Category Archives: Session Tips

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

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

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

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!

Why you shouldn’t do a photo shoot

Trust me, I get it.

You’re considering a portrait session but there are so many reasons why you shouldn’t do a photo shoot. You are thinking one or more of the following thoughts…
– I need to lose 10 pounds first
– I’m nervous to be in front of the camera
– I can’t afford this
– I’m not photogenic
– I’ll never look as good as the ladies on your website


Just reading the above thoughts is some tiring stuff.

I want you to repeat after me, “I’m perfectly imperfect.”

Why you shouldn't do a photo shoot. Addressing common concerns. A before and after collage of a woman doing a beauty portrait shoot. She is wearing a blue sparkly formal dress and an intense gaze and serious expression. Her hand with red nail polish is in her hair. It's a close up head shot with a white background. These images are taken by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit
Before After

Why you shouldn’t do a photo shoot

It sounds like you have a lot of reasons NOT to do a photo shoot. But it’s time to start thinking positive thoughts and start living your life now. Don’t wait until you become the person you think you should be. These concerns are so common, though, so let’s take a minute to address those.

I need to lose 10 pounds first

Wow, I REALLY get this. I think this thought often (except it’s usually more than 10 pounds, let’s be honest). But I want you to know that you don’t have to have a “perfect” body to feel beautiful. You can enjoy a photo shoot and feel amazing right now. Besides, I can do more with posing and lighting than you can do in 6 months in the gym. So there is always that! Perfect posing is my strength and that means helping women of all shapes and sizes look their best. Accentuating the curves you love and downplaying the curves you don’t love.

I’m nervous to be in front of the camera

Pretty much every client that comes in to my studio is nervous at first. But try not to worry because my past clients will attest that the nervousness goes away so quickly. My hair and makeup artist will have you feeling confident and gorgeous. You’ll feel comfortable, you’ll have a blast, and you’ll leave wondering what there ever was to be nervous about. If you haven’t already had a chance to read my blog about what to expect when you do a photo shoot, you should definitely check that out.

I can’t afford this

It’s true that I provide a luxury service and it may not be a priority over something like, say, paying the rent. But I do believe that every woman should experience what it’s like to look and feel beautiful. I offer easy payment plans for this reason. I read a great article about the importance of investing in yourself that included marking things off your bucket list. So let’s chat about how we can make this happen. It’s worth the investment! I promise!

Why you shouldn't do a photo shoot. Addressing common concerns. A before and after collage of a woman doing a maternity portrait shoot. She is wearing a lace dress and holding her belly bump and looking down while standing against a white wall. These images are taken by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit
Before After

I’m not photogenic

“Not photogenic” women are some of my most favorite clients because I LOVE the reaction I get from them when I prove them wrong and they see their wonderful photos. If you think you aren’t photogenic, you probably just haven’t experienced a shoot with the right photographer, yet. 

I’ll never look as good as the ladies on your website

The ladies on my website are not models. They are just regular women who treated themselves to a day of pampering. The thing I love about beauty and boudoir photography is that it levels the playing field between magazine models and regular women. You will still look like you in the photos. But a more famous version of you. 

Why you shouldn't do a photo shoot. Addressing common concerns. A before and after collage of a woman doing a boudoir photo shoot. She's wearing black lingerie and red lipstick while while standing against a black wall. These images are taken by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit
Before After

Are you ready to do this?

What do you say? Are you ready to take the plunge and have the experience of a lifetime? Or do you have any other concerns? I’m here for you and I’m happy to answer any questions you have. Let’s chat about your shoot!  I can’t wait to hear from you.

What to expect when you book a shoot

If you haven’t, yet, experienced a shoot in my studio or if you’ve never done a shoot as glamorous as this before, you might be wondering how the process works. I’d love to share with you what to expect when you book a shoot with Photography by Rayleigh.

First, I invite you to watch my video below (created by Ambient Sky) because it’s a really great way to get a feel for what the experience is like. Then we can go over the steps of the entire process.

Now let’s go over the details of the process from the time you book, to the time you hold your luxurious album or folio box in your hands.


Ultimate Guide to Preparing for your Photo Shoot

If you haven’t received my prep guide, you can click here to get that sent to you. It’s loaded with info to help you…

  • Prepare for your session
  • Know what to expect when you book a shoot
  • Learn how to feel relaxed during your shoot 
  • Put your outfits together
  • Know what NOT to do!

Session Consultation

In addition to the detailed prep guide, we can also have a phone, video, or in-person consultation to go over details and specifics for YOUR shoot and to go over any questions or concerns you might have. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you’ll feel.


