Aug 15-13

NRP • Part 2

Press ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 5 comments

2009

Since I graduated in December of 2008, January of 2009 was spent looking for a "real job." Honestly, I LOVE this part of my story. It was scary, and at the time I cried a lot of tears. Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the season where the Lord gave me this business by literally closing all other doors.

The best prospect of a job for me was to become a nanny. Boone is a very small town, and I was still shooting about 10 weddings a year. A nanny job seemed like the perfect fit! I found a family who needed a nanny, I went through several interviews, and I thought I had it in the bag! My plan was set. Work part time shooting weddings and be a full time nanny.

It was a cold afternoon, when I got the phone call. Will was sound asleep in our expertly blacked-out room because he was working the nightshift at the time. I was so excited to see her number appear on my phone, excited to take the new job!

When she told me she chose someone else for the nanny position, I was crushed. 

I hung up the phone and immediately started crying. All of my plans had failed! I loved being busy in school - taking 18 hours a semester was normal for me. I was involved in student ministries, Bible studies, and I studied hard. Now, I was a college graduate! I had nothing to do, no "real job," and the one nanny lead that I had found just turned me down. The economy had just taken a major turn downward, and I felt really hopeless.

I ran into our bedroom and woke up Will. (What a wonderful, sweet husband. For him it was the middle of the night!) I cried and cried, and he hugged me and said we would figure everything out. I finally let him go back to sleep, and I prayed long and hard about what to do.

Over the next few weeks, I spent all day every day in front of my computer, learning all that I could about wedding photography. (I literally had nothing else to do. It was 20 degrees outside, and I'm not the type to watch TV. Heck, we didn't even have cable!)  I would read blogs, ask questions on forums, research business books, learn all about equipment, and do all that I possibly could from that small guest bedroom in our apartment. I would go out and take pictures in the park, then write a blogpost about it. I would drive all over NC shooting weddings and sessions for almost nothing, because I was so hungry for experience.

And just like that, a closed door paved the way for me to grow my own photography business into my dream job. All credit to the Lord, who knows I wouldn't have done it this way unless He closed that door!

Below: My view from our kitchen window in Boone during the winter months. 

2010

We moved to Raleigh!

Just after Christmas, we made the big move to Raleigh. We purchased our townhouse, and Will started his current job at Celebration Church as the Youth Ministry Director. After months of prayer, he decided to accept the position at Celebration and we moved back home.

Below: This is me VERY concerned about the amount of stuff we had. We were having a hard time fitting it all into the moving truck! Thankfully, it all fit. Will worked on Christmas day, which was his last day at Walgreens. Then we began our adventure to Raleigh!

I painted and set up my home photography studio. Talk about luxury! After having worked out of a small guest bedroom, having my own workspace was a dream come true. It took 6 months or so to get set up to the point where I could host brides, but it finally became my office and studio. I am still grateful to walk down the stairs every day to go to work!

On a practical note, this is the year that I actually started making an income in my business. It was a small income... no where close to a salary, but it was something! Yes, it took all of 2008 and 2009 to get to the point where I was taking home any money. We never went into debt for this business, but all the cash we made in 2008 and 2009, we simply reinvested into equipment, marketing, supplies, software, etc.  It was an exciting turning point!

I also began doing bridal shows in the triangle, now that I was a "local." Here is my with my fantastic first logo and my super short hair!

Slowly and steadily, I continued to book weddings and grow my business. The move to Raleigh was a wonderful move for my business. I began to meet vendors, get familiar with venues, and I would serve my brides the best way I knew how. I was thrilled to be back in a big city, but I definitely missed the calm schedule of our lives in the mountains.

To be transparent - the first year in Raleigh was tough for us. Between youth ministry and a growing business, we had no idea how to set boundaries in our personal lives. It really took a toll on our marriage, on our relationships. We were leading the youth group, shooting weddings and sessions, teaching an FPU class, leading small groups, hosting seasonal events, doing bridal shows, and taking every opportunity that was thrown at us. I'll never forget the month of October 2010. We didn't have 1 evening at home! Not even kidding. There was something booked for us every night, whether it be church or photography. Will and I looked at each other and promised we'd never do that again. Learning to run a business and run the youth ministry has been the hardest, most rewarding thing we've ever done. We're still learning, but we have gained much more of a sense of balance now. Looking back, I'm so thankful for all the hard and good lessons we've learned along the way. I'm confident we will use those lessons through the rest of our lives.

