediately burst into tears and all I could say is "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

When I began working for Will and Nancy three years ago, they had been married for 4 years and I knew that children would soon be in their future. After the years of watching and learning from their beautiful marriage, I have known that they would make the most wonderful, loving parents. To hear this news brought me so much joy, not only because we will be adding one more little team member to the NRP Team, but because soon they will welcome a precious baby - an amazing little person who will be a combination of Will and Nancy.

Will and Nancy, you are truly glowing, not only in these images but everyday. It was such an honor to capture this special time in your lives and I can't wait to meet and love on Baby Ray!

From Nancy:
Goodness I am so grateful for these images. It's surreal to see myself in these images, carrying a baby! This time is so fleeting, I'm so grateful that I made an effort to capture this time that is so precious in our lives. (It's so easy for us photographers to get lost in capturing others that we don't take time to document our own lives.) Callie did a wonderful job of capturing our love and anticipation. This morning and these images will forever hold such a special place in my heart.

Hair and Makeup : Jen from Make up for your Day
Film Processing : Indie Film Lab

















Comments: 6

  1. Lisa April 16, 2015 3:40 pm

    Nancy, you are SO beautiful!!!

  2. Lauren Jolly April 16, 2015 3:57 pm

    These are beautiful! I’m so excited for you, Nancy & Will and can’t wait for your little one to arrive! Congratulations x1000!

  3. JenniferBuenviaje (MYD) April 16, 2015 4:55 pm

    Breathtaking. So much love, so much joy. Callie, you couldn’t have possibly done a better job of capturing this moment in our sweet Nanyc’s life! Kudos to Callie and love and sweet, sweet hugs to Nancy and Will! :)

  4. Sissy April 16, 2015 10:19 pm

    So beautiful!!! I just love the picture of Winston nuzzling your tummy!!!! So sweet!!! Can’t wait to meet that little person! Tell him/her Aunt Sissy loves them!

  5. Em April 16, 2015 11:02 pm

    These are all beautiful – but the one with close-eyed Winston is SOOOO sweet!

  6. A.J. April 17, 2015 12:01 am

    That one of Winston snuggling your belly!!!! I’m so excited for you to experience the love that’s coming your way. It’s the best thing ever.

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Apr 15-15

Milam Newborn Session

Newborns ~ by Elizabeth Tate ~ 2 comments


The Milam family was absolutely a joy to work with! I met them at their beautiful house in Chapel Hill when their handsome little guy, Colton, was not quite 10 days old. Though I didn't know it going into the session, I soon learned that this session was special because it would be shot while Brian and Sarah are in a beautiful time of transition. We talked a little about the changes coming up for them as they are gearing up to move to a new city so Brian can complete his Residency as a surgeon.

To be honest, most newborn sessions happen when a family is in a time of nesting, getting settled and nourishing the sweet, giant change of a brand new baby. You go to photograph a family where they live, and you know that the giant structure that contains those people and all that love and those precious moments is their home. Something about knowing the transition taking place in the Milam family, for me, reminded me that home isn't a place. It's not a town, or a house, though we may hold those things near to us in our hearts. I shot this session feeling a little different than I usually do; I wasn't in their home, I was simply in a room that contained "their home". I photographed "their home" inside of the house that they currently live in. With Sarah and Brian, home is simply where the other is, and now where their sweet baby boy is. They are joyful and content to find their home in one another in a time of change - how beautiful is that?

Their little dude was precious during the whole session - he maybe fussed once, and just seemed content to be held, to stare into mom and dad's faces, and to study my camera lens (I love when they do that!).

Sarah and Brian - congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! Best of luck to y'all in everything!

















Comments: 2

  1. Sarah Milam April 15, 2015 10:23 am

    Thank you so much for capturing these beautiful pictures of our family and your sweet words! We love the pictures and are so happy to have Colton’s first days captured so beautifully.
    -Brian and Sarah

  2. Will Ray April 16, 2015 10:35 pm

    What a cutie.

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Apr 14-15


The real adventure begins here, in the moment where you walk away from your wedding reception and into marriage.  

It has been great fun for me to share insight about our wedding photography for the past couple of months! In case you have missed any of my posts, click here to see all of them! My hope is that my advice will help brides think more like a photographer when planning their wedding. I hope that my advice series will be helpful in preparing you and your photographer to capture the most beautiful images possible!

While photography is important, what is more important is that you make decisions based on what will be most meaningful to you. Whether you are newly engaged or getting close to your wedding day, the greatest piece of advice I can give you is this:

Plan more for your marriage and less for your wedding.

Sadly, your wedding day will fade, but your marriage will radiate for a lifetime, if you choose to nurture it!

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Apr 13-15


Katie's bridal shower was a beautiful celebration filled with her family, friends, tasty food and gorgeous details thoughtfully crafted by 2 of her best friends - the hostesses of the event.

