Image by Eric Kelley
Happy Valentines Day to all you love birds out there!
I met Amber and Will on Sunday morning at Pullen Park. It was cold and gloomy, but Amber and Will's attitudes were quite the opposite! As we walked through the park, it was almost as if we were not doing an engagement session at all but just spending time together as true friends. Our main topic of discussion: marriage counseling! I am so blessed to be working with the clients that I am during this exciting period of my life because I get it. The wedding planning including each and every little detail and decision, the life planning - where are we going to live, what are we going to do, and most importantly the marriage planning. While Jamie and I are in the midst of planning, our greatest desire is to focus more on our marriage and less on our wedding. I am so encourage by this couple, because they are doing just that. I love the way that they have invested in the marriage counseling series at Summit and were open with me about the things they have been learning about marriage and about each other.
Fun side note: Jamie and Will were in the same Fraternity at NC State and we didn't put this together until after Amber and Will booked me as their photographer and we found out we go to the same church!
Amber and Will, I am so excited for your wedding in less than two weeks and am praying that The Lord will continue to bless you!
You guys, God is so good. I am so incredibly honored to be speaking at the Influence Conference in September to share my heart alongside these incredible people. If you don't know about the Influence Conference, it's time for you to spend some time on the Influence Network, fall in love with Jessi and Hayley and all the other brilliant women who run this community, then mark your calendars for 2/17 to sign up. It's going to be really beautiful, and I can already tell it's going to sell out fast. Comment on this post if you're planning on joining us! I'm feeling humbled and blessed as this year unfolds before me. 2014 is going to be GOOD!
Meredith and AC, the sweetest couple, met me early one morning at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh. I was so grateful to see the beautiful light bouncing all around the buildings as soon as we arrived! I admit, I had never been there before, but that is always my favorite thing to do: to photograph new couples in new spaces. Something about the different backgrounds, the unique architecture and vibrant colors - it was all a backdrop that was brand new to me. And to incorporate these new backdrops with this couple's laid-back, fun personalities was the perfect match. I can tell AC and Meredith have great style, but it's the kind of style that's effortless. It's just them - relaxed and fun. Meredith struck me as such a natural beauty: very little make up, yet so stunning. AC was so comfortable in front of the camera too, which made my job super easy!
I love the way they describe their relationship: comfortable and casual. It's true, too - I felt so comfortable around them, like I had known them forever. I'm especially excited about their wedding! It's going to take place in the same small town that my own Mama grew up in, and they desire to make family the heartbeat of their wedding celebration. I'm so grateful to be a part of this couple's life as they begin their lives together!
"Several months ago, my family (and Robert and I) had the privilege of visiting “a little piece of heaven” – Bar TT Ranch, not far from Dillon, Montana. The term “a little piece of heaven” is something we picked up from the family that owns the 75+ square mile working cattle ranch, and is a huge understatement to my family.
I’m not really sure where to even start in describing what this trip meant for my family. I could write for days about the history and the details of the Ranch, and the memories my family made. I took about a thousand pictures but will only share a handful. Nothing I could write or show you in this post will do our time in Montana justice.
The quality time that my family spent together was irreplaceable. Each day we gathered at “Hilltop” to eat together, play games, hang out, and plan our adventures. We had our own agenda every day: four wheeling, hiking, horseback riding in the hills, skeet shooting... really just enjoying being outside and exploring completely unknown and breathtaking territory. We’d meet back at Hilltop for lunch, and again at dinner. Each meal served was unbelievable, y’all. We were, without question, completely spoiled by Mrs. Gay, the ranch cook whose sweet company we enjoyed just as much as her cooking!
We were also blessed to be in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Sloan while we were there – Mr. Sloan is my mom’s boss and the owner of the Bar Double T Ranch. I can’t say enough about this man’s generosity, integrity and character. We so enjoyed spending time with he and his sweet wife... hearing their stories and sharing with them in the joy that comes from this magnificent place.
Without a doubt, one of the best trips my family has been on together. We loved every minute of our time together and will treasure it for years and years to come!
