Mar 06-15

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And, we're off! Will and I are headed to sunny California to enjoy some time away together before our baby arrives in May. In case you are curious, here are some of our plans while we are there :

Enjoy a lot of sleep
See the Redwoods outside of San Francisco
Stay inside Yosemite National Park
Visit the giants at Mariposa Grove
Hike to Mirror Lake and/or Mist Trail
Eat delicious food
Take the 17 Mile drive along the coast
Visit Glacier Point at sunset
Stay at the lovely Carmel Valley Ranch and eat a s'more every night
Enjoy a spa day there!
Explore Pebble Beach / Spanish Bay
Swim in their pool (if it's warm enough)
Explore Big Sur for a day, visiting overlook trail or Tanbark trail
Pray together, read together, be together. Just the two of us.

Be sure to follow our trip on my Instagram and Will's Instagram!
See you in a week!

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For those of you interested in wedding / family photography services, or if you have questions while we are away, please contact Callie@nancyrayphotography.com. She will be in the studio answering emails Mondays - Thursdays while we are away.

I will be back in the studio returning emails on Thursday, March 12. Thank you for your patience, as we plan to disconnect and not look at emails while we are on vacation!

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Mar 04-15

Meet Olivia!

NRP Team ~ by Nancy Ray ~ one comment

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We are so thrilled to welcome sweet Olivia to our NRP Team! We've been spending a lot of time with her over the past 2 months as she made it through all 7 interviews and has spent much time in the studio training. Her demeanor is sweet and uplifting, she is passionate about wedding photography, she loves Jesus, she loves people, and she is the perfect fit for our team!

Olivia is our new Associate Wedding Photographer. She will be accepting weddings that will take place this fall, and her full portfolio and online gallery will be available for viewing this summer when we launch an updated site. Until then, she will be spending as much time with us as possible! In the studio, at sessions, at weddings, you name it. We are so excited her future here at NRP! We've interviewed her for the blog, so you all can get to know her a bit better.

Be sure to follow Olivia's Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest

Welcome, Olivia!

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What is your name?
Olivia Grace Wolf

Where are you from?
I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina when I was pretty young and it has been home ever since!

Where are you in school?
I am currently a student at East Carolina University, Go pirates!!

Why do you love photography?
Life moves so incredibly fast, and I have always loved being able to look at a picture and take myself back to that exact instant. Photographs allow people to hold on to still moments long after the moment has passed and I have dreamed about creating these memories for others since I can remember.

What are you passionate about?
Coffee shops, my family, my faith in Christ, healthy eating, to-do lists, the beach, forgiveness, and creating memories.

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What is your favorite non-photography blog?
A Piece of Toast

What is your favorite food?
Zucchini nut bread

Who is your favorite music artist?
Ben Rector, Gavin Degraw, James Taylor, and Tim Mcgraw…this was my narrowed down list…I’m a sucker for music.

Your favorite hobbies?
Running, coffee dates, and perusing around Fresh Market.

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What is your favorite treat? (dessert, etc)
Coke Icee, even when it is freezing cold outside!

What are you grateful for today?
Today I am grateful for quiet mornings. I love being up a little before I need to be and having time in the morning to worship. Before starting a busy day with lots of people I am thankful that I get time with just Jesus and myself.

What is your current favorite book?
I have yet to find a book that knocks Redeeming Love off the top of my list, however, recommendations are welcome!

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What do you love about a wedding?
I love when the bride and groom get to see each other for the first time; whether it is a first look, or when the bride begins walking down the aisle. All at once you can see a wave of excitement and peace come over both the bride and groom and none of what has happened during the day prior to that moment matters anymore.

Where would we find you on a Friday night?
On a Friday night you could probably find me one of two places, either watching a movie with my boyfriend, Andrew. After being apart all week, since we go to different schools, we like to unwind from the week together. If I am not there, then we have probably gone out for Mexican food!

What’s something that no one knows about you?
I have always wanted to create my own magazine, not exactly sure what it would be about, but it has always amazed me how powerful words can be.

Comments: 1

  1. Molly Spragins March 4, 2015 4:48 pm

    Olivia is my cousin/sister and I love her dearly!!! Obviously she is beautiful and VERY photogenic! She’s the comedian of the family and has us all rolling in laughter at every family gathering. She has such a sweet heart and I am excited to see all she will capture in others lives!!