Come as you are

All of my sessions include professional hair and makeup by my talented hair and makeup artists. All you have to do is show up with a clean face and hair. Then relax, sip on some wine, if you’d like, and listen to music while we all chat and have a great time. If you have ideas for how you want your hair or makeup, you are welcome to bring pictures to show her. Otherwise, you can just sit back and let her do her magic. Hair and makeup typically takes about 60-90 minutes.

What to expect when you book a shoot. This is a behind the scenes photo of my makeup artist and my client. My client is sitting in the makeup chair, having her eye makeup done. The background is my pink wall. This is the studio of Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit

Your photo shoot

Don’t worry about knowing how to pose or how to look good in front of the camera. That’s my job! My strength is perfect posing to help every woman look their best. Accentuating the curves you love and downplaying the curves you don’t love. Just relax and trust me!

How many outfits?

I don’t have a specific limit to the number of outfits you can wear during your shoot, but we typically shoot for about an hour and in that time we can fit in about 3-5 outfits. I recommend bringing a variety of outfit styles (casual, dressy, formal, etc).

What to expect when you book a shoot. This is a before and after portrait. This girl is in a sitting pose, wearing a casual sweatshirt and legging against a white background. She is smiling with her hand in her hair. Photo by Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit


the ordering session

The ordering session is where you get to view all of your gorgeous photos and choose your favorites. You’ll be shocked at how much you can LOVE a photo of yourself! I am so pleased to offer same day ordering! After your session, you can head out to lunch while I process your photos. After lunch, you get to come back and view your photos!

Images can be purchased individually, however, my clients love my image collections that include gorgeous presentation products that are truly the top of the line in the industry. I offer high quality wooden folio boxes and luxurious Queensberry albums. All images purchased come with the digital copy of the image, which gets sent to you shortly after your ordering session. The printed products take a few days to a couple of weeks to receive, depending on the product you choose.

What to expect when you book a shoot. this is a photo of the album I offer my clients after their photo shoot. The image in the album was taken by Photography by Rayleigh and is a picture of sisters wearing white t shirts and jeans in a sitting pose. For more info, visit

Wall art is another way to display your stunning images. I’ll be your personal designer, helping you to design a beautiful display of images for you walls.

What to expect when you book a shoot. The image in the frame was taken by Photography by Rayleigh and is a picture of an Indian woman in a pink formal dress sitting on the back of a white couch. The rest of the bedroom photo is a stock photo I purchased and have permission to use. For more info, visit

Now that you’ve learned what to expect when you book a shoot, I hope you can see that a shoot with me is more than having your photos taken. It’s an amazing experience that can help you change the way you see yourself. Do you have questions? I invite you to check out my blog that goes over some common concerns that my clients have before their shoot. Also, I’m happy to answer any questions that you have. Let’s chat about your shoot!

Muffin Top

Famous Dave's cornbread muffin top. Rayleigh is a beauty and boudoir photographer with Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, visit

The muffin top is where it’s at

From the minute we pull in to the parking lot of Famous Dave’s BBQ, we are hooked. That amazing smell wafting in to the car, I can hardly get inside fast enough. We order our usual, a split order of chicken tenders with a side of broccoli, a side of mac and cheese, and that oh-so-amazing cornbread muffin. If you’ve ever eaten at Famous Dave’s you know that this is not just any corn bread. This is I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven cornbread. And the muffin top is the best part.

The only problem with splitting a meal, like we usually do, is that we only get one cornbread muffin, which is never enough. I joked with my husband, Nate, that I wouldn’t mind as much, splitting the muffin in half, if we were cutting it in such a way that I were getting the top half. So my husband, being the sweet guy that he is, gave me the top half of the muffin. Now that is love.

What does this have to do with photography?

When I pose my clients, I pose them in a way that celebrates the parts of their body that they love and I downplay the parts that they don’t love as much. If you have a sweetie, I’m sure he loves you for all of you. But I totally get wanting to focus only on your favorite parts. Now that I think about it, though, “muffin tops” aren’t always a good thing. Am I right?

False Eyelashes | Beauty & Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

Wear False Eyelashes. boudoir photography in Portland, OR. Photography by Rayleigh.

Beauty and boudoir Photo shoot tip – Wear False Eyelashes

False eyelashes make look a bit fake in real life and when you first put them on they feel so heavy and just, well weird! However, in your photos they will make a HUGE difference. You actually don’t really notice them in the pictures, but you will notice their effect. They accentuate your eyes and give them a gorgeous almond shape. These are a must-have!