Stay tuned for Part 3 & 4 coming soon!

Comments: 5

  1. Margaret Aycock August 15, 2013 3:57 pm

    Nancy, I love reading your story. Your passion for life really gives me energy! Congratulations for all you and Will have accomplished. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Em August 15, 2013 7:28 pm

    This is priceless. That photo of you at the bridal show is way, way too much.

  3. Liz August 16, 2013 8:37 am

    Nancy, if that is one thing that I have taken away from your various pieces of wisdom, it is to pay cash up front when starting out. I have gear that is pretty much all used, with the exception of one lens. This week I put my summer earnings towards a refurbished L series lens from Canon and I feel a lot better about paying for it up front and not on credit (I don’t even really use my credit card anyway!). This has been so valuable to me!

  4. Emily Hansel August 20, 2013 8:05 am

    Eeeep! I remember that bouquets & clock shot! It was one of my mom’s and my favorites!

  5. Rhiannon September 30, 2013 9:57 pm

    We graduated at the exact same time :) I love that!

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Aug 14-13

It's true! Callie is engaged! Jamie popped the question on Sunday evening, and Will and I were hiding in the bushes to capture this sweet moment. And yes, I was crying in the bushes behind my camera.

Congratulations, Callie! We are so happy for you and Jamie and all the future holds for you. God is so good, and we know He is going to use your marriage in incredible ways. We love you!

Comments: 6

  1. Hampton Pitts August 14, 2013 10:47 am

    So happy for my princess and the love of her life!!
    Thanks for being there Nancy and Will!!

  2. Kelly Pitts Camuti August 14, 2013 11:10 am

    What a great celebration Sunday night was! So glad to be a part of this special time in your lives! Love you both!

  3. Margo Pitts August 14, 2013 11:24 am

    Tears of joy! Love you both!

  4. Em August 14, 2013 11:35 pm

    Hooray!!! So happy you were there to capture the moment!

  5. Jane Davis August 15, 2013 9:36 am

    Wishing you both much happiness! You are a beautiful couple inside and out! Counting our blessings!

  6. Victoria August 15, 2013 5:19 pm

    YAY! So excited after seeing Callie all over this blog! Yippee for marriage and joy and wedding planning!

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Aug 10-13

"To live with purpose.
To say the courageous thing.
To celebrate the simple gift.
To follow your dreams.

This is a happy life."

- Wayland Henry

Preview of our team photoshoot with the amazing Eric Kelley!

 

Comments: 2

  1. brittany August 11, 2013 12:59 pm

    y’all are beautiful, nancy!

  2. Cheyenne Schultz August 29, 2013 1:44 am

    oh man…this is the best. I love your love. So much.

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Aug 08-13

NRP • Part 1

Press ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 6 comments

Oh friends. Let me just brace you for the pure goodness you are about to experience. Welcome to Part 1 of NRP through the years! Here's where it all began!

2007

In 2007, I was a junior at Appalachian State, pursuing a degree in technical photography. I shadowed some photography friends as a "3rd shooter/assistant" at 2-3 weddings. I was engaged to Will, planning a wedding, and soaking in as much of photography as I possibly could! I was the ONLY person in my graduating class who wanted to shoot weddings. Everyone else thought I was crazy, but I didn't care! I loved weddings, and my heart was set on becoming a wedding photographer. I was scared out of my mind. I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to dive all in.

Here's a pic of me and my roomies! On the left, Sam - who I now get to call my sister! (She married John - Will's little brother.  Pretty awesome, since we've been best friends since 9th grade!) I'm in the middle, and do you recognize the girl on the right? Yep, that's Elizabeth, one of my amazing associate photographers! She was my roomie in college, studying photography at the time I was. We have lots of embarrassing stories to tell, but I digress.

