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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Apr 03-15

Will and I are thrilled to announce The Engaged Entrepreneur: a financial workshop for creative entrepreneurs!



Over the past 7 years, Will and I have worked hard to grow our businesses : Nancy Ray Photography & Will Ray Coaching. We’ve learned a lot in that time about how to effectively manage our business finances, and how those principles really enhance our personal lives. It took us a little while, but we have been profitable for years now and debt-free the whole way through.

I have to be honest : Will has kept me on track. He is the "numbers guy," and while I am pretty business savvy (I do love marketing, strategic planning, and team growth), much of my success as a photographers is directly tied to Will's guidance and common sense. Now, he regularly works with creative entrepreneurs to help them take their understanding and money management to the next level. We make a pretty good team! I'm the creative one, he's the down to earth business brain. We balance each other out, and our passion is to see other entrepreneurs engage with their money and WIN.

Now we want to bring that to you, in an inspiring one-day workshop that will empower you, answer your questions and help you do three big things:

Know your Money • Be Free of Fear • Leave a Legacy


There’s so much to tell, that we’ve devoted a whole site to it! Check out Engaged-Entrepreneur.com for all the information about the workshop, what we’ll cover, what to expect, and to register to join us!

The Engaged Entrepreneur: A financial workshop for creative entrepreneurs
Know Your Money • Be Free of Fear • Leave a Legacy
Monday, November 16, 2015
Raleigh, NC


We hope you’ll join us!

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Apr 01-15

April Goals

Goals ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 4 comments


I feel like April is about to take me on a crazy ride. Weddings, nursery prep, family vacation, baby prep, childbirth classes, and finishing everything I possibly can before maternity leave arrives on May 10th. I have a whole lot of "to do's," but I have to ask myself, what exactly are my goals?

One definition of a goal is "an aim or desired result." My aim or desired result at the end of April is to have a clutter free home, to have made huge progress on my new branding, to have successfully photographed 2 beautiful weddings and several sessions, to have the nursery finished, and to be in "wrap up mode" by the beginning of May.

I have to keep that desired result in my mind, or I will get overwhelmed and won't stick to it. But in order to really accomplish those goals, I need to break them down to a more practical level.

April Goals

Read 12 in 12 : Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and The Power of a Praying Parent
Photograph an editorial shoot for Southern Weddings Magazine
Dive into wedding season : photograph 2 weddings
Spend a long weekend in Beaufort with Will
Complete our Birth Classes
Stay current with assignments for NRP's new branding (It's always tough to balance the urgent v. important. This is super important, but not urgent, hence it needs to be on my goals.)
Take a vacation to the beach with my family and celebrate my cousin's wedding
Begin the great de-clutter of 2015 in the Ray household:
Clean out our closet
Clean out our dressers + bedside tables
Clean out our garage
Run or exercise 2-3x / week

Here's to a productive, fantastic April!

Comments: 4

  1. Elizabeth April 1, 2015 9:21 am

    My aunt is moving to Beaufort. It’s such a pretty place. We are currently decluttering our home as well. Have you read The Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? It inspired me so much to simplify.

  2. Kyla Fetzner April 1, 2015 10:24 am

    Yay for making way for Baby Ray! I did a lot of simplifying and decluttering in March and it is an incredible breath of fresh air to usher in the warmer weather. I put Essentialism by Greg McKeown on my reading list too for further encouragement to keep simplifying

  3. Stephanie Scholl April 1, 2015 11:06 am

    May will be here before you know it, but it definitely sounds like you’re preparing to have a fun, productive, and intentional month between now and sweet baby Ray’s arrival!! I’ve been sharing about your Contentment Challenege, by the way, with my small group & trying to challenge each other to fit it into our lives (something I’ve been adapting into my life for years)!

