Olivia’s NRP Journey

I know this is a totally cheesy thing to say, but I honestly still find it hard to believe that THIS is my job. If you had told me 5 years ago that this is where I would be, what I would be doing, and who I would be doing it with; I would never have believed you. I often get asked how I became a part of the #NRPteam and I am forever clarifying that I am not, and have never been an #nrpintern. In fact, I feel like my ending up as a member of this team was a complete act of God and one that I didn’t really set out for. With that being said, I wanted to share with you just how I got here, and what a crazy, random, Christ ordained road I took.

And for the sake of completely clarifying and never having to explain how “yes I was a student when I started” and “no I wasn’t the intern”, I am going to start at the very beginning.

I consider myself pretty blessed, because apart from calling each of the NRP ladies one of my dearest friends, I truly do have a fun little tie to each of them.
Nancy and I both went to NRCA. She was one of my cousin’s best friends all through high school, and I got to know her while I was in my prime (read annoying, little cousin, who wants to follow around her older cousins). She would come over for sleepovers and I would be there, and she was always just the ultimate, cool, older girl. And she still is. Nancy has gone from being one of my cousin’s best friends, to one of my very best friends. She also photographed my wedding, so she will forever be one of the top most important people in my life, for that alone.

Elizabeth and I also went to NRCA together, but it gets even quirkier. Her little brother, Bryant, is married to my husband’s sister. You still with me? So Elizabeth’s brother, is my brother-in-law, naturally making me consider Elizabeth to be more like a sister. Her sweet Dad also married my husband and I, so her whole clan holds a very special place in my heart.

Callie, oh my sweet Cal pal. We had little to no history before NRP. In all honesty I was pretty good friends with a lot of her friend’s younger siblings. Little did I know, in joining this team she would become one of my very best friends. Our husbands have also become super close and now even work together; making double dates super interesting. Callie stood by me, as one of my bridesmaids on my wedding day, and I think that might be one of my favorite memories together.

Okay, so now that you know all of that, I want you to picture this. I am a junior at ECU, studying Family Crisis Intervention, and forever looking at wedding blogs. I was and still am incredibly passionate about providing a voice for the voiceless, and advocating for the unborn life. That was my plan, and I had every intention of pursuing that career path. However, I just couldn’t get those wedding blogs, pictures, videos, pins, and magazines off my mind. I knew I had a creative side to myself, but didn’t know where that fit in with working with families. I have a love for serving people, and couldn’t imagine myself not doing that.

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All of my friends knew how much I loved all things weddings and would constantly send me stuff or ask me what the latest wedding post they should look at was. One day in October of 2014, one of my best friends, Meredith and I were studying at a coffee shop when she saw the post that Nancy was hiring. She immediately showed me and said, “You have to apply”. I truly thought that was absurd and it was such a long shot for me to get this job. I kept putting it off, thinking it was so far out of my league and the due date for applications quickly creeped up.

Applications were due October 31st. The week before I somewhat filled out an application, but didn’t submit it, and continued to put it off. On October 31st I did two big things. 1. That morning I read this verse, Esther 4:14b “Perhaps, this is the moment for which you have been created”. 2. I went to Monkees of Raleigh and ran into Nancy, who was buying a cute pair of boots. WHAT?! On the day applications were due. My mom and I walked out of the store, after chatting with Nancy and her mama for a minute, and I immediately began tweaking and perfecting my application. How could I not just submit and see what happened, I mean I did run into Nancy on the day it was due, and I read that scripture!! Reading too much into it? Nahhhh.

A little Disclaimer here: I full well submitted this application with no expectation of getting this job, but rather being 100% sure that this would *hopefully* get my foot in the door for an internship down the road.

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Then I got an email wanting to schedule a phone chat interview. I figured ehh, they do this with everyone.

Then I got another email wanting to schedule a FaceTime/ Skype interview with Nancy and Will. I was getting a little hyped up, but still trying to stay realistic. I haven’t even had an in person interview. {my roommates waiting outside my door and listened in, taking notes on anything I could improve on, thank you Katie and Rachel}

Then I got another email wanted to meet in person with Nancy, Will, and Callie. Okay now, my heart is beating really fast, palms are sweaty, and I’m just a little confused if they know they are emailing me, the junior in college, or if they have me mixed up with someone else!!! P.S. Callie and I showed up wearing the same scarf. I’m pretty sure everyone in Raleigh owned that scarf in 2014, but none the less, we were both wearing it.

Then I got another email and I met with them in studio. And yes I did go buy a whole new outfit for my 30 minute interview, because well, these NRP girls are trendy and I already had the scarf thing going with Callie.

Then I got another email asking me to meet Nancy and Will for coffee and bring Andrew. Cue the long lecture to Andrew, on what he should and shouldn’t say, and how my entire future was riding on him in the one hour coffee chat. Also, cue the sweaty palms again; your girl was just a ball of nervousness. — Andrew would like it noted that he nailed it and we are all here today partly because of him.

THEN, I got a short and sweet email asking if Nancy and I could chat on the phone for just a few minutes. I was in TOTAL panic mode. This was it. I didn’t get it. No foot in the door for an internship, I was just totally sunk. So with it being that I didn’t want to receive the bad news in front of my roommates, and our reception being spotty in our house, I hopped in my car and drove to the church parking lot across the street. I waited for Nancy’s call and didn’t answer until about her third ring – trying not to look too eager. We had a little small talk, and I was bursting at the seams. Then she said it, “I would like to offer you the job” I squealed. I was so excited, and my sweet roommates were sitting on our front steps just watching me across the street as I celebrated in my car!

In February of 2015 I joined in as the newest associate photographer for Nancy Ray Photography.

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I trained once a week with Callie and Nancy in the studio, driving back and forth from Greenville; and shot my very first wedding in July of 2015.

From there, so much grew and changed. My friendships with these ladies grew stronger and they became my family.

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Then exactly two years later, in February of 2017, I joined Nancy and Callie in the studio. I took over all Nancy Ray Shop operations and began helping with many various things within the studio.

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Nancy went on maternity leave and Callie and I held down the fort. I have been given new responsibilities and have shot more weddings than I can count in these last *almost* three years. And I have loved every second of it.

My clients, and teammates have been such a blessing to me and I count it as such a privilege to get to do this work. I can truly say with 100% certainty that I have my dream job, and I am forever grateful for that.

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  • Izzy Minns said:

    Love you Liv!!!!

  • Mindy Wolf said:

    I just LOVE this story! I also LOVE how Katie and Rachel were part of the process too! So precious and Yes, you are functioning in the place that God wants you to be for a time such as this!

  • Michele said:

    Love love love this story. I don’t think I knew all these details. You are so gifted. I love watching you grow and blossom ❤️

  • McCall Bunn said:

    It has been an absolute joy to watch your passion for others and your love of "love" shine through in your photography. Forever grateful for such a talented, joyful best friend <3