August 29, 2013 by Will Ray
Congratulations, Nancy Ray!
Tomorrow we will celebrate five years of Nancy Ray Photography serving heartfelt couples in the southeast with excellence – and you’re invited! We thought it was just a fun reason to get together and have fun! Come stop by Sola Coffee Cafe tomorrow from 7:00-9:00pm. We’d appreciate your RSVP.
She mentioned this in a “History of NRP” post, but I still remember the day that was the real seminal, defining moment of her business. I was working night shift at Walgreens, and Nancy had just graduated from Appalachain State University. She was looking for a solid part- or full-time job to supplement our income and help work towards our financial goals of an emergency fund, retirement savings, and a down payment.
We came across this nanny position, but it wasn’t paying what I thought Nancy’s time was worth – especially if the other option was trying to grow “this photography thing.” I remember saying something to the effect of, “I’d rather you work full-time to grow your dream than spend all your time earning minimum wage.” We had our needs met with just my salary, so we could make it either way. Nancy had a brief wage negotiation with the prospective client, and we waited to hear back.
I was dreaming about pharmaceuticals when she heard back from the client, letting her know that she didn’t get the job. It was 2:00 pm or so, but it was the middle of the night for me. I just tried to hold her as she cried and reassure her everything would work out fine, in my very mumbly sleepy voice.
From that point on she has worked like a madwoman. She has absolutely crushed it, working 50-60 hours most weeks, or more. Early on, we worked to take just about every job she was offered to gain experience, build a portfolio, and get our name out there for referrals.
With us living in Boone she was gone many weekends as the business grew in the Triangle area because of contacts and word-of-mouth. I went with her when I could. It was two to three years before we actually took any salary or bonus home – any profit went to marketing and equipment.
Somewhere along the line, I got roped into carrying equipment and assisting her. Then holding a camera. Then shooting with a camera, just in a spot or two. Then really learning a camera. Then actually producing photos good photos.
The last few years we’ve photographed scores of weddings for amazing clients and met a ton of great friends at weddings and in the wedding industry. The team recently grew to include an amazing studio assistant and associate photographers. It’s been a fun and challenging five years, but well worth the work.
Thanks to all of you who took a chance on us, who have followed Nancy’s blog, who have shared kind words about her work, and who have recommended us to friends and family. It really means more than you know.
So come hang out with us! We’ll have some great live music as well.
Congratulations and an awesome five years, wife! Looking forward to many more!