Category Archives: Family

Christmas Nativity Experience

Limited Time Christmas Nativity Experience

I’m so excited to announce something that I’ve had in the works, at least in my brain, for a couple of years. I’ve seen some amazing Christmas sessions being offered by other talented photographers, such as beautiful Santa sessions, that are so much fun. In our family, though, we find a lot of meaning in remembering the first Christmas. So I came up with the idea of offering a stylized Christmas nativity experience. I’ve never seen anything like this offered, before, so I’m super excited to offer this unique opportunity to my clients. How breathtaking to experience the magic of the most important Christmas there ever was.

Christmas Nativity Experience photo shoot in Portland. More info at byrayleigh.com

Your Family Portraits

Each family will have a unique look to their portraits depending on what characters your family can play. Do you have a daughter who can be Mary or an angel? Do you have sons who can be Joseph, a shepherd, or an angel? If the timing is just right, maybe you have a beautiful new baby who can play Jesus. Or a dog who can dress up like a sheep. Mom and Dad could also play Mary and Joseph.

Costumes

I have a few costumes that are available for use and I also have an ideas list on Amazon for costumes you may need to get for the shoot. We can discuss your shoot and figure out what we need.

Christmas Nativity Experience photo shoot in Portland. More info at byrayleigh.com

The Details

I’ll be holding sessions at a farm in Sherwood, OR on November 6, 2021. If this date doesn’t work for you, though, please let me know. I may open up a second date, depending on interest.

  • 5 available sessions
  • 30 minute session
  • Live animals are a possibility but not guaranteed
  • Includes a credit of $500 to put toward your portrait purchase

$590

Christmas Nativity Experience photo shoot in Portland. More info at byrayleigh.com

IF you have any questions or if you are ready to book your Christmas Nativity Experience, please send me a message to claim your time slot.

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    School Pictures for homeschooling families

    Picture Day!

    It’s the thing to do. Every year, your kid gets school pictures taken and you wait to see what kind of awkward face they made or what they spilled on their outfit between home and picture time. (Check out these hilarious awkward school pictures from the Awkward Family Photos website) It’s tradition. I’m a professional photographer who has gobs of great photos of my kids and I STILL purchased the photos that were taken on Picture Day at my daughter’s Preschool. But what about school pictures for homeschooling families? Kids who are homeschooled don’t automatically get offered that opportunity. That’s why I’m hosting “School Picture Day” in my studio on October 13th and 14th 2021.

    School Pictures for homeschooling families. Photography by Rayleigh in Portland, OR

    What if we don’t homeschool?

    If you don’t homeschool your kids but you still want to take advantage of this “School Pictures for Homeschooling Families” opportunity, that’s okay! It’s open to any kids. It’s not meant for adults, though. Even if you are a kid at heart.

    What if I’m not available on those days?

    If you can’t make it on October 13th or 14th, please let me know. I could possibly add another day, depending on how much interest there is.

    How does this work?

    On “School Picture” day, we will have a 10-15 minutes to take pictures and then immediately after the shoot, we will look at the photos and you will choose your favorites. We will have about 15 minutes to make selections. There is a minimum purchase requirement of 2 photos ($50). If you have multiple kiddos and the added up cost is prohibitive, please let me know.

    Can I invite my friends?

    If you are part of a homeschooling coop or you just have friends who homeschool, please share this information with them. The more the merrier!

    Send me a message if you have questions or to secure your time slot!


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      Teach your daughter what true beauty is

      Ever wonder what your daughter thinks about beauty when she looks at her mother who is her definition of love, warmth, and beauty? Does her opinion of beauty change as she sees you talk badly about your own looks? How will she learn if you don’t teach your daughter what true beauty is?

      Teach your daughter what true beauty is. This mother-daughter image is of a young child, smiling at her mother while hugging on a chase in my photography studio. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit byRayleigh.com

      It’s not just your looks that make you beautiful

      I came across a great article on Offbeat Mama that I would love for you to read. It talks about how it’s not just your looks that make you beautiful. It’s your actions. The things you do. The efforts you make.

      Redefine beauty

      It’s helpful to look at our definition of beauty. It’s not just the reflection we see looking back at us in the mirror. That’s a small part of it. In fact, that beauty is fleeting. The beauty that your daughter sees in you is beauty that comes from the heart. How do you treat people? How do you show love? At a glance it might seem like this post is about self love. But it’s actually more about how you love other people that makes you beautiful.