At the Photography by Rayleigh studio, my hair and makeup artist will provide false lashes for your shoot, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. But aside from your shoot, if you want to wear them for an event or just to feel a little extra pretty, check out this site for some great tips on everything false lashes. There are also some tips on making your own lashes appear longer.

Importance of Sleep

boudoir photography portland oregon

There is so much to do everyday that it’s sometimes tough to add in the time to sleep. It’s common for my husband and me to get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. Yikes! While everyone’s sleep needs differ, I know that I could benefit from more sleep. I’ve read that between 7-9 hours is ideal.

This is true for every day life, but it’s especially true for the night before a beauty portrait session. Photoshop is pretty awesome but I can’t edit out a sleepy look from your eyes.

There are a million articles on the importance of sleep and just as many on how to get a good night’s rest. Here is an easy read from the Mayo clinic.

Are you getting enough zzzz? Are there any rituals you do that help you sleep better?

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
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
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

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.

Pinterest & Your Session

boudoir photography portland oregon

So, you have a beauty or boudoir session coming up and you’re not quite sure what look you like best. Aside from trusting your photographer to know that she knows exactly what to do and how to make you look your absolute best, you still might want to do a little research to see what kind of look you want for your photos.

Here’s a few tips on how to use your Pinterest boards to collaborate with me (your photographer) and to inspire yourself to step out of your comfort zone!

Pinterest and your session

1. If you’re not on Pinterest, get on there now! Seriously, it’s pretty awesome and there’s almost nothing you can’t find on there for inspiration and ideas….for more than just photography!

2. If you’re a Pinterest veteran. you probably know all about secret boards and how to use them, but, in case you’re not, this is a great tool from Pinterest that will help you create an inspirational board that nobody else can see unless you give them permission. When you sign on to Pinterest, you have the option to create a new board and you can make that board secret by clicking the little button (by the arrow!). You can also add me to your list once you are following me on Pinterest so that I have the ability to see what you are putting on your board.

boudoir photography portland oregon

Here is my Pinterest Page. Sharing your board with me will come in extremely handy, especially if you have difficulty explaining the style that you have in mind. I can just look at your board and see exactly what you like!

3. I would also have the ability to pin images to your board with suggestive ideas for clothing or accessories if you’d like. You can find a lot of great ideas on what type of accessories you may want to have for your session and the images link to the original post of the image, so you can most likely find out how to buy that item online!

4. Don’t forget about your hair and makeup!! I know when I go to the salon with an idea in my head for a color or style, it’s extremely hard for me to explain it to my stylist. When you use your Pinterest board, you can search for just the right style and makeup application that you want for your shoot and then your stylist can work with you to get a look similar to that for your own session.

Never underestimate the power of social media and how it can really be used to communicate with other people aside from family. Step outside your box, find something that speaks to you, that moves you, that inspires you….and go for it!!!

Let’s chat about your shoot! Just shoot me an email and we can go over all the details.

Groom’s Gift Idea | Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

This handsome guy is my brother-in-law, Rod. I had the pleasure of photographing his beautiful Bride-to-be, Alison. She had the album of bridal boudoir portraits delivered to him on their wedding day. I can’t imagine a better Groom’s gift idea for the wedding day!

Groom's gift idea. This is a wedding image of a man receiving a boudoir photo album as his wedding gift. For more info about boudoir photography, visit
(Wedding photos used with permission by Kirsten Hammericksen)

I love what Rod had to say about the photos.

“A few months before our wedding, my fiancée went to visit Rayleigh to have some sexy photos taken. On our wedding day she completely surprised me with a boudoir photo collection book and had her maid of honor deliver it to me just before I saw her in her wedding dress for the first time. What a great groom’s gift idea! Thoughtful, memorable, and a clever way to help with any pre-wedding jitters. The photos were tasteful and classy and sexy. As you can imagine, it was a topic of much interest and discussion among the groomsmen.”

Groom's gift idea. This is a wedding image of a man receiving a boudoir photo album as his wedding gift. For more info about boudoir photography, visit
(Wedding photos used with permission by Kirsten Hammericksen)

“She was a little nervous about getting it done, but said that Rayleigh did an excellent job of helping her feel comfortable. Really allowed her to let her own personality show up in the photos, and I can tell. Good times and great memories every time I see that little book of fun! We undoubtedly recommend Rayleigh to anyone considering doing it. And if you haven’t considered it, you should. Take it from a recently married man, it was a great groom’s gift idea.”

–Rod L.

The Bride’s boudoir photos

Wearing white for boudoir photos always adds to the bridal feel and I love the lace robe that this bride wore. Lace adds interesting texture and looks so feminine.

