Here is the last and final blogpost on NRP through the years. Be sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 if you haven't! This has been so fun to remember and see the Lord's faithfulness in every season of my business.
In His goodness, the Lord closed all other doors and directed me straight into this dream job - my very own wedding photography business 5 years ago - and I have been so grateful ever since. Now I wake up every morning, walk downstairs to my home studio, and create beautiful images while connecting with beautiful people on a daily basis. May I never, EVER take that for granted!
In January, Caroline and I hosted Branches and Light in Texas, and it was stunning! Truly, it was one of the most beautiful experiences we've had. It took lots of work, many adventures in Austin, and it certainly paid off. Our styled shoot was featured on the Southern Weddings Blog, we had Stefanie as a guest speaker, and we closed the workshop with tears in our eyes because of the sweet relationships we had built. It was a wonderful way to begin the year!
Shortly after, I checked off a big business dream: getting featured by Martha Stewart Weddings. What an honor!
In March, I had the privilege of speaking at Making Things Happen in Chapel Hill! What an honor it was to share a room with so many wonderful people. There's nothing as empowering as being part of this event. To throw your phone in a box for an entire day and be completely present, focused on yourself and your dreams...there's nothing like it. There aren't any words to express my gratitude. This event has been life changing for too many to count, including myself.
Speaking at Making Things Happen really made me stop and analyze my life and business. What direction did I really want to take after being completely debt free? After these two days, I began the Contentment Challenge. It was probably one of the best things I've done with my year so far.
This year has been a year marked by growth. Last year, we realized we were turning so many brides away because we were already booked up. We were fully booked for 2 years straight, we knew we had to make a decision: stay where we were, or grow our team. After much prayer, we launched Callie and Elizabeth in January as NRP team Associate Photographers!
Leading up to this point, I knew I had to choose my team very carefully. I already had the best teammate and business partner I could ask for, so as we expanded I had to choose photographers who fit into our team, our style, and our way of life. I had to invite photographers with a gift and eye for what we do - someone who knew instinctively how to create beautiful images when holding a camera. I also knew I had to choose people who were willing to learn, who were teachable, who had a wonderful attitudes, who were hard workers, and who could easily identify with the brand and culture of Nancy Ray Photography. I had to choose people who were completely trustworthy.
Callie and Elizabeth have been the perfect fit. The longer they are with us, the more excited I am to have them as part of our team! They know the vision of NRP and they want to deliver that to each bride they work with. Not to mention - we all laugh a lot together! This year's focus was to shift our business from 1 lead photographer to a team of photographers, and it has been a wonderful adventure. I am so grateful for each of them.
In June, I attended Engage!13 in Asheville, and it was wonderful connecting with so many incredible business men and women. It was full of incredible experiences, like this Great Gatsby themed gala:
We had our beautiful team photos taken by Eric Kelly, and Lora (his amazing wife) did our hair and makeup. They also mentored us for 2 days in how to shoot in film, and it was incredible. So grateful to call them friends, and I'm so grateful for the images they created for us!
A few days after the mentoring and photoshoot, Callie and I hopped on a plane and went on an adventure to Nashville, TN for an editorial shoot for Southern Weddings Magazine. You'll have to get the magazine in November to see those lovely images! This magazine is always swoon worthy. You're going to want to get your hands on one. Also, I introduced her to the most important Nashville spots: Chuy's and the Frothy Monkey. Duh.
Since then, we've been working hard in the studio, photographing lots of beautiful weddings, and of course celebrating 5 wonderful years of business! (More Photo booth pics to come!)
Our personal calendars have been just as full this year. Will completed Financial Counselor Training while I kept my triplet nephews (that was an adventure!), we hosted a dinner party, I ran a half-marathon, we went camping with dear friends, we watched our friend Chesson win a golf tournament and qualify for the PGA (Go Chesson!), we visited with family in Beaufort and Myrtle Beach and Nashville, we spent 2 nights at Fearrington celebrating our 5th anniversary, we took 26 kids to summer camp, I sprained my ankle, we took 19 adults and kids to Nicaragua on a missions trip, I had a girls weekend in the mountains, and this weekend we are hosting our youth group's annual lock-in at church. Next up? A trip to the British Virgin Islands in just 2 weeks to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in a big way!