For Photographers


What’s in my bag

Being that we are team, we have lots of equipment on hand! This is the full list of what we keep and use in the studio for our team to access when needed, and when we are double or triple booked, we simply rent more equipment from a local camera shop when needed.

2 Contax 645 camera bodies (medium format film camera)
2 80mm 2.0 Zeiss lenses
1 Canon 1V body (35mm film camera)
2 Sekonic L-358 Light Meters

2 Canon 5d Mark III‘s
2 Canon 5d Mark II‘s
2 Canon Battery Grips
2 50mm 1.2
2 35mm 1.4
1 24mm 1.4
1 85mm 1.2
1 24-70mm 2.8
1 70-200mm 2.8
1 50mm 2.5 macro

Lighting Equipment
2 Canon 580exii‘s
4 Canon 600ex-rt‘s
3 light stands
Lowel video light
Light Panel

Other items we use and love
Ona Bag
Think Tank Airport Security
Oatmeal Lace Aprons
Portra 400 & Portra 800 Film
Plenty of CF cards (mostly 8Gs & 16Gs)

Our Computer Setup
2 27″ iMac desktops
15″ MacBook Pro
CF card readers
Many TB’s of External Hard Drives for backup

Editing Software
Indie Film Lab processes my film and I love them

I use a few of Boutwell’s Totally Rad Actions. Clean is beautiful, so it is very minimal.


Our Team & Our History

Meet the Team
The Meaning behind the NRP Brand
NRP through the years: Part One
NRP through the years: Part Two
NRP through the years: Part Three
NRP through the years: Part Four
Callie’s NRP Journey
NRP Christmas Dinner


My favorite Business Books

Keep checking my Pinterest Boards for updated recommendations, as well as #nancyrayreads on Instagram

How to win friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Traction – Gino Wickman
Tribes – Seth Godin
Entreleadership – Dave Ramsey
The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni
Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuck
E-Myth – Michael Gerber
Good to Great – Jim Collins
Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud


2 hour Mentor Session with Nancy

• Google Hangout / FaceTime or in Person
• You get to prioritize the questions!
• Topics I usually discuss: shooting, marketing, film, digital, building a solid team, hiring an intern, editing, branding


 *Mentor Sessions are only offered to photographers who do not live in North Carolina



I hire a part time spring intern and a part time fall intern to help run our home studio in North Raleigh. Please refrain from contacting me about this internship until I release a blogpost with instructions on how to apply! Sign up for the Nancy Ray News (in the sidebar) to stay updated, and check the blog in December / January. We interview and hire the Spring and Fall interns each January for the year.

Read about Past Internship experiences here!




How to stay Inspired

I set goals for myself on a regular basis.  Personal and professional.  I post them on my blog the first day of each month, and in turn, many blog followers have been posting goals of their own. It’s become a community of inspiration and motivation! You should join in!

I use my friend Lara’s Powersheets. They are awesome.

I read a lot!

I follow very few people on social media who are full of positivity, encouragement, and stunning work.

Journaling, praying, reading Scripture. Meditating on God’s Word. Every morning I do this, and it gives me perspective for each day.

Magazines – Southern Weddings magazine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Anthropologie, JCrew. I don’t read them very often, but I keep up with them occasionally to stay in tune with what’s on trend!

Once a year, I choose one couple or one family to give a session to. Free of charge, photos included. Someone who is a blessing to others, or maybe they need a blessing in their life. Nothing is more rewarding than being a blessing, and giving.

Being outside inspires me like crazy. I run on the greenway at least twice a week and come back refreshed every time.

Workshops. Reading. Learning constantly!

Doing “session swaps” with fellow photographers.  It’s so fun and it is always a great reminder of what it’s like to be in front of a camera, instead of behind it.



Every photographer’s story is different.  Everyone chooses photography for different reasons, and everyone achieves their definition of “success” at different paces, with different goals in mind.  So firstly, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Is this truly my passion? What do i like to take pictures of? What is my style? Who would I like to emulate? How can I put my unique perspective into photographs?”  Always start with the WHY. If you do that, you won’t burn out like so many photographers do!

– Be yourself.  You can’t borrow other photographers’ ideas, thoughts or styles and be genuine.  Take pictures of what you think is beautiful, because you are the professional.  

– Your clients are trusting you to make the difficult decisions. So make them and don’t look back.

– Always shoot in manual.

– Take charge. It not only creates the photograph you want but it makes your clients feel comfortable.  Most people are very uncomfortable being in front of a camera, so if you are telling them what to do, it distracts them from their discomfort.  Tell your client exactly how to stand, what expression to make.  There are no limits except those we impose on ourselves when it comes to making a photograph.

– Keep smiling. Stay calm. No matter what happens.

– Do everything in your power to protect your clients images and keep your equipment functioning properly.  Always charge your batteries, clear your cards, & back up, back up, & back up your images.

– Become a credible business in the beginning by paying taxes, insuring your business & equipment, keeping up with quickbooks, and making financial goals and a long term plan.

– Know the technical side of creating a beautiful photo.  Get as much as you can exactly how you like it inside your camera, so you can keep editing to a minimum after.

– Never go into debt for your business. Ever.  Never ever.  I have run my entire business on cash, and it has allowed me to gain momentum at a much more rapid pace than some of my photographer friends who are still in debt.  [For more small business financial advice, I go to]

– Learn to say, “I am a photographer.”  Declare it, think it, believe it, and that’s what you’ll be.

– Learn to say no.  No to clients who want you to bend over backwards, no to new equipment that sparkles (& is usually crazy expensive), no to sessions when you start to over-book yourself. Your business will take over your life if you let it, I promise.

– Yes, the customer is always right, BUT you are the one running your business.  Don’t forget that.  While meeting every clients need as best as you can, don’t go outside of the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.

– Your business is not your life. Your business exists to enhance your life, to give you a life. Don’t confuse the two.

– Build relationships with other photographers, vendors, venues, & bloggers in your local community. Give to them constantly… they will give back!

– Pay attention to your pricing. Don’t choose numbers out of thin air, but pay attention to the cost of running your business, taxes, having a business emergency fund, and your profits.  Make it make sense. Take the time needed to set your pricing in a way that makes you profitable.

– Frustration will come, so embrace it! Allow it to push you further.  Those who do not give up are those that win.


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