    I’ve shared my April goals on my blog – https://stephseekingjoy.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/april-2015-goals/

  4. Kelly April 2, 2015 7:29 am

    Yay Nancy!! You can do it! Cheering you on!! :)

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Mar 31-15

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.40.14 PM

I still have to pinch myself when I see our wedding in Volume 7 of Southern Weddings Magazine. It was a true honor to have our love story and wedding day featured in their magazine and then later on their blog. I have followed Southern Weddings for quite some time and remember the exact moment that I told Nancy it would be a dream to have my wedding featured in their magazine.

The wedding industry has so much to offer to brides planning their wedding, from magazines to blogs to pinterest. There are so many wonderful places for brides to find inspiration for their wedding and engaged women to be encouraged about planning more for than marriage and less for their wedding. While there is never a guarantee that your wedding will be featured or published (it often depends on the need of the specific blog or magazine for the specific time of year), there are some ways that you can increase the likelihood of getting a feature. Here are 4 tips you can implement to help get your wedding featured, if that is something that is important to you:

1. Talk with your photographer about your interest in potentially submitting your wedding for a publication

Like I mentioned above, I can remember the moment when I told Nancy that it would be a dream to have my wedding featured in Southern Weddings Magazine. It was at the very beginning on my engagement, as Jamie and I began to plan the larger details of our wedding - venue, vendors, etc. I knew we would have a Southern wedding, but it wasn't until these details came into focus that I began to think that our wedding would be a good fit for their magazine.

Discussing your favorite publications, magazines and blogs with your photographer throughout your engagement will allow you both to be in unity with the style and vision you have for your big day. Because Nancy knew I loved Southern Weddings Magazine, she took a special effort to shoot in film, capture additional details, and focus on the Southern elements of the wedding day. It always helps to know in advance, rather than springing it on your photographer later!

2. Prepare your details

If you look at wedding blogs or magazines frequently, you will notice that they like to publish lots of images of the details of your wedding day - floral arrangements, paper goods, etc. These are the images where brides will find inspiration for their own weddings. It's important to prepare the details for your photographer, so they can take time to photograph them. To learn more about what this actually means, read this blogpost.

Here's an extra tip for you photographers out there: study your publications! For example, we know that Martha Stewart Weddings and Southern Weddings Magazine both prefer vertical shots of the invitation suite. It's the little things that will help you increase your chances for being featured, but you have to really learn what those blogs are looking for in order to implement them on the wedding day.

3. Don't make wedding planning decisions based on a publication

If you follow one specific wedding blog or magazine, you will begin to pick up on their style or heartbeat - the kind of weddings or images that they like to feature. However, do not plan your wedding around their preferences! This is YOUR day, not theirs. It is much more important to design and plan your wedding based on what you like and what is meaningful to you. Do not let a publication opportunity make your decisions for you. I promise your wedding will be so much more meaningful if you and your fiancé make these decisions on what you want!

Focus every wedding planning decision around this one question: What reflects us, as a couple, the most? It can be tempting to get lost in the world of publications, but when you are 80 years old, you really won't care. Focus on your marriage and your own personal preferences over those of a blog or magazine.

4. Keep your expectations low

Unfortunately, publication can never be promised by your photographer or planner. If your wedding is not accepted for a publication, it does not mean it is not special or beautiful! Hold on to that truth in knowing that you planned a beautiful and special wedding based around what you love and not what other people think of it. Over time we have submitted some breathtakingly beautiful weddings for features, only to get turned away. When we ask these publications why they weren't accepted, it's often because they already have agreed to feature a pink wedding, or because they have already scheduled a barn wedding and need a church wedding, or because it's simply not a good fit with their brand. Have low expectations, because you never know what a publication needs in that particular season!  

I am so incredibly thankful for all the Southern Weddings ladies who stand for strong and beautiful marriages. Thank you so much for featuring our wedding and telling our love story. Be sure to see our blog feature here and the magazine feature here.