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Mar 03-15

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Meet my incredible immediate family! These people mean the world to me, and family photos on your wedding day are some of the most important pictures that you will take. Your wedding day will be a unique day, because hopefully all of your family will be together in one place, and it's definitely important to capture you all together. These are the images that will be framed throughout your families homes and the pictures you will look back on to remember the beautiful joining of two families.

Because our wedding ceremony was held outdoors, Jamie and I decided to have all of our family pictures taken outdoors. Not only did it allow for Nancy to shoot in film, but I also knew that it would give our pictures the warm and natural feel that I wanted. I encourage all brides to request to have their family pictures done outside.

If you are getting married in a church, it's easy to automatically assume that you have to have your family pictures taken inside by the altar. While these pictures are beautiful and traditional, I love the way that outdoor family pictures have the same style and lighting as the rest of our formal portraits. The key is making sure all of the formal portraits flow together beautifully and cohesively.

Also, be sure to communicate with your photographer beforehand a specific list of the different combinations of family pictures that you want. Keep in mind that the more pictures that you would like to take and the bigger your family is, the longer this picture time will last. We like to carve out at least 25 minutes for family portraits in our wedding day timeline.

Your family pictures are going to be treasured heirlooms for years to come.  Building adequate time into your timeline and intentionally choosing the location will go a long way to ensure they are the pictures that you want for your family.

Question for married readers: What's your favorite thing about the family portraits from your wedding? 

 

Comments: 2

  1. Erin Snyder March 3, 2015 9:43 am

    I love this! I remember soon after we got married, another photographer wrote a blog about outdoor family photos. I chose to have mine inside, by the altar, but looking back, so wish I had done them outside! It was HOT on my wedding day so my family would not have been thrilled about that, but the images are stunning. We love flipping back through and noticing the changes our family has had. We’ve watched little ones grow and older ones go to be with the Lord. Our family images are so special for us for the sole purpose of capturing where we were in that moment and looking back with fond memories!

  2. Lorin Fairweather March 4, 2015 10:09 am

    Outside for family portraits all the way! I loved having all our close & distance relatives all in one place & one frame on our wedding day. Such a special time! And unlike Erin’s wedding, our day was actually pretty chilly! We still opted for outdoor photos & took them quickly so everyone could head inside & warm up.

    From my experience at our own wedding & from shooting weddings, it does help to set up for portraits somewhat away from where the cocktail hour (or in our case, cider hour) is taking place so that everyone can focus on the photographer(s), hear when they’re need for photos & not be as distracted. It’s no fun when you have to shout, “Aunt Sue? Has anyone seen Aunt Sue?” over & over haha :)

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Mar 01-15

March 2015 Goals

Goals ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 5 comments

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February was so good. It was full of adventures and snow, progress and training, and it marked the start of my third trimester. But I will admit : the beginning of February was really hard because of one word: indecision. There were so many big things we had to make decisions about, and they were hard. For whatever reason, Will and I could not for the life of us decide where to take our babymoon. I couldn't decide whether to not to take a trip to Nashville to run a 15K and surprise my sister, or stay home. I couldn't decide whether to say yes or no to speaking engagements this fall. We are still trying to decide on a crib. I felt like I was stuck in this slump of indecision on so many levels, and it was rough.

One night when I was talking to my mom about it, she said something to me that really changed my mind about my indecision. She said, "Nancy, make a decision, then make it right." In other words, it's best to just go ahead and make the decision, then don't look back to regret it! Boom. Then you can move forward and enjoy that decision! After agonizing for much to long, I simply said: we are doing this. So, we did plan a spontaneous trip to Nashville to visit my mom and surprise my sister and my niece Harper (it was her 7th birthday!). I secretly signed us both up to run in the Hot Chocolate 5K / 15K on Valentine's Day! And guess what? It was SO worth it. My sister burst into tears when I walked in the door, and Harper wouldn't stop hugging me. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made! I learned that it really is better to decide and move forward, rather than sit in the stress of indecision.

Also, after vacillating between Italy or California for our babymoon, we finally decided on California. And guess what? It absolutely was and is the right decision. Shorter flights (less swelling), more luxurious accommodations (thanks to more cushion in our budget), less stress to see and do all the things, no language barrier, warmer weather, focusing on one another rather than the hectic travel schedule (isn't that what a babymoon is all about?) ... it's going to be perfect.

So, make March a month of decisions! What have you been putting off? What have you been agonizing over?
Make your decision, then make it right. Happy March, friends!

