December 8, 2018
Welcome to my blogpost, “Meet Michelle Ray Photography!”
Hello everyone – new friends and old, supporters, fans, and cheerleaders! I wanted to introduce myself and re-introduce my business (with my new name).
Getting to know someone is fun! Well, at least I think so! I love hearing the normal stuff like where you are from and then I love learning about the quirky stuff too. So, I’ll start with the typical but make sure to share the fun quirky things about me too.
I am an “Army brat,” who was born in Germany, and then moved to the states for good when I was 7. My mom is German and so I did learn some German, but my favorite thing about Germany is the old architecture, the sweet treats and then probably just how special Christmas is!
In most of my adolescent and adult life, I lived in North Carolina. But I had visited DC many times and always felt drawn to the area. I met my husband in my final year of college and we were married before the year’s end! (When you know, you just KNOW!) We have experienced our fair share of ups and downs as a military couple. As you can imagine, these involve moving, deployments, and then expanding our family with the two cutest little boys. I admit that I am biased.
Many people ask me how I embarked on the photography journey. And that is a really fun question! My husband Luis gave me a camera as a push gift when our youngest was born at the United States Military Academy @ West Point. But then, because I had boys and they are constantly on the go, I reached out to my community in order to gain experience shooting families. And I just fell in love with the stories that were shared with me. Further, I enjoyed the organic connection that resulted from the client’s vulnerable moments.
My positive experiences connecting with others and sharing their stories also helped me during a particularly challenging time in our lives. While we were at West Point, our family was exposed to tick-borne infections (Lyme and co-infections). And the subsequent challenges in our health in combination with feeling isolation were really tough. Living WAY up in the cold climate tucked away in a tiny mountain community called West Point impacted me greatly. This southern girl does not care for cold temps. BRRR.
Also, it was hard to see my little ones (I had a baby and a toddler at that time) suffer from mysterious symptoms that the medical community didn’t have an answer for. It seemed like the Michelle I knew, the happy, care-free me was crumbling under the weight of the anxiety and isolation. But so much changed for me when I felt like I could connect with my community and give back in a creative way. Even being out in nature was reviving to my mind and body.
And so out of that dark place, ARISING LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY was born. I launched in NY and then moved to Northern Virginia. I launched immediately into weddings with fantastic mentors and in my first year of business was I voted Best Of Weddings by The Knot. The honor has been extended to me again this year!
As I launched weddings I found that my clients wanted to refer me to their friends and it was easiest to use my first name in my business. So, as I write I am in the process of transition to my new business name with the SAME great client experience! I kept the “RAY” in my business name to tie everything back to the Arising LIGHT (ray of light) as a reminder that I carry a divine spark everywhere I go!
A few other fun facts about me! I have a diverse educational background in performance art, counseling, & leadership. Incidentally, I graduated from ODU (Go Monarchs!) and had the chance to work as a part of my program abroad in Lithuania as an ex-pat. And I’ve been able to travel to many countries. These days traveling is more challenging with kiddos, but I have my sights set on a Germany trip so that my extended family can meet our boys. I also enjoy pilates-yoga, essential oils, and learning about health and well-being. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention my love for dark chocolate!
Well, there you have it! As I write this blog post, in the quiet of my house (a rare mommy moment), I hear my bed calling and the dishes calling… But louder than any of those, I settle into the sound of THE CALLING. THE CALLING is that feeling inside that moves you with excitement over those wedding inquiries. It is the feeling of gratitude that floods your heart when you pour over images from a recent wedding or session. And it’s the feeling of momentum that propels you forward out of your comfort zone to try a new approach or learn a new skill… Ultimately, it is the feeling of JOY in service to others.
To all of those feelings wrapped up in THE CALLING, I answer, “yes!”
I hope that you have enjoyed getting to know “Michelle Ray Photography!” To learn more about the latest news, check out this blog post!