I spent a couple hours at the shower as they mingled, ate, and as Katie opened her gifts. And then, a surprise came! Toward the end of the event, the front door to the house opened, and in walked Alex - Katie's fiancé, who came to surprise her along with their pug "Meatballs" and a huge bouquet of sunflowers. It was such a sweet moment and the perfect way to round out a celebration of their marriage that would happen in just a few weeks!  

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab










Can we just talk about how cute Meatballs is for a second? And the fact that his name is Meatballs?! For crying out loud!

Katie (and Lauren and Christina!) - thank you ladies so much for having me be a part of such a special day!


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Apr 10-15


When Will and I found out we were expecting, we knew we wanted to take this last season of it just being the "two of us" and really make the most of it. We have loved having the first 6.5 years of marriage all to ourselves, and we wanted to celebrate this season of life together before welcoming children into our family. One thing that immediately went to the top of our priorities was planning a "Babymoon" - a vacation for just the two of us before Baby Ray arrives! After much deliberation, we decided to go to California the 2nd week of March. We split up our trip into two parts : Adventures in Yosemite and Rest in Carmel Valley. It could not have been a more perfect choice for us! It was a blend of adventure, relaxation, hiking, resting, eating delicious food, seeing beautiful sites, and spending quality time with one another. It will forever live in my mind as one of my fondest memories with Will. It was worth every penny and minute of planning! If you are expecting, I highly recommend making time for a babymoon!

The biggest challenge in planning this trip was limiting our options so we wouldn't try to see and do all the things. Will and I love to explore and travel, and we have the tendency to make our vacations so full we come home a bit tired. This time, we knew we wanted this trip to be relaxing as well. We planned much of our trip based on the recommendations of our dear friends Emily and John, who recently took a trip to Cali and offered us some amazing resources. We ended up so incredibly happy with our choices, and on the last day we truly didn't want to leave! It was so sweet.

Hugs to my sweet husband for my maternity photos he took while we were there! (By the way... isn't his beard amazing?)

Our Babymoon Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in San Francisco / Muir Woods National Park / Drive to Yosemite
Day 2 : Sleep and settle into our Air BNB / Hike the Mist Trail
Day 3 : Hike around Mirror Lake / Watch a Movie at our Air BNB
Day 4 : Hike Mariposa Grove
Day 5 : Drive to Carmel Valley Ranch / 17 Mile Drive / Appetizers at Spanish Bay with the Bagpiper
Day 6 : Big Sur / McWay Falls / Adventurous Drive on the Mountain / Earthbound Farm / Explore Carmel Valley Ranch / Dinner at the Ranch
Day 7 : Spa Day at Carmel Valley Ranch / Dinner at Dametra Cafe
Day 8 : Yoga Class / Travel home

Film Processing : Indie Film Lab
























Comments: 6

  1. Samantha April 10, 2015 8:46 am

    Beautiful! Looks like such a magical time xoxo

  2. Faith April 10, 2015 11:34 am

    Amazing!! You are such a stunning mama, Nancy! xoxo

  3. Em April 10, 2015 1:22 pm

    So beautiful, friend! What a gorgeous place for pre-baby photos! One of my favorites, though, is Will on the huge tree :)

  4. Lauren Jolly Thomas April 10, 2015 1:31 pm

    Beautiful! I’m so glad you had the chance to take a babymoon! It looks like it was amazing!

  5. Sabrina April 11, 2015 3:12 am

    What lovely photos! I love how you captured the texture of the trees.

  6. Valerie April 14, 2015 9:03 pm

    Ahhh such beautiful photos! So glad you guys were able to take this getaway together. Also, do you mind sharing where your black dress is from?! It’s beautiful (and looks comfy too!)

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Apr 09-15


Registration is LIVE! Click Here to reserve your spot.
All sessions are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Photographer: Elizabeth Tate
Date: Saturday, May 16th (NOT on Mother's Day - the Saturday following)
Time: Between 2:00pm and 7:40pm (based upon availability)
Location: Annie Louise Wilkerson Park

$150 Includes:

• 20 Minute Session with Elizabeth Tate
• Your choice of 15 high resolution images with the rights to print
• Online Gallery of images for 2 weeks to view, select, and download your 15 images


• If it rains, the back up date will be Sunday, May 17th (the following day)
• You can bring up to 8 people to your session
• Dogs / Pets are welcome
• Free optional in-studio consultation to view frames, canvases and prints
• Free printable "Happy Mother's Day Mini-Session Voucher" is included upon request
• You are welcome to sign up whether or not you have a family! All are welcome

One of the most priceless gifts you can give is a photograph. On Saturday, May 16th, we are offering mini-sessions that will capture your growing family just as they are! While the mini-sessions will actually take place the weekend after Mother's Day, this is the perfect opportunity to surprise that sweet Mom in your life with a mini-session. Mothers especially love capturing seasons of life, but too often the busyness and selflessness of their day to day lives take precedent over taking the time do what matters most : capturing this season before it passes them by. Give the priceless gift of photographs this Mother's Day!


