Jul 03-14

I am happy to introduce our guest blogger today, Miss Jamie Hopkins, our Spring Intern! She has been such a joy to have around! 


Over the past three months I have had the great pleasure to intern with Nancy Ray Photography. This experience has allowed me to spend two days a week in the studio and numerous weekends assisting Nancy at weddings. Looking back, I am most thankful for the moments spent in the studio with Nancy and Callie (& Winston, too)!  The entire NRP team welcomed me with open arms and taught me the in and outs of their business. This internship has taught me so much about the wedding industry, photography and myself- so I figured I would share with you 5 things I learned while working with NRP!

1. Communication is key. Nancy and her team do a great job communicating with everyone. Before, during and after the wedding- Nancy stays in connection with these couples and their families too.

2. Film is not dead. I now fully understand and appreciate why Nancy has switched to film. It is beautiful and every image takes my breath away.

3. The importance of developing a relationship with clients. NRP does a great job of making booked clients feel comfortable with their photographer, and vice versa. I've noticed how comfortable couples are around Nancy on their wedding day- and it has made a huge difference!

4. Organization. One of the many things Nancy and I have in common is our love for organization and finding new ways to stay organized. I have applied many of Nancy's organizational tips to my own life in many ways!

5. Find joy in everything. I will always remember the first wedding when I assisted Nancy. The weather was a little crazy: it was raining and the ceremony was moved to a new location just a few hours before the wedding. Nancy remained calm and full of joy this entire day! Her patience and attitude is something I genuinely admire.

Interning with Nancy Ray Photography over the past three months has been an experience I will never forget.  It is still hard for me to believe that I was given this opportunity and was able to work with someone I have admired for years. Nancy- thank you so much for this opportunity and sharing your life and business with me!



Ally, our 2nd shooter for the day with Jamie, assisting at a wedding


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Jul 02-14


Venue: Carr Memorial Christian Church
Caterer: Elegant Party Rentals & Catering
Florist: The Dutch Iris
Hair & Makeup Stylist: Total E-Clips
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

Meredith and AC's wedding was one of the sweetest weddings I've ever photographed. I admit it - I have a thing for small, intimate weddings. Then you add the fact that this sweet wedding took place in the small rural town of Clinton, North Carolina - the town where my mama grew up - and this photographer couldn't have been happier. Then you add the fact that the bride and groom wanted to have their portraits made in a nearby cornfield, and I was just beside myself with happiness! (Yes - keep scrolling. Those cornfield images are worth it!)

I think most of all, though, my favorite thing about this wedding was how Meredith and AC didn't want a lot of "fanfare" surrounding their big day. In a world of Pinterest and blogs and details, this mindset was just so refreshing. They had meaningful details, but they kept things simple. They wanted conversation rather than dancing. They wanted a Scripture filled ceremony in the church Meredith grew up in more than they wanted a popular venue. They wanted to love on their families more than they wanted to be the center of attention. And it showed - in every way, this couple loved. They loved one another, they loved their families, they loved their guests. They played with the kids and they visited every table. And at the end of the evening, when the sparklers faded and the sky was a rich blue, I know that this sweet couple had no regrets. They had a beautiful, simple wedding, filled with a lot of love.

Congratulations, Meredith and AC!

































Comments: 1

  1. Olivia Fischer July 3, 2014 7:25 am

    Gorgeous Wedding dress and Photography !

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Jul 01-14

July Goals 2014

Goals ~ by Nancy Ray ~ 6 comments


Here we are! Half of the year is done.  It's time to stop and re-evaluate my 2014 goals from January 1st. Here's an update on how I'm doing! I've crossed off the goals I've completed, and I'm giving updates on all the rest. Honesty is tough sometimes but necessary nonetheless!


Read 20 books - on track! I've read 8 so far. I'll need to step it up a bit to reach 20, but I'm thankful that several books to come are novels, and they will be read much more quickly!

Write letters to our 3 sponsored kids monthly - Sad to say, I'm not doing so great writing these letters. I think I put too much pressure on myself to write the perfect words! I need to remember they are kids, and they'll enjoy something sweet and simple. Excited to actually meet one of our sponsored kids in Nicaragua later this month! I think that will definitely give me the inspiration I need.

Make the art and organization of my home purposeful and meaningful - I re-hung our gallery wall, got a custom dining room table, updated photos in frames. Next up: clean out table linens (to fit our new table), finish purchasing chairs to go along with our beautiful table, organize our books on our ladder shelves. Coming along!