      It’s so easy to focus on our flaws or other negative things in our lives. One of my favorite verses in the Bible talks about, instead, focusing on lovely things.

      Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is purewhatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

      Philippians 4:8
      Teach your daughter what true beauty is. This mother-daughter image is of a young child, smiling at her mother while lying on the bed in my photography studio. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit byRayleigh.com

      Teach your daughter what true beauty is

      Teach your daughter what true beauty is. Start telling your daughter that you are beautiful so she will learn to recognize beauty in herself. I know this is such a hard thing to do as you look in the mirror and count all your flaws. I want my two daughters to believe that they are beautiful. Not in a prideful way. Just in quiet confidence, knowing that they were created by the maker of the universe and they are lovely.

      How can I convince them of that if they know that I don’t believe that I am beautiful, too?

      Yesterday my 4 year old daughter said to me, “When I grow up, I want to look just like you.” My insides wrestled with that statement because, like so many women, I struggle to look past my physical flaws. I had to resist the urge to start listing off all my physical flaws to her, discrediting her comment, and convincing her that she shouldn’t want to look like me. Instead, I gave her a the most beautiful smile I could muster and told her what a sweet thing that was for her to say.

      Teach your daughter what true beauty is. This image is of a young girl, lying on her tummy on a chase in my photography studio. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit byRayleigh.com

      Want to see more?

      I invite you to see more of my beauty portrait photography by visiting my website galleries. If you’d like to chat about booking a family or beauty photography shoot near Portland, OR, I’d love for you to contact me!

      Father’s Day Gift Idea in Portland, OR

      Father's Day gift ideas. This family photo was taken with natural light in a studio with a father and his daughter embracing and smiling in front of a white background. He is wearing a black polo shirt and she is wearing a yellow polka dot long sleeve t-shirt with overalls and a yellow flower in her hair. This photo was taken by Photography by Rayleigh in Portland, OR. See more at byrayleigh.com.

      Why are men so hard to buy gifts for? It almost that time of year when we get to show the fathers in our life how much we appreciate them. But, if you are like me, you often feel stumped about what kind of gift to get them. Allow me to share with you an idea that I believe makes a fantastic Father’s Day gift idea.

      Does he really need another tie?

      The tried and true Father’s Day gift ideas like a new necktie might work sometimes. I like a “Best Dad” mug as much as the next girl. Actually I was really considering this funny mug that I saw on Amazon for my Dad this year. It says, “Dad, since having a favorite child like me is the only gift you need… consider this mug a bonus.” Haha! But really, how many mugs does a person need?

      The guy who has everything.

      Both my husband and my dad are hard to shop for. If they want something that is inexpensive, they just buy it for themselves. On the other hand, if they want something that is expensive and specific to their hobby, I likely don’t know enough about that hobby to buy the right thing.

      I always end up buying gift cards for them, which, let’s be real… is super lame. I’ll be the first to admit it.

      Father's Day gift ideas. This family photo was taken with natural light in a studio with a father and his daughters embracing and smiling in front of a white background. He is wearing a black polo shirt and the girls are wearing yellow polka dots with overalls and a yellow hair accessories. This photo was taken by Photography by Rayleigh in Portland, OR. See more at byrayleigh.com.

      Instead of giving more stuff, give an experience.

      For a Father’s Day gift idea that doesn’t involve giving more stuff to clutter up the house with, try giving an experience as a gift. Something fun for him to do. Or better yet, something fun that he can do with his kids to celebrate fatherhood.

      My favorite Father’s Day gift idea.

      Have you considered gifting a photo shoot experience to your Father or to the Father of your children? What I LOVE about this idea is that not only does he get to experience a fun photo shoot with his children, but he gets to keep the photos as a tangible gift to enjoy for years and years. This could be a family shoot. Or a shoot that includes just Dad and the kids (even grown kids). Father-Daughter shoots are the sweetest! Or even a shoot for Grandpa to have with his grandkids.

      If you are thinking, “He’s not the kind of guy who likes to get dressed up and smile for photos,” then another idea I have for you is to gift some beautiful photos of the kids. Something like this.

      On the other hand, if he’s more in to photos and you think he’d even enjoy a photoshoot all to himself, you can see what that might be like here. Even guys can use a confidence boost every now and then!

      If you don’t have time to get the photo shoot booked before Father’s Day (*ahem* any other procrastinators out there?), don’t worry! You can gift him a gift certificate and we can do the shoot at a later date. No pressure or rush.