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March Goals

Read 12 in 12 : The Soul of Money & Baby Wise
Announce our New Associate Photographer (check the blog this Wednesday!)
Go on a Babymoon to California!
Launch our new Financial Workshop
Cook 2 new recipes from Bread and Wine with my sister
Go Camping at the coast with friends (weather permitting!)
Furnish the Nursery
Have our Maternity Photos taken by Callie
Savor our sweet baby shower
Speak at Making Things Happen
Run 2-3 times / week

Comments: 5

  1. Molly Spragins March 2, 2015 8:15 am

    Nancy – I LOVED the book Bread and Wine!! I want to make all of the recipes!!! :)

  2. Stephanie Scholl March 2, 2015 11:17 am

    Bread & Wine is SO good!! And surprising family is always the best decision :)

  3. Kyla Fetzner March 2, 2015 2:55 pm

    Go Nancy go! I have spent lengthy periods of time in indecision before and this post encouraged me to not do that anymore. I posted my March goals today: http://www.kylamary.com/2015/03/march-goals/ :)

  4. Jude March 4, 2015 7:14 pm

    I have been debating telling you to make sure and read Baby Wise. You will definitely get varied opinions on it, but I found it the BEST thing for each of my three boys. They ALL slept through the night at 6-7 weeks old, and had the best, most predictable schedule. They were happy babies, and I believe that is because they were well rested! (um, and so was this mama!) (Also, we never had to let them “cry it out”. The longest they ever cried was 5-10 minutes.)
    Really, I swear by the simplicity of feed, wake, sleep.
    And Bread and Wine, that has been on my wishlist forever :)

  5. Emily March 5, 2015 10:58 pm

    I will have to check out Bread and Wine! Adding a recommended cookbook to my list always makes it better.

    Your comments on indecision are so insightful. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    I posted my March goals here: http://alwaysemmyhope.com/2015/03/05/march-2015-goals/

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Feb 28-15

USB Boxes

Products ~ by Nancy Ray ~ no comments

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This year, we wanted to offer something really special to our wedding clients. A custom, hand-crafted wooden box will now be the home for all final USBs that we deliver to our wedding couples. We wanted an heirloom box - something that wouldn't fade with time, to be the place of safekeeping for not only their final image files, but also for small momentos from their wedding and their favorite 4x6 prints.

My favorite aspect of these boxes is how it lines up with our heart and love for legacy and heirlooms. These boxes will last for generations, withstanding the test of time. My good friend Ted is a craftsman who has made the especially for NRP clients - there is no other photographer who offers boxes just like these. I'm thrilled to offer something so custom, so lasting, so beautiful to each of our couples!

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Feb 24-15

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Jamie and I get asked often if we decided to do a first look or not. We knew from the beginning that we did not want to see each other before our ceremony, but we did want to pray together. Right before our ceremony, we shared one of the most special moments of our wedding day together, holding hands around a door. It put me at ease to be able to hear his voice and pray together without him seeing me. If you ask me, I think this was the perfect middle between a first look and walking down the aisle!

First Look or Not?
The greatest piece of advice I can give a bride about the answer to this questions is do what feels right for you! One choice isn't better than the other - they both create meaningful and beautiful moments. Do what you know will be most comfortable for your personality and timeline of your wedding day.

If you are thinking these thoughts, I would recommend doing a first look:
- "I feel like I would be anxious not being able to see my groom before the ceremony."
- "I want to get a majority of my formal portraits done before the ceremony, so we can enjoy the cocktail hour with our guests."
- "I want a private moment when my groom sees me for the first time."
- "It will be dark outside by the time my ceremony is over, and I want beautiful portraits of the two of us."

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Jamie and I decided to host our ceremony outdoors in beautiful, natural light. With the perfectly shaded light and lovely backdrop, I knew this would make for the perfect ceremony space for us. While deciding on your ceremony location, it's helpful to think through these thoughts:

For Church Ceremonies:
- Does the church allow photography?
- Does the church have any strict rules or parameters for your photographer?
- How is the lighting? Is it dark? Are there any windows that would provide natural light?
- What does the light look like at the specific time of your ceremony?

We recommend churches or chapels that have as much window light as possible!

For Outdoor Ceremonies:
- How is the lighting? Is in under shady tress? Or in the direct sunlight?
- What does the light look like at the specific time of your ceremony?
- Is there surrounding space where your photographer can freely move around to get different shots?

Planning your Ceremony Time
Be sure to check the full "Planning your Wedding Timeline" blogpost for a more comprehensive answer to this question!