Complete a triathlon - Well, friends, my ankle has taken me 3x as long as expected to heal. July 4th will be my 1 year anniversary from my injury, and I'm still not 100%. I'm hoping to complete a sprint triathlon late summer/early fall, depending on my flexibility/swelling/pain.

Declutter every space in my home and studio - HA! Nope. The clutter has to go, y'all.

Memorize a verse each month and truly meditate on it. - I've memorized a few verses this year, but not monthly. Looking forward to incorporating this into my monthly goals.

Run a half marathon (I'll be starting from scratch, friends. Let me know if you want to join me from the ground up!) - Ok friends, I'm planning on running the City of Oaks Half Marathon, and my training starts NOW.  However, I've learned that my training will be slow going because of my ankle, and I might not be able to race at all, depending on how it heals. I am hoping hoping hoping it will cooperate! If you want to join me, email me!

Eat desserts 2x-3x week (not daily. desserts are meant to be special!) - I've done a great job at this all year... except the month of June. Getting back on this train!

Fast from social media 2 days/week. - My favorite 2 days every week. I love it.

Embrace clipless petals on my road bike. I can do this! (scared!) - Planning on September, ankle-dependent.

Have an intentional, guiltless Sabbath once a week. - I think I've only missed a week or two this year. HUGE improvement for me!

Go camping in Boone with friends   Went camping in June!

Read the entire Bible with Will - Halfway done!

Simplify and streamline the organization and workflow of my business (I'm looking at you ShootQ & Drobo!)

Implement business structure given in The Advantage - Plan to re-read and implement this fall.

Shoot in film - all year long!

Take our boat out and go water skiing at least 5 times this summer - 3 down, 2 to go

Photograph less weddings as Callie and Elizabeth photograph more

Host a workshop, mentor photographers, & speak more in general. (After Making Things Happen and my Influence-net talk, I have learned I really love teaching. A lot.) - Praying about a workshop. Speaking much more and mentoring photographers much more as well!

Do the hard work to correct my posture. This includes a personal trainer + chiropractic care + daily exercises at home. - Had a strong start to the year, but haven't been consistent these past few months. Stepping it up with my personal trainer.

Plan a vacation to the Beaufort house  Spending July 4th here with family!

Continue to learn to play the guitar and fill in at youth group when I can - Planning on playing in Nicaragua at the end of this month. Nervous and excited!


Well, that just felt really good and really bad.

Really good, because I feel renewed to focus on some big picture things in my life that I've clearly put on the back burner: de-cluttering my home, implementing The Advantage in my business, achieving fitness goals and races.

Really bad, because I can see how I've really fallen off the bandwagon in some areas: not writing letters, not correcting my posture, not planning to clean out and declutter like I should.

The good news? It's the beginning of a new month, and we still have HALF the year left! With that in mind, let's focus on JULY. What can I do this month to start tackling these unfinished goals?


July Goals

Read 20 in 12: The Storyteller, Smart Money Smart Kids, The Advantage (again)
NRP missions statement: finalize and print for the studio
Declutter laptop photos
Finish an Artifact Uprising book for our first 5 years of marriage
Declutter File System on my computers
Go to Nicaragua on a Missions Trip
Purchase dining room chairs
Clean out/giveaway old table linens
Write 1 short letter to each of our sponsored kids and mail by 7/10
Write out triathlon training plan

Comments: 6

  1. Leanne Caroline July 2, 2014 9:38 am

    Congratulations on your goal progress Nancy. Always inspiring. I’m glad I’m not the only one though who feels a little behind schedule. Very good to have the mid year check-in reminder xo

  2. Leah Mancl July 2, 2014 2:43 pm

    The Storyteller is Jodi Picoult’s best novel to date, in my opinion. You’ll whip through that one with no problem.

    I’m impressed with your progress! This was my first year not setting any resolutions, so I like reading about other’s. :)

  3. Elizabeth | Elizabeth Burns Design July 2, 2014 6:30 pm

    I too am trying to get over a running injury and plan on doing a half this fall. This is the plan I am using: Couch to Half Marathon via Women’s Running. Thought you might find it useful! Good luck :)

  4. Cheyenne Schultz July 2, 2014 8:33 pm

    Great idea reassessing yearly goals. Going to have to do that.

    Happy 4th, Rays!

  5. Ashley July 7, 2014 8:20 pm

    I just ordered an Artifact Uprising book to document mine and Dustin’s 1st year of marriage and it’s so beautiful! I’ve decided to do one every year since we hardly ever print out any photos. It’s so nice to have something tangible to flip through and see great memories :)

  6. Brooke July 8, 2014 11:46 am

    Who made your custom dining table? Is it a farm house table? I’m looking for recommendations from someone who has had one made!