      Father's Day gift ideas. This family photo was taken with natural light in a studio with a father holding his baby daughter and smiling in front of a white background. He is wearing a black polo shirt she is wearing yellow floral shirt with overalls and a yellow polka dot headband. This photo was taken by Photography by Rayleigh in Portland, OR. See more at byrayleigh.com.

      A memorable photoshoot experience that is more than just a great Father’s Day gift idea.

      I can’t tell you how much I treasure photos of my children with my Husband. My husband feels the same way. I know my children will be so glad to have these special photos when they are older, as well. These mean SO much more to all of us than a funny mug or another necktie collecting dust in the closet.

      Ready to book?

      I can’t wait to chat with you more about what kind of shoot you would like to do for the father in your life and to either schedule your shoot or arrange a gift certificate. Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions that you have. Just contact me and we can chat!

      Christmas Pajama Sessions

      For the first time, ever, I’m offering a day of limited edition Christmas pajama sessions. You won’t find me offering these types of “mini” sessions often. So if you have been wanting to book a shoot with me and you are looking for a lower cost option, this might be the opportunity for you! These shorter sessions will be held on one day only and there will only be 6 spots available.

      Limited Edition
      Christmas Pajama Sessions
      November 23, 2019

      Slots will be in 30 minute increments between 10:00-1:30

      Christmas pajama sessions. This is an image of a girl wearing red plaid Christmas pajamas and a red winter hat. She's hugging a red pillow and sitting in front of a Christmas tree. Image by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      What is different about these sessions?

      • The session fee is waived! (Usually $690)
      • Professional hair and makeup is not included but is available as an add on
      • Photo shoots are 20-30 minutes long
      • Special pricing! If you purchase two individual photos, you get one free. I will also have a small package available to save even more money. This special package is only available for these limited edition sessions.

      Who are these sessions for?

      These sessions can be scheduled for individuals (beauty or boudoir) or families.

      Do I have to wear Christmas pajamas?

      Although, I think a Christmas pajama session is such a fun idea, you can opt to wear something different. Just make sure your outfits go with the Christmas theme. Red, green, gold, gray, beige, and white are the best colors for this Christmas set. Pastel colors, like light pink, can go well, too, if we take out the reds in the set up. By the way, if you do wear pajamas, they don’t have to be red “Christmas” pajamas. They can be neutral colors, too. Any of the colors mentioned above would work fine.

      Christmas pajama sessions. This is an image of a little girl wearing red plaid Christmas pajamas. She's holding a glass of milk and a teddy bear, next to a plate of cookies, and sitting in front of a Christmas tree. Image by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      What is the special pricing?

      Photos can be purchased individually, which means you get the full size digital version of the photo, as well as a complimentary print of the photo (your choice of 5×7 or 8×10 print). Photos are $250 each. For these limited edition sessions only, if you buy two photos, you get one free!

      For the highest value, consider purchasing a package of 10 photos, which includes the full size digital versions of the photos on a crystal USB drive and an heirloom quality album. The special price for this package is $1200.

      Can I get professional hair and makeup services?

      Professional hair and makeup services are available at an additional cost. That cost is subject to change depending on the hair and makeup artist. So please ask me about that when you book your shoot. There are only 3 slots available that will allow time for hair and makeup services, so you’ll want to grab one of those spots quickly.

      Christmas pajama sessions. This is an image of an Asian mother with her daughter, lying on the floor ans smiling. They are wearing sweaters and matching pink winter hats. Image by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      What if I’m not available on November 23rd?

      If the mini session day doesn’t work for you, please consider a booking full size session. Full size sessions can be booked on a day that is convenient for you and includes a more full experience compared to a mini session. Pricing will be regular pricing. The Christmas set will be available until mid-late December.

      How do I book my shoot?

      Spots are limited! So contact me soon to ask any questions and to book your limited edition Christmas pajama session. A deposit of $250 is required to hold your spot and that deposit goes toward your photo purchase.

      Christmas pajama sessions. This is an image of a girl wearing a gray striped night gown. She's holding a glass of milk with a plate of cookies, and sitting on the floor in front of a Christmas tree. Image by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      A new addition to the family

      Those of you who have followed my work for while know that family photography isn’t my specialty. Especially when it comes to babies. Hand me a baby and I will look at you like a dear in the headlights. Although, I’ll be getting over that soon since I’m expecting my own “bundle of joy” in April.  But when the V Family had a new addition to the family and they asked me if I was interested in doing a glam session, I was excited.