We highly recommend that you plan your ceremony around the time of your sunset! You can look up the exact time of your sunset using this calendar. It is best to allow for one hour of photos after your ceremony, if you do not do a first look. Completing all family and bridal party portraits 30 minutes prior to sunset is ideal. For example, if the sun sets at 7:30pm, your timeline might look like this if your ceremony will for 30-45 minutes :

5:15 Ceremony
6:00 Family, Bridal Party, and Bride and Groom portraits
7:00 Done with Photos / Reception begins
7:30 Sunset

From the opinion of a photographer, outdoor natural light will always produce more beautiful images, but it is more important to choose your ceremony location based on what is most important to you. If you have chosen to get married in a church that is meaningful to you, then get married in that church! A good photographer will be able to capture your wedding, no matter what the lighting looks like. If beautiful images are most important to you, then plan for an outdoor wedding ceremony! Just remember to prioritize what's most important to both of you, as a couple. Nothing can replace the meaning and precious moments that can come from a hosting your ceremony in a special location that you both agree on together.

Click here to read more about how we planned the timeline of our wedding day!

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Feb 23-15

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Hannah and Kyle braved a cold winter morning for their engagement photos at Carroll Joyner Park, and I am so grateful they did! We had the most beautiful light and the park was completely empty. I am always impressed with couples - especially the guy - who wakes up early for photos and does so without complaining. When I learned that Kyle only had a few hours of sleep the night before because he worked a late shift as a security guard, I was even more impressed! Hannah and Kyle both were happy and so grateful to be together, the circumstances of little sleep and chilly air didn't even bother them. If this is any indication of who they are as a couple, which of course it is, I can already tell they are in for a really good life together. They both looked at the bright side and focused on the fact they were simply together, and that's all that mattered. I really love couples like Hannah and Kyle.

Hannah is beautiful and gracious. She has a joy about her that radiates from her big smile. She's the kind of person that is so down to earth, you feel like you've known her forever. It was like spending time with an old friend, rather then someone I barely knew. And Kyle... he's a man's man for sure! He's been in the military, he works as a security guard, there's no fluff or frill to him. What I love about Kyle is that, while he is a man's man, he loves Hannah completely. I love watching them interact, because they make each other laugh and have fun so easily. Yep, these two are going to be so great together for the rest of their lives.

Hannah and Kyle, I cannot wait to capture your wedding day!

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

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Feb 20-15

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I can't think of a more cozy room that I would rather be in on a chilly February evening, enjoying a mug of tea and a delicious meal. Don't you just love those rich and inviting colors? Kelly Perry and Kaitlin Holland created this lovely tabletop inspired by the month of February!

A few thoughts from Kaitlin Holland:
We created a balanced contrasted look with white and dark grey plates, garden chairs, black floral containers, light table linen, white runners, and white plates. This mimicked the warm nature of the arrangement that Kelly so beautifully created!

Click here to see the lovely feature! And while you are there, be sure to get familiar with The School of Styling - it's a wonderful resource for wedding vendors!

Styling: Kaitlin Holland of The School of Styling
Florals: Kelly Perry of Philosophy Flowers
Calligraphy: Alexa Leigh Design
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

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Feb 19-15

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The School Sessions is a one-day event across the globe on Sunday, April 12, 2015 to raise $200,000 to build a school in Haiti. I am one of the many photographers that have signed up online to photograph a portrait session and donate 100% of fees to The School Sessions!

I only have ONE spot available, and it must be scheduled and booked before April 12th since I already have a shoot scheduled that day! (We will work out the date together.) So, first come first serve : If you want a session with me (Nancy), AND you want to help build a school in Haiti, email me ASAP!

What's included:
45 minute session with Nancy
50-70 High Res Digital Negatives & Rights to Print
Custom USB
Online Gallery for viewing and downloading your images

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How to Book:
Email me (nancy@nancyrayphotography.com), and let me know you'd like to book a School Session
A portrait session with me is $800, and it includes everything listed above
It can be a couple session (hello, Valentine's Day!), a marriage session, a family session... any session you'd like.
100% of your session will be given directly to the school in Haiti!

I have such a heart for missions, and because I believe my work IS my ministry, I'm so grateful for an easy opportunity to combine all 3: missions, work, and ministry.

This cause is amazing, friends. $200,000 will buy land and build a ten-classroom school for 220 students. The previous building was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake and these children (ages 3 to 16) are in need of a earthquake and hurricane-proof school to learn and grow. By empowering hundreds of photographers across the world with a simple way to give back, together we will meet our goal!

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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!
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