I've been waiting to share this incredibly lovely wedding with you, friends! Emily and Andy tied the knot in historic Winston-Salem, and their wedding could not be more elegant. Blush hues, lace, pearls, black tie tuxedos, lush bouquets, the sweetest first look, raindrops, umbrellas, gold undertones, an entertaining band and a groom that can d-a-n-c-e! (Seriously, y'all. I've never seen a groom with moves like Andy.) Everything came together to create one stunning celebration. Emily's style resonates with me so much, which is another reason I adore this wedding. I think if I were to re-create my wedding today, it would be very similar to this one. She has such lovely taste! Rebecca Rose outdid herself as she pulled the details together seamlessly, and Amy Lynne created florals that I could not stop staring at all day. Their bouquets were just stunning. Emily and Andy are young, beautiful, and so bright - both are students in med school at Wake Forest. Planning a wedding in the midst of studying, exams, and the high demands of med school made it all the sweeter when the wedding day arrived. Now that they are happily married, they can tackle med school as a team! So grateful to have captured your beautiful celebration, Emily and Andy. You were so wonderful to work with! And Andy… please never stop dancing!
A big thank you to Snippet and Ink for featuring their lovely wedding today!
Ceremony Venue: Highland Presbyterian Church
Reception Venue: Old Town Club
Cake Artist: Maxie B's
Caterer: Old Town Club
Florist: Amy Lynne Originals
Event Designer/Coordinator: Rebecca Rose Events
Reception Band: The Company Band
Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup and More
Calligrapher: Carole Murrary
Hello, friends! While Nancy Ray Photography did not have an internship program last year, we have decided to bring on a spring intern this year! This presents an awesome experience for someone to learn business and photography in a growing studio with multiple photographers. We will be hiring a Spring Intern by mid-March. Here is what we’re looking for:
– Someone who can commit to working approximately 10-15 hours a week in April, May and June, with a somewhat flexible schedule.
– Someone who has a passion for photography, weddings, and organization.
– A great work ethic is super important to us, as well as someone who loves to learn, can work and problem solve independently, and is very responsible
– Someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and contribute to a team
– Someone who is very familiar with Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
– A working knowledge of Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and WordPress would be a bonus!
– Someone who loves music, coffee, and big dogs.
Here are some of the things you can expect to learn:
– The basics of social media to grow a small business and interacting with followers
– How to maintain photography equipment
– The flow of a wedding day and working with vendors
– What it takes to make weddings, sessions, and editorial/styled shoots successful
– The big and little things required to keep a studio running smoothly
– Writing occasional posts on the blog
– How a bustling wedding photography business is run in high wedding season
This position is unpaid, but we are happy to work with you to get college credit if that’s something your school offers. We know this will be a great learning opportunity! If chosen for the internship, we will need you to work in person in the NRP studio in North Raleigh.
Sound like you? Please fill out this form no later than February 25 at 11:59pm. Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions. Please do not email your application to us or email us to confirm receipt. We will be in touch with applicants who we think might be a good fit within two weeks of February 25!
We can’t wait to hear from y’all!!
Several couples I have the opportunity to work with don't live in North Carolina, so I usually try to get to know them throughout their engagement via video chat and during their engagement session. When I first met Lauren and Mark through Skype, I was smitten - first by their love story, second by Lauren's genuine and sweet personality, third by Mark's British accent. I just fell in love with this couple! And when I spent the afternoon with them on a chilly day capturing their engagement photos, I became entirely too excited to work with them. Truly, they are one of a kind. You could write a movie based on their love story, and it would be a box-office hit. On top of that, they are so kind and thoughtful and real - I felt like I had known them for years. After several offers and attempts to bring me Starbucks (I politely declined due to the amount of equipment I was carrying), they showed up adorable and ready for their session. It was very cold outside, but they never complained. I admired how Mark was constantly taking off his jacket and wrapping it around Lauren, making sure she was warm and loved. She, in turn, would be concerned for him. Their "normal" is caring for the other instead of themselves. This couple will happily grow old together with attitudes like that!
A short summary of their story, because it's too good not to share:
Lauren, with a sense of adventure, decided to purchase a 1 way ticket to London in order to spend a year studying and working abroad. She interned at a bank in London, and her boss introduced her to a handsome young man by the name of Mark. They became colleagues, working closely together and eventually began secretly dating each other halfway through the year. After falling in love and discovering their relationship meant more to them than anything else, they had a big talk and revealed their relationship to their boss. Lauren's visa was soon expiring, and she knew that she had to move back to the States, but she didn't want to leave Mark! So Mark did what any gentleman would do: he bought a one way ticket to the States! He secured a job in the US, and they've been together ever since. Now living in NYC, they are so grateful they found each other.
I told you - they could be in a movie. Lauren and Mark, I can't wait for your big celebration!
Don't you love how they included their national flags?
Football and Rubgy, too! They came prepared, and I love how they incorporated meaningful symbols as they begin their lives together. What a fun session!