      Hair and makeup services are included in my Family and newborn portraits.  Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      Hair and makeup services by Tracy Schulz http://www.tracyschulz.com/

      What Mrs. V said about her experience

       “I loved my photo shoot with Rayleigh!!! I did a family session with my husband and our 8-month-old baby, and I also sneaked in a couple boudoir pictures, which I’m saving as a surprise for my husband for St. Valentine! I was impressed by how precisely Rayleigh and her make-up and hair professional captured the style of the session that I wanted. I wanted a family and baby photo shoot, but more on the glam side. My makeup and hair turned out impeccable, and the pictures are amazing! “

      A new addition to the family. Family and newborn Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      “I got lots of compliments from my friends and family, and lots of them were asking where I found this level of photography! I have a lot of friends outside of America who do professional photography themselves, and they also mentioned very high quality of the photo shoot.”

      A new addition to the family. Family and newborn Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      “I also loved the process! Rayleigh made it all so easy and enjoyable! I felt confident and beautiful, my husband (who is not a big fan of photo shoots to begin with) was very comfortable and relaxed, my baby was calm and happy. I definitely attribute all that to the wonderful atmosphere Rayleigh creates for her shoots. It was an amazing experience!”

      Family and couples Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      I really enjoyed working with this sweet family. Ooooh… the sweet thumb-sucking melts my heart. I’ll be looking forward to more family shoots like this one.

      A new addition to the family. Family and newborn Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      Mother’s Day

      Mother's day portraits with Photography by Rayleigh. Before and after hair and makeup services. This family photo is of a mother and daughter sitting in front of a white background in the studio. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      Happy Mother’s Day to you!

      I’m looking forward to a fun weekend with my Mom and Mom-in-law for Mother’s Day.  Before all the fun, I thought I would share some Mother-Daughter portraits with you guys. I think Mother-Daughter portraits are my favorite thing to photograph!

      Mother's day portraits with Photography by Rayleigh. This family photo is of a mother and daughter kneeling behind an ottoman in the studio. It is backlit with beautiful window light. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      Mother's day portraits with Photography by Rayleigh. This family photo is of a mother and daughter sitting in front of a black background in the studio. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      I’m so glad there is a day set aside for us to honor Moms. What are your plans for the weekend? Happy Mother’s day to you all!

      To view more of my family portraits, please visit my family gallery.

      Sisters Session

      hughes 006..

      One of the most beautiful bonds in the world is the bond between sisters. When I was growing up, my sister and I used to fight constantly. I didn’t want her in my room or touching my stuff. But as an adult I can’t imagine life without my sister. We talk on the phone almost every day and she’s my very best friend.

      It’s been way too long since my sister and I have done a sisters session together so we should totally get on that! Sister shoots are so much fun and create the most amazing keepsakes. They make a great Mother’s Day gift, too.  Ooh, I just gave myself a great idea for a gift for my Mom this spring. Haha!

      Beauty Photography by Rayleigh. These image is of a teen girl standing in front a white background in a Sue Bryce inspired pose. For more info, please visit byrayleigh.com
      Sisters session. Beauty Photography by Rayleigh. These images are oft two teen girls standing in front a white background in a Sue Bryce inspired pose. For more info, please visit byrayleigh.com
      Sisters session. Beauty Photography by Rayleigh. These image is of a teen girl standing in front a backlit background in a Sue Bryce inspired pose. For more info, please visit byrayleigh.com

      Want to see more?

      Click here to see more beauty portraits and click here to see my senior portrait gallery.

      Exist in Photos

      It’s impossible to remember everything

      It’s nearly impossible for almost all of us to remember everything we’ve ever looked at or read (unless you’re really cool and have that neat memory trick, which, I totally don’t), or every family member you have…or had. Every Holiday dinner, every birthday morning, every family vacation, every time you cut a class in high school and went to the beach or behind the Taco Bell with your friends. Unless those memories exist in photos.

      Have you ever stopped to think about just how long you’ve been on this earth? About how many days you’ve lived….how many sentences you’ve spoken….how many things you’ve really seen??

      If only we’d stopped to take a few pictures

      Exist in photos. A Heritage photo of me from the 90's. For more info about beauty photography, visit byrayleigh.com
      This is me in 1991 with my New Kids On The Block birthday cake. A great memory I might have forgotten without this photo.