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Jun 30-14



Hiking Cinque Terre (one of my favorite spots in Italy!) / Corn field engagement session / Viewing our INCREDIBLE wedding pictures with lemonade and popcorn! / Kitchen process: cabinets are installed! / Megan & Spencer's sweet Fearrington wedding featured in The Knot Carolina / Just holding up the leaning tower of Pisa



Thunderstorms on the bay / This gorgeous wedding and new friends! / A beautiful trip to the Gulf of Mexico with family
A stunning Bald Head Island wedding / A trip to NYC with hubby / A vacation with the Fields family



A sweet Charleston wedding / Walking the US Open with Will / The most amazing going away party/wedding I've ever seen! / So grateful for sweet Jamie, our amazing intern. We are going to miss her! / Celebrating Will's grandparents: 60 years of marriage! / Breakfast business brainstorming dates with my partner in crime



Saying goodbye to being the Youth Ministries Director at our church, and saying hello to a new chapter of life as a Financial Coach - in style! (Gotta love my tuxedo shirt.) / Days on Lake Gaston / Returning to (and jumping off of) my favorite waterfall in Boone / One Nation. One Team. #usausausa / Morning run with Winston / Enjoying Boone with Nancy - the place  we began our lives together



Custom handmade pillows for my new apartment / Little Washington adventures with Scott / Grateful for the reminders that doing life together is what really matters. (Add this to your reading list right now!) / Celebrated Meredith and Matt's wedding / Thursday treat on a gloomy day / Scott met Winston! (and Nancy tried her best to convince Scott go get a great dane!)


We are especially grateful for Jamie, our sweet Intern, who finished her internship at the end of June. We love you, Jamie! We will miss you so much!

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Jun 23-14


I could photograph Emily and John all the time and never tire of them. They are truly some of the most kindhearted people I've ever met! Softspoken, always smiling, caring, loving, and full of joy - these two are a breath of fresh air. Emily and John never focus on themselves, as they are completely selfless and loving towards one another, their friends, and their families. Even on their own wedding day, when all the attention was on them, they kept a close eye on the other - always making sure they were okay and taken care of. And walked around with smiles they couldn't shake! (John's smile is just the best. He couldn't hide it if he tried!) They are the perfect fit for one another. The focus of their reception was undoubtedly their guests, and boy did they have a good time! I've never seen such dancing in my life! 99.9% of the guests were on the dance floor 99.9% of the time. It was an exciting celebration enjoyed by all. Every aspect of this wedding was beautiful and full of joy. Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Melvin!

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab
Ceremony Venue: St. Mary's Chapel
Reception Venue: Angus Barn
Cake Artist: Sweet Memories Bakery
Caterer: Angus Barn
Florist: Warthen Interiors
Event Coordinator: Angus Barn
DJ/Band: Horizon
Stationary: PaperBuzz
Wedding Programs & Reception Favors: Paper Buzz
Bridesmaid Dresses: Serendipity Bridal & Events
Tuxes: VIP Formalwear
Bride's Wedding Gown: Liancarlo from Alexia's Bridal
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka





Below: I had to include this sweet photograph of Emily's brick, right next to her grandmother's brick. These were located just a few steps from St. Mary's Chapel. I love it when couples choose to get married in places full of meaning and heritage!







Comments: 1

  1. Carrie June 24, 2014 11:20 am

    Oh, how I love that little chapel. I spent every Tuesday and Friday in that space for four years. You captured it beautifully.

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Jun 22-14


(Walters and Walters)

Happy 6th anniversary to the love of my life. William, I wouldn't want to do life with anyone else but you.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls  and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:9-12

Comments: 3

  1. Lauren Thomas June 22, 2014 5:21 pm

    Happy anniversary!! Congratulations on 6 years!!

  2. Kristen Johnson June 23, 2014 11:42 am

    Happy Anniversary Will and Nancy!

  3. Lorin June 23, 2014 12:50 pm

    Such a beautiful passage to represent y’alls relationship together & with the Lord. Happy anniversary!

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Jun 18-14

I will never forget this sweet day.

We found ourselves with no plans on a Sunday afternoon, which is rare for us. Usually, Sundays are full of 2 church services, lunch, and a Bible study or two in the evening.  It's also our laundry day and planning day. Our home is also usually a bit disheveled after being away shooting a wedding on Saturday, so tidying up and staying busy it our usual routine.

But not this day!