Comments: 2

  1. Kyla Fetzner April 1, 2015 10:18 am

    I loved seeing your wedding gracing the first pages of the Real Weddings section of V7, Callie! After seeing you and Jamie’s wedding video, it was so fun to see the details in print a few months later :)

  2. Em April 1, 2015 8:43 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you for sharing!!

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Mar 30-15


Right now, I am currently sharing my heart with dozens of other women and men at Making Things Happen. This conference is so unique and different than any other I've been a part of, and every time I get so excited because I know I'll get something new out of it. When I spoke last fall, I had just found out I was pregnant. Now that I've had a few months to simmer on that, I'm excited to dive in and see what this Making Things Happen will hold for me this time around, just a few months from being a Mama!

This conferences is all about being intentional with your life - creating a life of balance and priorities. It's all about making the right, most important decisions, rather than being driven by the urgency of day to day life. It's about kicking clutter and meaningless things out, and welcoming memories and meaningful people in.

MTH, I'm ready for you. Let's do this!






Photos by Glessner Photography and Robyn Van Dyke

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Mar 29-15

Callie in Italy!

NRP Team ~ by Callie Davis ~ no comments


I am so excited to be spending the next 11 days in the beautiful country of Italy! Although I spent some time there last summer with my very best friends (see my blogposts here, here and here), I am thrilled to be heading back to this amazing place with Jamie and his family! While our trip last year was centered around seeing everything that we possibly could, this trip will be more about rest and experiencing the Italian culture.

Some things that we will be doing:
Market Tours
Cooking Classes (so excited about this!)
Wine, Castle and Vineyard Tours
Eat a lot of delicious food (Gelato at least once a day!)
Attend an Easter Sunday Church service
Hike Cinque Terre
Spend a day in Florence
Visit the Portofino Lighthouse
Hike to San Frugguoso and Camogli
Spend a night in London (on our way home)

Be sure to follow along with our trip on my instagram!

If you have questions while I am away, please contact Nancy@nancyrayphotography.com. She will be in the studio answering emails Mondays - Thursdays while I am gone. 
I will be back in the studio returning emails on Tuesday, April 14th.  Thank you for your patience, as I plan to disconnect and not look at emails while I am on vacation!

As they say in Italy, Arrivederci!


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Mar 27-15

My sweet friend Perry (a very gifted photographer!) just had her little baby Ireland. I went to visit them one afternoon to talk about life as a new mom, and I snapped some sweet images of the two of them together. Her home studio lighting was swoon worthy - I adore these giant windows! Thank you Perry and Ireland for letting me come visit for the afternoon!

Film processing : Indie Film Lab









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Mar 24-15

Hi friends! Nancy here - I'm chiming in on Callie's Wedding Advice series to give some advice of my own: how to be a bridesmaid and a photographer! I'm letting you into how I planned to photograph this beautiful wedding, as well as encourage, love, and support Callie on her big day.

I'll never forget the conversation that Callie and I had the day after Jamie proposed. While driving home from a bridal session together on the coast of North Carolina, she said that she was torn because she wanted me standing by her side as a bridesmaid, and she wanted me to shoot her wedding! I was so honored at the thought of doing either one, but both? I couldn't believe it!

Then I began thinking - how could I do that? Being a bridesmaid is a big responsibility all by itself, and I wanted to make sure I did that well. I wanted to be there to pray with her, to encourage her, and to stand by her when she said her vows. But who would shoot the ceremony, if I was holding a bouquet up front? Of course, being the lead wedding photographer is also a tremendous responsibility! Thinking of capturing every detail, moment, and portrait necessary to deliver the high standard of wedding photography that I do seemed a bit overwhelming. But I was determined. I went home and began to think of the steps I needed to take in order to make this happen.

Here are 5 ways you can be a wonderful bridesmaid and wedding photographer - all on the same day.


Create a dream team

The first thing I did after agreeing to being Callie's bridesmaid and photographer was get my dream team in place! I imagined the day happening without me : who could shoot this wedding beautifully, without me having to worry about a thing, if I were to be whisked away for an important bridesmaid duty? I had planned on Will (my husband), Elizabeth (our associate photographer), and Elizabeth's husband Robert to come as well to carry equipment and assist us. That made 4 of us, and I felt really great about it.