      There’s so much that we’ve lived through that we’ll never remember, because we don’t have images of them. The memories that we DO have, we have because they left an imprint on us, whether it was good or bad, it was a strong enough moment visually, emotionally, physically…that it left a mark in our minds that is easy for us to access either whenever we’d like, or, when something sparks up a related memory of that time, like a certain smell or a song.  But can you imagine how much we would remember if we just stopped to take a few pictures along the way?

      Albums full of photos but almost none of my Mom

      I feel so blessed that my Mom was very much in to pictures of my sister and me when we were growing up so I have albums full of photos to look back on. But do you know how many of the photos include her? Hardly any of them. Mostly because she was the one always taking the photos. So she doesn’t really exist in photos from my childhood.

      I would love to look at a bunch of photos of what my Mom and Dad both looked like in the early 80’s as I was growing up or in the 70’s before I was born. Maybe some photos of them together when they were dating.  

      Exist in photos. A Heritage photo of my Mom from the 1970's. For more info about beauty photography, visit byrayleigh.com
      This is one of very few photos I have of my Mom from her younger days.

      I totally get it, though. I find it difficult to allow myself to be in photos because I never like the way I look in snapshot photos and I’d rather just have photos of all my friends. Plus, I just feel so comfortable being the one to take the photos.

      Exist in photos

      One day when my children want to look at all my old albums, they won’t care about seeing photos of my friends. They want to see me. They won’t care if I was having a bad hair day or if I needed to lose weight. So I do my best to just exist in photos and to quiet the voices in my head that tell me that I’m not pretty enough to be seen. To be remembered. I want to leave an imprint on this world and a memory for my family members to look back on with love.

      So take some time to have your photos taken. WITH your family. WITH your friends. Take some selfies! We have the ability to catch these memories now. To preserve them. There’s no reason not to. Nobody who loves you will care if you are too skinny or too big or balding or not tan enough. The only thing that will matter to them when you are gone, is that they can look back and laugh and cry and ultimately remember you and how wonderful your time together was.

      A selfie of me with my two little girls. I had to go back over a year to find a candid picture of me with them. So even I need to hear this advice.

      How about some gorgeous professional photos of yourself to pass down to your children?

      This article is mostly talking about candid photos of daily memories. But I also can’t say enough good things about gorgeous beauty photos of you and your family. These are the photos that will be hung on the walls for decades. And even hung on your children’s walls after that!

      Please click here to see my beauty portrait gallery and click here to see my family portrait gallery.

      Exist in photos. Family photography by Rayleigh. This image is of a mother, father, and young daughter, embracing and laughing in front of a white background. For more info, please visit byrayleigh.com

      If you’d like to talk about how to create some beautiful photos for you to pass down to your children so that you can exist in photos, just shoot me an email! I can’t wait to work with you.

      Thank you, Angela Yodice of Whirlie Girl Photography, for inspiring this post.

      Mother-Daughter Session

      Ms. R contacted me about doing a Mother-Daughter session with her Mom, Ms. A. Having hair and makeup done in my studio and then spending an hour, or so, snuggling up for photos is a bonding experience. The photos are an amazing souvenir of the great day they had and I know they will cherish these photos and the memory of the time they spent together, for years.

      A before and after collage from a beauty shoot. This image is of a young woman sitting in front of a black background wearing jeans and a black top. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      A before and after collage from a beauty shoot. This image is of an older woman sitting in front of a black background wearing a black top. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      These sessions are a great idea for a fun Mother’s Day activity. I also offer gift certificates that you can gift your Mom on the holiday. Then you can schedule the shoot for a future date.

      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter, standing in front of a black background wearing black tops. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter, standing in front of a white background. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      Aren’t they adorable? I’m tempted to ask them if they will adopt me in to their family. They are the sweetest and those smiles are contagious.

      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com
      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter, standing in front of a black background wearing pink and black tops. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      This image, below, is just a goofy shot where they wore some vintage hats that I have in my studio. It kind of gives a photo booth sort of feel.

      Mother-Daughter session. This image is of an older woman and her grown daughter wearing vintage hats in front of a black background. Photo booth style. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit byrayleigh.com

      Are you interested in a Mother-Daughter session?

      Mother-Daughter sessions are probably my most favorite kinds of sessions to do. The bond between Mother and Daughter is so special. To see more Mother-daughter images, I invite you to check out my Family Gallery. Please contact me to book your own beauty or boudoir photo session!