2008

On January 3, 2008, I photographed my first wedding on my own! That's when I declared that I was a photographer, and I owned my own business. Here are some images from the very first wedding I shot:

(Oh yeah. Check out that dark processing and my awesome logo!)

I was still a full time student at ASU. In the spring semester, I photographed a few weddings and welcomed my fiancé to the mountains. In February of 2008, Will moved to Boone and settled into the apartment shown below.

He got a job and worked some crazy hours (read: night shift). After I finished my junior year, in June of 2008, I married Will and moved in with him. I transformed this little apartment from a bachelor's pad to our first home together! The door on the bottom was Apartment #1. It had no air conditioner, no dishwasher, no ice maker, and a community washer/dryer (that you still had to pay for in quarters). There were 2 bedrooms: 1 was our master bedroom, the other: a guest-bedroom-turned-into-photography-office. It was home sweet home for 2 years, and it was also where I spent hundreds of hours in front of a computer launching my business. I learned, I read blogs, I read tutorials, I bought used equipment, I blogged, I edited my first weddings. Those were some long days in that guest bedroom office!

Once we were married, I took summer classes, I continued to shoot weddings as I booked them, and I worked part time as a hostess at a Crippens - an old restuarant in Boone. Here's an old photo of Will, myself, and my mom visiting my restaurant for dinner one evening!

And here's another image from my first year of photography, just because it's fun:

(Will is on the far left in the groomsmen shot! The bride and groom still remains some of our closest friends to this day. Love them to pieces.)

Will and I love remembering this sweet season of life. In the summers, we would swim in the river, hike to waterfalls, watch lots of 24, and spend so much time together - just the two of us. Many of our friends had graduated and moved away, so Will and I created our own adventures. What a sweet season away from everything and everyone.

In December of 2008, I graduated from Appalachian State and launched full time into my business. Here I am presenting my Senior Portfolio... all images from weddings, of course!

Launching full time into my business after graduating wasn't my plan, but it definitely was the Lord's plan for me!  More on that next week in Part 2. Stay tuned!

Comments: 6

  1. John August 8, 2013 8:02 pm

    Well this was fun! I look forward to part two!

  2. Kelly Strawberry August 9, 2013 11:29 am

    I love seeing how much your photography has changed since then. WOW. Excited for Part 2!

  3. denise August 9, 2013 3:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing! We all have to start somewhere. I still look back at pics of my very first class and wonder how ANY of them learned to read that year! But somehow they did. By the way, you have not changed a bit. Can’t wait to read part 2.

  4. Natasha August 10, 2013 9:32 am

    Beautiful beginning! Can’t wait for part 2!

  5. Sissy August 11, 2013 4:56 pm

    I love this!! You have blossomed so beautifully!

  6. MacKenzie August 19, 2013 5:22 pm

    Ahh! I love this. I just had to log on and catch up on this post, especially after our chat about it at dinner last week. Love the photo of your first bridal show. Oh, and your first wedding photos…those are pretty fun :)
    I love reading about God paving the way by closing doors so you could really embrace this gift of yours. Can’t wait to see what’s up next!

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Aug 06-13

When Jen and Casey explained their idea of an engagement session to me, I was thrilled. They love spending time together at coffee shops, and they love strolling through the Farmer's Market. In fact, their first date was at the Farmer's Market, where they picked up some local honey! The night before their session, as I checked the forecast, I saw that thunderstorms were predicted for the same time we were to meet. But instead of rescheduling, Jen and Casey said, "That is so us! Not only do we love coffee shops, but we love them when it's raining." I loved that! We went forward with the session, and I do believe it's the coziest engagement session I've done. The rain made it that much more sweet in my opinion! We began at the Morning Times, and while I was able to sneak a few shots of them outside while it was sprinkling, we stayed inside most of the time while it poured.