You might also consider bringing some wedding day accessories, such as your veil, wedding shoes, and any special jewelry.

Groom's gift idea. Boudoir photography by Rayleigh. This is a backlit modest boudoir image of a woman in a lace robe on a chase. For more info, visit

Groom’s gift idea

Having the album delivered to your groom in his dressing room while he is getting ready for the wedding is a fun idea because it adds to the anticipation of seeing his beautiful bride walking down the isle and for the fun honeymoon you have planned together.

Another option, though, is to gift the album to your groom the night of the wedding, when you are alone and winding down from an amazing day. I really like that idea, too, because it’s fun to look at the photos together. You get to see his expressions as he looks at the beautiful images of the woman he cherishes.

Want to see more?

Click on the links below to see more photos on the following topics:

Bridal Portraits
Boudoir Portraits
Session Tips

Please contact me if you’d like to chat about your bridal boudoir shoot for a great Groom’s gift idea!

7 tips for how to feel confident while being photographed

7 tips for feeling confident while being photographed. This is a modest boudoir image in a photography studio of a beautiful plus size woman lying on her tummy on a couch in black babydoll lingerie. She's touching her hair to her mouth. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit

My top 7 tips for how to feel confident and relaxed during your photo shoot in Portland, OR

If you are like most of my clients, you have no idea how to “look sexy” in your photos and you certainly don’t feel confident. In normal every day life, I totally feel like I’m not that girl, so I totally get it. I’m excited to share with you my top 7 tips for how to feel confident and relaxed during your boudoir or beauty photo shoot at my studio in Portland, OR.

Tip #1: Have Fun!

If your goal is to get great shots, you may feel more nervous or even overwhelmed. But it’s my job to get the great shots and all you need to do is relax, trust me, and focus on having fun! If your smile is fake, it will be noticeable in your images. But if you are genuinely having a great time, you’ll have an extra sparkle in your eye and you will love your images so much more. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman who was smiling a real smile, who wasn’t beautiful.

7 tips for feeling confident while being photographed. This is a modest boudoir image in a photography studio of a smiling Asian woman lying on her back on the bed, covered by white sheets. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit

Tip #2: Visualize

Visualize your shoot ahead of time! Don’t focus on your nerves or feeling awkward. Instead, picture yourself having a good time, feeling relaxed, looking fantastic, seeing your images afterwards and absolutely loving them.

Visualize it from your point of view, in your own shoes. Do this several times before your shoot. Then when it’s time for your shoot, you will be excited and ready for a fantastic time.

Tip #3: Get inspired

What is confident beauty to you? Everyone has a different picture in their minds of what confident beauty is. It may be dramatic clothing and  a serious gaze. Or it may be laughing and having a casual, giggly, fun time.  

There are lots of places to look for inspiration such as magazines, photography websites, movies, and art.   Communicate with your photographer what style you like and what mood you want to have for your portraits.

Tip #4: Show up with all you’ve got

If you want to feel confident during your boudoir shoot, you’ve got to really be in to the shoot and be open. Posing is my job.  But posing is only half of it.  Confidence will show up in your photos and you have to bring that.  Even if you are just faking it!  

Feeling self conscious about your body? Just pretend you aren’t. I know, it seems silly. But when you see your glowing face and your rockin’ curves, you aren’t going to care if your love handles are a bit more lovely than they used to be. Those things will mostly be hidden, anyway, by posing, lighting, and wardrobe.

Come on! Stretch outside your comfort zone and give it all you have. 

7 tips for feeling confident while being photographed. This is a modest boudoir image in a photography studio of a woman standing in front of a white background and laughing. she's wearing a pink sweater. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit

Tip #5: Remember the context

The sheer fact that you are willing to be in front of the camera being photographed is awesome! It’s powerful and vulnerable at the same time. I love that my clients trust me with this experience.

Tip #6: Use all of your senses

Bring out your sensuality through the use of all 5 of your senses. While at my studio, enjoy some music, indulge in some Ghirardelli, sip on some wine, wear your favorite scent as well as an outfit that makes you feel smokin’ hot.   Think on memories that make you blush and smile.

Tip #7: Be yourself

Honor who you are, in this moment. The time is now. You are lovely and beautiful just as you are.

Want to see more info?

I invite you to check out more of my blogs about these topics:
Boudoir Photography
Session Tips
My beautiful Plus size clients

Would you l like my free guide on How to Prepare For Your Shoot? I’d be happy to send it to you!

For the privacy of my clients, I try to post only modest boudoir photos online. If you’d like to see my full boudoir gallery, please send me a message and I’d be happy to send you the private link.