Sometimes things happen as you plan it, and other times they don't. Would you believe that Elizabeth and Robert both got the Norovirus the week of Callie's wedding? I was frantically calling my closest photography friends, when our dear friends Geoff and Cheyenne Schultz dropped everything to help us shoot Callie and Jamie's wedding. Even though it wasn't our original team, it ended up being an incredible dream team that I was so thankful for. Goodness it is such a blessing to have friends that are wedding photographers! I don't know what I would have done without those two.

Prioritize your bridesmaid moments
There were certain moments of the Callie's day that I knew I had to be 100% bridesmaid, which meant I had to set down my camera. The 3 most important moments :

1. Praying with Callie and the other bridesmaids prior to the ceremony
2. Being an active part of the ceremony. You know, normal bridesmaids duties: carrying the bouquet down the aisle, standing in the front as they say their vows, and walking back down the aisle.
3. Dancing with Will at the reception! Callie made sure that last one happened - she wanted to be sure we also had fun.

That meant that for those 3 moments, I had to make sure that the other photographers were ready and in place to photograph them. We communicate this ahead of time, so they knew exactly where to be when.

Prioritize your photographer moments
Just as I made sure that I was 100% bridesmaid for certain moments of the day, I also knew that I had to be 100% photographer for other parts of the day. Yes, I was still wearing my bridesmaid dress, but I was in the photography zone. Those 3 moments included:

1. Shooting the details. I arrive almost 3 hours early to photograph all the details. I made sure I had invitations on hand, her accessories, the boutonnieres.... everything I could possibly think of. I knew Callie and I shared the dream of getting her wedding published in Southern Weddings Magazine, and details is an important part of that! I knew that no one could shoot the details in film exactly how I wanted to except for me. I missed out on some of the getting ready time with the girls, but for me, it was worth it.
2. The Portraits. After the ceremony, I photographed all the family portraits, as well as the portraits of Callie and Jamie. I also photographed the gentlemen, but I have to give proper credit! : Cheyenne and Will photographed all the ladies portraits - the only ones I couldn't photograph myself.
3. The big reception moments. You know, the first dances, the cake cutting, the toasts, and the exit. All the other photographers were of course shooting with me, but I made sure I got the shots I wanted, since it was my responsibility as lead photographer.


Make a detailed schedule
I planned out every moment of that weekend. Then, I printed the timeline for Friday and Saturday and kept it on me at all times. I had my details list, my family portraits list, and every photographer's responsibilities printed and ready to go. I was constantly referring to this detailed schedule to keep me on task, so I could easily switch from "bridesmaid mode" to "photographer mode" and back again! I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have that list. Also, every one of the photographers had their copy of the same list, so we were all on the same page at the same time.

Have fun
I have to admit - this was the hardest one for me! I had placed such importance on doing my very best job at both roles, it was difficult for me to relax. But I made the conscious decision to enjoy every moment of that day, no matter how focused I got on the job in front of me. I'll never forget - when I finally decided to set my camera down and let the Schultzes take over the dance floor, I had fun. Will and I finally cut loose and danced together, and it was such a wonderful memory from their wedding! However, it did take me until 3:30am to unwind and settle down to where I could finally fall asleep! My mind was racing so fast from the entire checklist and schedule from the day, it was hard to slow down. The next day I was more exhausted then I had ever been after a wedding, but it was such a good feeling to know I gave it my all!


I wouldn't have traded that day and my two very special roles for the world. Callie, thank you for asking me to be involved in two of the most important ways I could imagine. You made a beautiful bride, and you make and even more beautiful wife. Jamie is quite the lucky man to have you!

Comments: 1

  1. Cheyenne Schultz March 24, 2015 3:04 pm

    Loved reading this. We were so blessed by this whole day…thank you for having us, Nancy, Will, Callie and Jamie..wish we could do it all over again. xoxo.

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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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