We literally drove through a downpour to the Farmer's Market, and thankfully when we arrived, the storm begin to subside. They were troopers, even walking in some sprinkles and laughing the whole time. I love their attitudes, their love for one another, and their appreciation for the little things in life. No doubt these two are going to be enjoying the Farmer's Market hand in hand when they are old and grey. They'll never stop appreciating the simple things because that is who they are. It was so wonderful getting to know their hearts and love for life. I'm so thrilled to be capturing their wedding!

Comments: 2

  1. Stephanie Hughes August 6, 2013 12:00 pm

    Love these pictures! You’re right: so cozy.
    PS my hair NEVER looks that good when caught in the rain!

  2. Jen August 6, 2013 2:58 pm

    Nancy Ray, you are wonderful. Thank you so much for these beautiful photographs and for a memorable engagement session in the rain!! xx

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Aug 01-13

Photo above taken by Will with my Contax, when I was shooting with Eric's

Exciting things are in the works, y'all! This month is going to be a good one. In June, we had team photos done by the amazing Eric Kelley, and we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 day mentor session with him and Lora, all about shooting in film. We were so blessed to work with them! I'm so grateful to call them friends and to have beautiful images that I will treasure the rest of my life. I seriously cannot WAIT to share them with you.  The team photos were for a new site update that is coming this month, with a new logo, full new galleries featuring Elizabeth and Callie's work, my most recent work in film, as well as lots of other little changes. Beginning in 2014, Callie and Elizabeth will be shooting primarily in digital, and I'll be shooting primarily in film. Lots of wonderful changes happening. After all these fun updates this month, we'll be ending August with a fun celebration of 5 years of business. I'd love for you to join us!

All in all, this month is going to be a good one. My dear friend Lara has initiated #intentionalaugust, and I am jumping right on board. Love that. Let's be intentional about every area of life this month, especially the simple ways we can celebrate life. Who's with us?

And don't forget to keep stopping by the blog this month for lots of fun (and potentially embarrassing) updates. We'll be journeying through the last 5 years of NRP as we lead up to the celebration party on August 30. There will be fun facts, images from my first photoshoots, the craziest things I've seen at weddings, and some exciting giveaways. Please leave lots of comments and join in the fun as we laugh and remember the growth I've experienced through the years. Stay tuned!

August Goals

15 in 12 : Read The Art of Possibility and The Meaning of Marriage
Launch website update + new galleries*
Let my ankle heal. (I've had to completely stop running and postpone signing up for a triathlon because it's still swollen from my fall. This will be my hardest goal! I'm so ready to get back out there!)
Take 2 swim lessons
Learn 2 new worship songs on the guitar
Have a girls weekend in the mountains celebrating my sister's bday
Buy a new seat for my roadbike*
Have an adult sleepover with the youth leaders
Begin a month-long sugar fast
Attend an adventure dinner party
Shoot lots of film
Photograph 3 weddings & attend 1
Host a 5 year celebration for Nancy Ray Photography at Sola (PS. You're invited!)

Here's to #intentionalaugust!

Comments: 7

  1. Lucy Taylor August 1, 2013 9:57 am

    Yay for more film! Can’t wait to see all of the goodness you’ll create Nancy!

  2. Em August 1, 2013 11:17 am

    I will accept goal no. 10 as your RSVP :)

  3. august goals » Lauren Jolly Photography August 1, 2013 1:51 pm

    [...] know about something else I will be striving to keep up with: #intentionalaugust. Lara Casey and Nancy Ray have both written about this and I think it’s such an amazing idea! Take this month to be [...]

  4. Emily August 2, 2013 10:53 am

    I’m so glad to see that you are beginning a month-long sugar fast! I am fasting from sugar (refined, not fruit) as well and it’s been a tough 24 hours.. :) Best of luck!

  5. Leah Mullett August 3, 2013 5:17 pm

    Love your goals Nancy and have been inspired by them for years! Posted mine for a few years now but recently took a break and excited to post my August goals as well soon! Noticed you put 2014 though in the title … is that suppose to be that? haha …

    Hoping your ankle heals up fast and can’t wait to see your celebration party here on the blog for those of us that can’t attend in person but will be there in spirit!

    xoxo

  6. Jen August 5, 2013 10:37 am

    So happy to see The Meaning of Marriage on your list! You’re going to love it! x

  7. Amanda Marie August 8, 2013 1:21 pm

    Oh how I wish we lived closer so I could attend your awesomeness of a party!! Way to go Nancy!! And girlfriend, I will digitally hold your hand on the sugar fast, you are STRONG!