We went to church that morning, then decided to plan out our unexpected day-to-ourselves so we would be intentional with our rest and time together. After lunch, we went to pick fresh strawberries on a local farm! It was so relaxing to just spend time together in the sunshine. I'm so glad I brought my camera with me.


We returned home, washed the strawberries, made our favorite dinner (fiery fish tacos!), and watched our new favorite movie: About Time. This movie. Honestly - I haven't seen a movie this good in ages. As tears were streaming down my face a few hours later as the credits rolled, I was overcome with gratitude for my life. For our lives, together. For this gift we are given every day. (I don't want to spoil the movie, so you should just see it for yourself!)


I want to slow down and have more days like these. Part of what made this day so special was the fact that we are so busy right now. Between our 2 demanding jobs, life can be downright exhausting. But as Will's job changes and life takes on a different pace these next few months, I've decided to stop and try to appreciate every moment. Busyness will be a constant option in life.  Slowing down has to be an intentional choice these days - a choice that's not always an easy one. I'm willing to fight for it - to create more days with space like this one.


Note to self (and my photographer friends out there): bring your camera with you more often. You're really good at capturing everyone else's life. Make time to document your own. You won't regret it!



We're all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.
-"Tim" in About Time

Comments: 5

  1. Faith June 18, 2014 8:12 pm

    I LOVED “About Time”! So good!!!! I love this blog post, too. :)

  2. Amy June 18, 2014 8:57 pm

    Hi Nancy! The link you posted to Lyon Farms actually goes to the website for a pumpkin farm in Tennessee! I think this is the link you meant to share: http://www.lyonfarms.com/aboutus.html

    Can’t wait to visit there! The strawberries look delicious!

  3. Jen June 19, 2014 2:06 am

    OOOH!! I’ve wanted to see this movie! Rachel McAdams is one of my absolute favorites. Glad to hear it’s a must see! :)
    Beautiful pictures and so sweet that you were able to capture a fun day together on camera.

  4. Hannah June 19, 2014 4:31 am

    This looks so fun! I think I will see if there are any local farms near where I live and do this too! Good to know “About Time” is good! I’ve been meaning to see it!

  5. Kellie June 29, 2014 10:43 pm

    About Time was such a great movie! What a fun Sunday!

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Jun 16-14


I knew I would love this couple from the minute I met them. What I didn't realize was how much I would come to admire them individuals, how much I would grow to love their families, how much Will and I would connect with them as friends. I have loved every minute I've spent with Joel and Jordan! They love one another deeply, they are confident and content in who they are, they love Jesus, they have friends who are more like brothers and sisters than anything else. I honestly felt refreshed after spending time with them, whether it was for their engagement session, Jordan's bridal session, or their wedding day. Their genuine personalities are so real and honest. They are the kind of people who don't try to prove anything, but their focus is always on the person in front of them. I felt so loved and cared for every time I interacted with them! I am so grateful for the opportunity to not only capture this sweet season of their lives, but to also get to know their hearts.

Before we continue on to the photos - I have to share a little bit of the story of Sally. Sally is the most adorable pup you'll see pictured below, and she played quite the important role in their relationship! When  Joel and Jordan began dating, Jordan would take Sally running with her. (Yes, I also have a soft spot for pups who are running buddies!) Shortly after they began dating, Jordan and Joel decided it wasn't going to work out between them anymore, so they stopped seeing each other. But Jordan simply couldn't bring herself to say goodbye to Sally quite yet, so she kept swinging by Joel's house to pick her up to go running. After many runs with Sally the dog, and after spending much time in thought and prayer, Jordan realized she was pretty miserable without Joel in her life. They tried dating again, and the rest is history! I love how Sally was part of their wedding day. She was the special messenger who delivered the notes and gifts prior to the ceremony, even in the rain!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Fleming! So happy for you two.

Venue: The Cotton Room
Cake Artist: Cinda's Creative Cakes
Caterer: Triangle Catering Company/ The Cotton Room
Florist: Aldena Frye
Event Designer & Coordinator: The Cotton Room/ Triangle Catering Company
DJ: Triad DJ and Events
Videographer: Heartstone Films
Hair Stylist: Parlor Dry Bar / Aireal Christy
Makeup Artist: Brittany at Bobbi Brown
Stationary: Val Marie Paper
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

Thank you to The Lovely Find for featuring this beautiful wedding!



































Comments: 2

  1. Samantha June 16, 2014 7:55 pm

    Nancy, this is lovely! Beautiful images xo!

  2. Em June 16, 2014 11:58 pm

    Love the bouquet tossing shot, and the one of Joel holding Sally! :)

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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