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Apr 08-15


You might remember seeing Will and English's meaningful and unique maternity session a few weeks back. It has been so much fun walking with them through this journey, and one of the highlights was being there to capture English's sweet baby shower for baby Rye! A dear friend of English's hosted the shower at her lovely home, and the Babar theme was too cute for words. I loved how unique it was - I had never heard or seen a Babar themed shower before! The menu cards which looked like Babar books were to die for. I also loved how colorful and celebratory the day felt. It was a day full of anticipation and so many adorable onesies I could hardly stand it! I am so grateful I was able to be there to celebrate sweet baby Rye!

Catering and Menus : Jill at Catering Works
Film Processing : Indie Film Lab










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Apr 07-15


I remember the first time I officially helped Nancy with a wedding, having some sort of real responsibilities.  It was Nancy Ray's first wedding in Charleston, with the Ceremony at a Catholic church downtown, and the reception at the South Carolina Society Hall on Meeting Street.   I got an in-depth primer on the use of our professional equipment and we reviewed the timeline beforehand.

I wish I could say that I immediately brought Nancy Ray Photography to a new level of artistry, and that I modeled top-notch client service that day, but I was admittedly quite rough around the edges.  That being said, for the last six years I've had the privilege of learning and growing, serving over 100 great couples in that span.

Before I came on board to help, Nancy did a few weddings by herself, believe it or not.  As soon as I started helping, she said something to the effect of, "We're never going back." And we haven't.  Each and every wedding since that initial one, we've never sent out a wedding photographer alone.  A second shooter always, always accompanies them.

Say that statement to most photographers, and they'd respond, "Duh."  But if you're shopping for wedding photographers, you might not understand why we don't negotiate on the number of photographers if you use Nancy Ray Photography.  In my six years of experience, I've found there to be many, many benefits to having a second photographer at your wedding, but today I'll just share a few.

6 Benefits to having a 2nd Photographer at your Wedding

1.  A second photographer allows the primary photographer to perform on their highest possible level.  When the Nancy or Callie know they have a reliable second shooter covering the additional details discussed before the wedding, they can do what they do best: create beautiful art from the moments of the day.  As a second shooter, I (or whoever is shooting that day) help keep us on track, and I assist and support the lead photographer.

2. A second shooter brings a different perspective (literally).  At the very least, the second photographer cannot physically stand in the same place as the lead shooter, so you're going to get two different perspectives.  That's at the least.  More often, we as second shooters endeavor to bring a different artistic perspective and interpretation, and to capture moments that might otherwise go unnoticed.


3.  A second shooter allows us to capture more special moments.  Any given wedding day is brimming with special moments and memories.  Two skilled photographers allow us to capture more of those for you.

4.  A second photographer can capture more of the groom's perspective and wedding day experience.  Much wedding photography is [understandably] bride-centric.  A second photographer can capture your groom's experience much more effectively than a single photographer trying to do everything.

5.  A second shooter makes planning your day more effective, requiring fewer total hours of coverage.  To have a single photographer (even with an assistant) shoot absolutely everything would cost much more in time.  Before the ceremony, the lead photographer would need additional time for shooting all the details; following the ceremony they would need additional time to do both the portraits and all the details.  This additional time would stretch your wedding planning, unnecessarily prolonging your day.  With two photographers, you can create a simple, effective wedding schedule with no unnecessary delays.

6.  A second photographer acts as an insurance policy of sorts.  Thank God, in seven years, this has never happened, and God willing, it will never happen.  But if we were to experience a serious equipment failure of some kind, a second set of images from a skilled second shooter ensures that we would never be in a situation where we had no images from a wedding.  We've never had to completely rely on one shooter or the other because of equipment failure, but it's comforting to everyone to know that we have multiple sets of images from any part of the day.

Ultimately, a second shooter elevates the quality of the art that is created during your wedding.  I know that our team would say in 10 out of 10 weddings, a skilled second shooter has helped elevate the final product we've delivered to the client, in at least one of these ways I've listed above.  While it might seem like overkill to have two photographers, we do it to provide the best possible experience for our clients!

Comments: 1

  1. Under the Oaks: Photography Advice | Call me Callie April 14, 2015 9:41 pm

    […] From Nancy Ray: How to be a Bridesmaid and Photographer From Will Ray: From a Second Shooter’s Perspective […]

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Apr 06-15

Happy Easter

The Rays ~ by Nancy Ray ~ no comments


Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving... having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2:6-7, 12-14

Praying you had a happy Easter, and you know the victory we have in Christ Jesus today!

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Photographer, wife, and worshiper... I am a Southern girl who looks most forward to waking up each morning to drink my coffee, read my Bible, and soak in the beauty that surrounds me. These pages chronicle my work, my life, and the things that I love most. You'll also hear from Callie, Will, and Elizabeth - my amazing team who has so much to offer. Thanks for visiting, I do hope you stay a while!
Nancy Ray
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