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Jul 31-13

Well friends, I'm excited to introduce our new monthly "gratefulgrams!" I have to give credit where credit is due - Leah, one of my brides I photographed earlier this year (who also works at Southern Bride and Groom), has an adorable blog. She always posts her gratefulgrams, and I loved the idea so much that I wanted to incorporate it into my own blog! So, at the end of each month, the NRP team will be sharing our "gratefulgrams" to summarize our experiences of the month that we're grateful for. So yes, at the end of each month you'll see our gratefulgrams, and on the first of each month I'll keep blogging my goals. Pretty fun in my opinion.

Welcome to our first gratefulgram post!

Nancy begins swim lessons / Elizabeth and Robert enjoying the 4th of July / Callie's packing for DC
Will enjoying the view in Beaufort / Nancy made homemade peach ice cream for the Ray family / Elizabeth's Dad preaching as their family held church in their backyard 

 Callie and Jamie enjoying Cape Lookout / Our Bridge youth group painting a church in Nicaragua / Will purchasing produce on the "honor system"
Nancy taking a photo from the roof at Fearrington / Callie with her beautiful farmer's market flowers / Will and Winston enjoying a morning run 

 Will & I at a Volcano in Nicaragua with our students / Elizabeth and her family having fun at Busch Gardens / Callie completed the Studio Workflow Chalk wall
Elizabeth photographing details at Fearrington / Callie enjoying DC / Elizabeth hugging her sweet Brady after bowling for Fragile X 

Be sure to follow each of us on Instagram! Nancy / Will / Callie / Elizabeth

Comments: 4

  1. Leah July 31, 2013 8:38 pm

    Nancy, you are the sweetest!

    PS – Austen and I got our photo DVD in the mail today…they are BEAUTIFUL!!
    xoxox

  2. #gratefulgram | the mint house August 1, 2013 12:57 pm

    [...] browsing some of my favorite blogs and came across this post from nancy ray photography. I saw the grateful grams title and knew it would be something I wanted to pass along. the idea is [...]

  3. #gratefulgram | casey reinert photography August 1, 2013 2:09 pm

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  4. Lorie Bilbro August 6, 2013 3:48 am

    Thanks Mark, glad you discovered it useful. :)

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Jul 30-13

Home again

The Rays ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 10 comments

I'm home! Thank you for your prayers while I was away! More images of my trip to Nicaragua are to come, but before I share my photographs, I need to share my heart a bit. I'm having a hard time jumping back into work like usual. To be transparent, it's hard to go about answering emails and editing photos after the experiences I had last week on my missions trip to Nicaragua. Jesus has wrecked me with His great love all over again, and I would have it no other way. But it sure is a challenge to just jump back into "normal life," after feeding hungry children, after praying for a little girl who was sick from the water she drank, after clothing a naked baby because all they had was a blanket to wrap her in. This world is a great and vast planet full of people loved by God, and I get so wrapped up in my own little world of life and photography and beautiful things here in Raleigh that I forget there is so much need around this earth. Lord, may I never lose sight of what You see every day.

I will never look at my "normal life" as normal again. I will always look at this home that I have as a palace. The fact that I don't have to worry about getting contaminated water in my mouth when I take a shower is luxury. Actually, the fact that I have a shower is a luxury. My floors are not made of dirt. The inside of my home doesn't get wet when it rains. My refrigerator is full of colorful fruits and vegetables, my pantry is full of meals ready to be made. I have medicine when I get sick. I have a closet and dresser FULL of clothes. The truth is, I am one of the world's wealthiest.

