Meet Ryan Ray—winner of being our brand of good people. The California native has photographed weddings for nine years and crafted a style of documentary photography rooted in celebrating a couple’s unique beauty and blessing to one another that breathes ease, natural beauty and genuine affection.
Ryan’s work is regularly featured in print publications (Martha Stewart Weddings, Southern Weddings, PEOPLE, Harper’s Bazaar, BRIDES) and online (Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, Snippet & Ink), but his gentle demeanor praised by clients made friends and fun-loving reputation for joining guests on dance floor only add to his success. Traveling for wedding weekends occupies most of his work schedule, but there’s no doubt home sweet home is now Texas with his sweet bride of seven years, Cary, and their newly adopted son from Taiwan. As if they weren’t enough, just mention tacos. We hope you enjoy getting to know Ryan (and his love of high-tops, tacos and being a steward of kindness) as much as we have as he hosts our feed on Instagram this week.
IFL: How did photography become a part of your life?
RR: I stumbled across photography after seeing a friend of mine pursue it. I wanted something to do on the side that I really enjoyed. Little did I know what it would turn into. I am so grateful for this medium that has allowed me to see things and document life in a way to bless people, make a living, and see the world.
IFL: What/who/where gets you inspired?
RR: My faith really inspires me. I had a really tough upbringing and my faith has been the foundation of my strength, joy, and inspiration for as long as I can remember. I see life with great joy and I believe it translates to the work I do.
IFL: Why film?
RR: Goodness, it is beautiful, isn’t it? Rich tones that can’t be replicated. I love the way it leads me to approach my clients. It is an art that allows me to visualize my image before I take it.
IFL: What’s your favorite film stock?
RR: KODAK! I have always been a fan of Portra 400
IFL: If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
RR: I’d be a firefighter. I was a firefighter/paramedic for 10 years and absolutely loved it.
IFL: Do you have a favorite geographical place to shoot?
RR: Anywhere with good light. Love a great sunset. I am originally from CA before marrying my southern bride and moving to TX. I love shooting in CA, but who doesn’t?
IFL: Any challenges you find in being a film photographer? Or supporting yourself as an artist?
RR: Being a film photographer is not easy. Weddings happen so quickly, and I don’t like to miss anything. I rarely have a second shooter. I am in go mode the whole wedding day. I don’t get easily distracted, and I love the pressure to deliver. I do miss 220! With that said, I never make excuses for my medium. If I can’t do the best job possible and deliver beautiful images with what I have, I am not working hard enough. I am really grateful for the beautiful Kodak film I feel privileged to shoot, and extremely thankful for an incredible lab that has been on this journey with me.
IFL: Do you travel often for work? What does your everyday look like when not traveling?
RR: I travel for most of the work I do. It is not on purpose. I go wherever the work is and the clients I am commissioned by are.
IFL: Any gear secrets you’re up for sharing?
RR: High tops make you dance better. No joke.
What makes you feel awesome?
High tops, denim, heather grey tees.
Favorite thing about your current home/town.
The people and Mexican food.
Food you love
What makes you dance? Do you dance?
Love dancing!! Just ask anyone who knows me. Never said I was a good dancer, but that doesn’t keep me from having a great time!
Can you handle skinny jeans?
Yup, I’m a fan.