Indie Film Lab

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Indie Film Lab is a simple lab dedicated to photographers that still believe in and love film capture.

Artist Spotlight: Nancy Ray

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We hope y'all have already had the pleasure of checking out Nancy Ray and her bright, beautiful film work. The Raleigh, North Carolina wedding photographer captures soulful moments and treasured details of her clients' wedding day with such intention. Her affection for film started in middle school, and at eight years in business, Nancy's work is featured regularly in Southern Weddings magazine, on Style Me Pretty and many other blogs. Nancy shares her work with a team she's built slowly as her business grew, choosing others with a common heart for her business' mission. This new mama's entourage outside of the office includes her husband Will (of course!), 4-month old Milly and their Insta-famous great dane buddy Winston. Read on about why she chose to shoot film and y'all show her some love as she shares on our feed this week.

Nancy Ray

IFL: How did photography become a part of your life? NR: I have had an interest in photography since middle school! I remember buying lens filters, reading books about shutter speed and aperture, and sending off rolls of film to be developed at a local lab. I practiced photographing snails, trees, and horse figurines in my yard. My friends and I would dress up and do photo shoots. Embarrassing and awesome.

IFL: What gets you inspired?

NR: Music. Singing my heart out in worship. Being outside. Running. A good book. Quality time with people I love, especially Will and Milly. Beautiful light. Picnics. Trying new adventures.

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NRP Team: Will (2nd shooter + finance guy + husband); Callie (Studio Administrator + Wedding Photographer); Olivia (Wedding Photographer); Elizabeth (Family and Lifestyle Photographer)

NRP Team: Will (2nd shooter + finance guy + husband); Callie (Studio Administrator + Wedding Photographer); Olivia (Wedding Photographer); Elizabeth (Family and Lifestyle Photographer)

IFL: Why film?

NR: The colors are vibrant and real, the skin tones are creamy, the way it captures details and life takes my breath away. Plus, it’s what I grew up doing, and it’s what I was trained on in college. There’s something about film that is so rich, I can’t get enough of it.

IFL: What's your favorite film stock?

NR: Portra 400

IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist? NR: The hardest part about using film is how expensive it is. Factoring in the cost of film, raising prices to make sure we are still profitable, making sure we don’t overshoot… all of it is a challenge as an artist and a business woman. I love the challenge, though! I’m convinced it’s made me and my team better photographers. Being that we don’t have an endless amount of images makes each of us incredibly intentional with what we do capture in each frame.

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IFL: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be doing?

NR: Hand lettering / calligraphy or instructing yoga classes.

IFL: What other art forms or artists are you drawn to?

NR: I come from a very musical family, and so does my husband. Musicians are artists that I will always be drawn to. I’m positive heaven will be filled with the most beautiful music we’ve ever known, and a good musician can capture a glimpse of that here on earth. 

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IFL:  Any gear secrets you're up for sharing? NR: For film, we love using the Moneymaker camera strap paired with our custom branded Oatmeal lace apron. It removes the need to carry around a camera bag on our shoulder. Of course we keep our bag closely, but ultimately it frees up our hands and our minds to create beautiful work without switching lenses all the time.

IFL:  Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling? NR: We do travel often, shooting weddings out of town and speaking at a handful of conferences throughout the year. We’ve recently been traveling with our 4 month old, Milly, and that has made it even more challenging and fun! (She’s already been on 5 flights and has traveled to 8 states. She’s a pro.) Like anything in life, the more often you do it, the better you get at it.

When we are not traveling, we are happy to be working from our home studio. My amazing team meets once a week in the NRP Studio, and is shooting on location for sessions and weddings. Callie works with me in the studio, and most of the time we are playing music and sitting in front of our computers emailing and editing. When I’m not working, I’m usually hanging out with Will (my husband) and Milly (my daughter), running on the greenway, or reading a good book.

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Food you love: Guacamole. 

What makes you dance? Do you dance? The song “September” by Earth Wind and Fire. Every time it plays at a wedding Will and I sneak to the edge of the dance floor and start shagging!

Can you handle skinny jeans? I love me some skinny jeans!

Favorite music: Folk / Chill music. I love Jess Ray (Album: Sentimental Creatures) and Samantha Ray (Album: Royalty) - and yes both Jess and Sam are in my family. I might be biased but their music is soooo good.  Also love Young Oceans, Hillsong, and All Sons and  Daughters

More of Nancy’s work here:

Website – nancyrayphotography.com Blog – nancyrayphotography.com/blog/ Instagram – nancyray