The most humbled and grateful I've ever been in my life was driving home from the airport after we landed in Raleigh. I was so exhausted and my spirit was so fragile (still is, actually), and my sweet mom, who had been staying at our house, told us that as a welcome home gift she got our house cleaned and she went grocery shopping for us while we were gone.  I couldn't control my tears at that point. After seeing homes built on dirt floors from scraps of metal and trash bags, I was completely overwhelmed at how much we have been given. Why me? Why was I born in this beautiful country full of freedom, so that I can use my gifts as I please? Why am I privileged to have clean water and an education and medical care when I need it? It's an overwhelming thought. And overwhelming gratitude follows right behind it. I don't deserve this, but yet, I have it all.

And that's when I have to stop, and simply acknowledge that God is Sovereign, and whisper "thank you." I can't question the One that has the perfect plan, for He graciously put me exactly where I am. There's no guilt in trusting that He planned exactly where each of His children would be born, would live, and would die. I am here because He put me here, and He is trustworthy! But now I ask, what am I to do with this experience? This wealth? This grace? Yes, He placed me here in North Carolina, with immense wealth... but not without purpose. And He placed you right where you are too.

One thing I know: this life is meant for so much more than just making money so we can be comfortable. We have been put here to share the love and salvation of Jesus. He loved each person on this beautiful earth so much that He gave His own life as a sacrifice... He paid the price for our sins, while He was perfect and undeserving of our punishment. And He rose again to give us victorious and eternal life in Him! It doesn't matter what country you live in or what you have, that truth is for each one of us.

I don't exactly know where to go from here, with this full heart and overwhelming gratitude. First things first, I'll jump back into life. I will continue to work, to answer emails, to edit beautiful photographs. But I will do so with a new perspective. I will continue to pray for my brothers and sisters in Nicaragua. I will listen to worship music and read scripture in a new way, and I just might do all of this with tears for the next few weeks, but that's okay. I want to let this experience continue to change me.

Because the truth is this: no matter where you live, no matter what you have, God is good. And that never changes. 

Comments: 10

  1. denise July 30, 2013 10:59 am

    Beautiful, heartfelt words. Our God is good. On a mission trip , we often think we are the ones who are going to help those in need. I often think that exactly the opposite happens. We are never the same .

  2. MacKenzie July 30, 2013 9:20 pm

    Nancy, your trip sounds like it made a profound impact on your life, which will in turn impact all of those you are are in contact with. I’m so grateful that you got to introduce so many youth to this culture at their young age. Think about the ripple affect this trip will have….

  3. Lara July 30, 2013 9:54 pm

    Oh my friend. Your heart inspires me. I’ve had our extreme wealth and abundance on my heart so much the last month. And I’ve been asking myself the same questions – what do I do with all of this for you, Lord?? Day by day He is showing me. I’m so grateful for how He’s used you and Will in my life to shepherd my heart towards true contentment. Praying for you during this fragile time of beautiful growth!

  4. Ashleigh July 31, 2013 3:49 am

    This is stunningly beautiful to read! I’ve been wrestling with such similar things. I’ve been thinking that God doesn’t view blessings the same way we do, not if Christ’s life is any indication of what it means to be His son. I’m sure you saw so much beauty there! Beauty in a way that we “comfort ourselves out of” here in the States. I can’t wait to see more photos of that.

  5. 10 things I think I think | Beka Watts July 31, 2013 4:02 am

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  6. Erika July 31, 2013 10:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart and capturing it here to remind you and others of ALL our blessings. I’m grateful for God’s use of your sincere voice and bold passion as yet another piece of His presence in my life.

  7. lisalis81 July 31, 2013 12:14 pm

    Nancy… I have struggled with your same questions before… Why was I born in the USA? Why do i have loving parents, a roof over my head, a job, clothes, clean water etc. Then one day at church our pastor answered these questions for me……(amazing how it was on my heart and the Lord answered via sermon). He said, We are Blessed to be a Blessing to others. The Lord has blessed me so I can be a blessing to others. So now my questions are.. “How do I go about blessing others less fortunate than me”? How do I in my daily life, show God’s love? I want to strive going forward to live a simplistic life. We have too much and my heart goes out to all those who don’t.