I love February. I took this photograph of one of my favorite marriage quotes in hopes to remind myself what love is really about. This is the month we celebrate love! We go on dates, we buy gifts, we embrace romance and butterflies and getting dressed up for one another. But if we are honest, love is more than butterflies and romance. It is selflessness and work. It is sacrifice and victories. It is doing all that you can to make your spouse the person he or she is meant to be. It is making time to nurture your relationship even when you don't feel like it - the other 11 months of the year included. I do love this quote and I do love February because it causes all of us to stop and evaluate our relationships, and that is a good thing.
Do you know why else I love February? This quote says it better than I can:
"If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. January is for dreamers... February is for doers -"
- [Marc Parent / Runner's World Mag]
That quote hit me like a ton of bricks as I was reading Runner's World this month. Isn't it GOOD? It's just the kick in the pants I needed as I begin this month. Last year, Will and I did the Whole30 in January. This year, we have done our own variation of the Whole30, and have abstained from processed food, sugar and grains all month. Yes, we have talked quite a bit about how nice it would be to eat a warm piece of bread, some oatmeal, a mug of hot chocolate and various desserts. But I don't want to just dive back into my "old ways," you know? What's the point of all this sacrifice if it doesn't lead to lasting change?
One of my 2014 goals I wrote out in my Powersheets is this:
I want to take care of my body. I want to be fit, skinny and strong: a woman who runs distances and isn't afraid of a little pain. I want to eat food that fuels me - full of nutrition. I don't want to be like our culture. I want to lead by example.
If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. I'm certainly embracing that this month! I'm the kind of person who needs defined boundaries in order to make something work, so in regards to my health, I'm striving this year to limit my desserts to once or twice a week. (Says the girl who has a major sweet tooth and used to eat something sweet at least once a day.) So I'm determined to break my bad habit of reaching for sugar every day, and replace it with the habit of reaching for a glass of lemon water, or an apple, or my favorite green peach tea. I'm also determined to stay consistent with my strength training workouts 2-3x/week, and my pilates DVDs as well. The only way to kick a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit! This is MY YEAR to break these habits for good.
Healthy eating isn't my only goal this month, as you might have guessed! I'm focusing a lot on getting the studio in order before wedding season officially begins with our first wedding of the year on 2/22. Here are my goals for this month!
20 in 2014: Read Rich Dad Poor Dad & Paid to Speak
Organize and streamline ShootQ
Begin Intern hiring process (If you're interested, stay tuned! And please - don't email me quite yet!)
Buy and sell lenses, cameras and computers. Time for a studio and equipment refresh!
Install Drobo and get it up and running
Go on a date with Will and think up something creative for him. (We've decided not to buy each other gifts this Valentine's day, but rather do something meaningful for each other.)
Speak at the WPR Roots Workshop alongside our friends Geoff & Cheyenne (aka The Schultzes)
Decide on gym membership
Line up Winston-sitters and reserve rental equipment before wedding season starts
Take a Calligraphy Class
Order personal photos to fill frames in our home
Implement new workflow after the first NRP wedding of the year
Take photos of us one weekend - just for fun
Finish leading The Legacy Journey at church
Be true to my new healthy lifestyle, especially in regards to eating dessert once or twice a week
What goal or area of your life do you want to implement lasting change? I'd love to hear it!
Learned strength-training workouts, Kettlebell style (hello, Turkish getup!) / Flew my three favorite triplet nephews to Raleigh to spend 3 days with us / Enjoyed my morning routine quiet time, incorporating Lara's Powersheets into my goal setting / Photographed my first engagement session of 2014 / Spoke at the Carolina Inn bridal showcase / Had fun planning our talk with our sweet friends The Schultzes for the WPS Roots Workshop
Stuffed our bellies full with delicious food at our wedding catering tasting / Celebrated 2014 with these lovely ladies in our gold sparkles / Celebrated my 23rd birthday and received some pretty amazing gifts including a plane ticket to Europe, a ticket to the Making Things Happen Conference, a camera strap with my new monogram and a Canon TX film camera / Celebrated my best friend and maid of honor, Mary Courtney's engagement / Completed Lara Casey's Power Sheets for 2014 / Toured Charleston with Jamie for his first time ever and made a lot of wedding decisions
Frozen selfie at Biltmore / One of my favorite engagement sessions so far / Pretending to be fancy with hubby at Biltmore / The Arms / Cozy mornings working from home / Texas bound to see my best friend and to meet her sweet baby boy
A new bible and new Saddleback Leather Cover / Dave Ramsey's Legacy Journey class focus on contentment / Celebrating the New Year and Nancy's 27th birthday / Working with some awesome financial coaching clients to help them change their lives / Getting to see my favorite hip-hop artist Lecrae in concert / Enjoyed our snow day at home