  8. Meredith Teasley July 31, 2013 12:27 pm

    Love this post, Nancy, and love the way God has challenged your heart through this trip! Thanks for being so vulnerable and open. Indeed He has put us here for a reason, and it’s been encouraging to see how He has used your platform of photography to share His grace with so many!

  9. Em July 31, 2013 10:24 pm

    THAT is a beautiful testimony. Amen!

  10. NRP • Part 4 | Nancy Ray Photography September 4, 2013 7:05 pm

    […] 5th anniversary, we took 26 kids to summer camp, I sprained my ankle, we took 19 adults and kids to Nicaragua on a missions trip, I had a girls weekend in the  mountains, and this weekend we are hosting our […]

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Jul 25-13

Weekend in DC

Uncategorized ~ by Callie Pitts ~ 5 comments

Blogpost by Callie

Y'all will soon learn that I love to travel, whether it's to a different country or to the North Carolina coast. There is something about exploring a new place that brings me so much joy! Especially when I get to do it with people that I love. Last weekend I traveled to Washington, DC to visit some good friends. Because I had not been to DC since I was a child, all I wanted to do was be a tourist and see everything the city had to offer!

Hands down, The Library of Congress is one of the most gorgeous buildings I have ever stepped foot in. The details and architecture are magnificent and I couldn't help but walk around with my eyes wide open gazing at every color and detail that went in to make this masterpiece complete. Even the floors are gorgeous!

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, containing 155.3 million items on 838 miles of bookshelves.
This collection contains materials in 470 languages.

Although exploring the city during the day was amazing, my favorite part of the weekend was touring The Mall at night. The weather was cooler so walking between The National World War II Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial was much more bearable. Plus it's less crowded! I highly recommend doing this if you are taking a trip anytime soon! Seeing these memorials was an unreal feeling. I found myself feeling incredibly empowered, compelled and proud to belong to this country. Both of these men accomplished so many great things for our country and in the silence of the night, it was an honor to stand before them.

 "Whatever you are, be a good one." - Abraham Lincoln

Comments: 5

  1. Emily July 25, 2013 4:10 pm

    I just moved to DC (las Friday!!) and among other reasons, the power and drive that I feel when I’m amongst these great monuments was one of the many things that brought me to this city! So glad you enjoyed your visit!

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  3. Jessica July 30, 2013 10:58 am

    Can you PLEASE tell me where you can get everything in that stripy outfit?! Including the black bag? It is SO ADORABLE!

  4. Callie July 30, 2013 12:08 pm

    Hey Jessica! Thank you! The dress is from Anthropologie, the sandals are Sam Edelman and the black bag is from Bijuju!

  5. Hampton August 23, 2013 12:11 am

    Awesome images of an amazing place that reminds us how blessed we are to be Americans!

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Jul 23-13

Hey everyone, Elizabeth here!

It is my opinion that a rehearsal dinner can hold details and moments that are equally as sweet and special as the wedding day… things not to be forgotten over time. There’s feelings of excitement and anticipation, and let’s face it- a little exhaustion, but you dine with those closest to you and celebrate because the day you’ve been waiting and planning for is now just “one sleep” away.

My husband Robert and I had the privilege of shooting Jennifer and Scott’s Rehearsal Dinner at SECCA in Winston Salem back in May, and it truly was an event to remember.

Jennifer and Scott were absolutely beaming and filled with adoration of each other in the anticipation of their big day. When they arrived at the venue we were able to take them on a little walk to capture those precious moments that they would experience together just hours before their wedding day. Shortly after, they joined back with their families and friends to celebrate the days to come.  

The event planner for the whole wedding weekend was the brilliant Becca Atchison of Rebecca Rose Events, and let me tell you – the Rehearsal Dinner was absolutely dripping with details.  We took a solid chunk of time before anybody even showed up to take pictures of the set up; there seemed to be a thoughtful detail around every corner!

Jennifer and Scott, Robert and I loved meeting you and had a blast shooting your rehearsal dinner. Congratulations and we wish you the very best in your marriage together!

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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