Category Archives: Thoughts on Life

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!

Do You Feel Inferior?

Do you feel inferior? Quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. Rayleigh is a beauty photographer in Portland, OR. For more info, visit

Do you feel inferior?

I just love this quote! It’s easy to get swept up in the emotions of how we think others are making us feel, but sometimes I have to remind myself that how I feel is my own choice!

This one time…

I have a comical conversation with another local photographer etched in to my memory. It’s only comical because I didn’t let his insults get me down. He asked me a bunch of questions about how I learned photography and about my studio and was completely unimpressed with my answers. Then he went on about how his father was a photographer before him and so was his grandfather. His great grandfather was a painter. So he has generations of artistic ability that he could claim. When I told him that my father was a city bus driver, I could almost see the disdain coming out of his ears like a green colored visible stench in a cartoon.  

I’m proud of my accomplishments

I could have allowed this conversation to affect how I saw myself as a professional photographer. But instead I took a good look at my gorgeous studio and felt proud of the business I’ve built and the strides I’ve made in my art, all on my own. I absolutely love what I do and I’m pretty darn good at it, too, if I do say so myself. No matter what that meanie thinks.

So do you feel inferior? Today I challenge you to tell yourself the opposite of any negative thought or emotion you may have. I want to hear about how it goes! I think you may be surprised at the outcome.

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?

Growing old with my dog

I looked down at my dog today while I was making breakfast. She was close by, as she always is, hoping to start her day off with a breakfast treat. There was nothing different about the routine, but for some reason, today I saw her differently. For the first time, I could see her old soul staring back at me.

Rivers and I have been best friends for 14 long years.  Together we’ve lived in about 6 different houses with as many different roommates. Then Nate came along and we became a family. Rivers was even the “Bridesdog” in my wedding and felt right at home in a place of honor, on stage with all my Bridesmaids.

Of course, I’ve been noticing for a while that she gains more and more white fur with each day and her love of running at an insane speed has faded. But I just hadn’t seen her age showing through in her eyes like I did this morning.

wedding flower dog. Bride's Dog. For more info about beauty photography, visit

Watching her grow old is as endearing as it is scary. I can’t even imagine what my life will be like when she’s gone. I don’t like to think about it at all. But I do really enjoy looking back at all of our photos in my stacks of photo albums and reminiscing about the times we’ve spent together. She’s been a part of so many of my experiences and I’m so thankful to have a visual record of our memories.

A puppy who has grown in to an old dog. For more info about beauty photography, visit

Take a look at this photo of Rivers when she was just a puppy in 2002 and a photo from Spring of 2016. I could look at pictures of my fur baby all day long. Ha!

If I were to look through your photo albums, what would I see? 

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.

My Husband Is Perfect

My husband is perfect for me. This is a black and white boudoir or "dudoir" image of a man lying on the bed. Photography by Rayleigh. For more info, please visit
My husband, Nate.

My husband is perfect…. for me

My husband is perfect. Having said that, know that I am using sort of a loose definition of perfection. Mostly I’m talking about the way that I see my husband and the way that I think of him.

It’s true that Nate isn’t actually a perfect person. He has faults and sins, just like me. And just like you. But if I choose to focus on those faults and sins, I’m destined to be unhappy.

I aim to be the happiest wife

Since I aim to be the happiest wife, I choose to focus on Nate’s great, amazing qualities. I frequently remind myself and I also remind Nate, that he is perfect…. to me!

I married him because I decided that his great qualities far outweighed his negative qualities and that I would love him completely, for who he was, including his faults, and not try to change him.

Focus on the good stuff

So before I allow myself to dwell on any kind of annoying habit that Nate might have, I instead focus on the fact that Nate loves me and wants me to be happy and he is a good, good person. He is good to me and treats me like a Princess. That is a perfect dream come true.

God brought us together as part of His perfect plan. We were perfectly made for each other. To me…. my husband is perfect!

Want to see some more photos?

If you’d like to see more photos of my adorable husband or of the other men I’ve had the honor of photographing, click here.

Kiss Me Like You Mean It

Image of my husband and me by Lindsey Rose

So many roommates

I’ve had a lot of roommates.   But that may be the understatement of the year.   Yes, I’ve had close to 30 different roommates in my lifetime (not including my family).   Some of them have been wonderful people whom I will be friends with for the rest of my life and others made me oh so happy when it was time to move!   I’ve learned to live with almost anyone and I can get by just fine.   That doesn’t mean I actually enjoy living with just anyone. But I can get along under the same roof with a lot of different kinds of people.

Not just another roommate

But when I chose Nate to be my husband, I didn’t see him as just another roommate opportunity.   Believe me, as far as roommates go, he’s a great one!   But obviously, he’s much more than that!   The problem is that although it seems obvious when you say it like that, in reality, so many husbands and wives end up in a relationship that isn’t much more than roommate status.   Because I know that is a very common tendency, I wanted to learn how to avoid becoming roommates instead of lovers.

Kiss me like you mean it

I’m currently reading Kiss Me Like You Mean It by Dr. David Clarke.   It’s about having passion in your marriage like the passion between Solomon and his beloved expressed in Song of Solomon in the Bible.   There is a lot of great stuff in this book that I will probably share in future blogs.  

Talk to each other

For today, I’ll stick with one idea from the book and that is to make time and talk to each other. Seems like a simple concept.   But even after only 6 weeks of marriage, I can see how if you don’t schedule alone time to together the bulk of your conversations will be more informative and purposeful than deep and intimate.   It’s easy enough to squeeze in some time to get a run down of the schedule for the week or a list of what you need at the grocery store or maybe, if you have some extra time, you can even squeak in some time to talk about what color you should paint the walls.   But the conversations are usually held while you are also doing the dishes and cooking dinner at the same time and your husband is practicing guitar or watering the plants.   No eye contact.   No connection.

Dr. Clarke suggests scheduling time to just sit and talk for 30 minutes at least 4 times a week.   They should be spent in a quiet place without distractions (no kids, phones, magazines, etc).   And he recommends following his 5 steps to good talk time.   I thought they were great steps to follow so I wanted to share them with you!

Step 1:   Start with a brief prayer.   Thank God for each other and invite him to be with you as you spend time together.

Step 2:   Read your couple’s devotional.   Answer the questions at the end.   It’s a great conversation starter.

Step 3:   What’s on your mind?   Talk about daily living topics like work, family, and friends.   Catch up on life.   Look for a topic that might have potential for more intimacy.

Step 4:   Pray together.   Make a list of prayer requests and pray for 5-10 minutes. Hold hands while you pray.

Step 5.   Move from prayer to conversation.   Talk about some of the things that you just lifted up in prayer. These are the concerns of the heart and the things you care about the most.

Nate and I have been pretty good about having scheduled alone time most days of the week (it’s a lot easier for us than those with kiddos) but we really want to start praying at the beginning of our alone time.   We think that would make our time more meaningful.   Try it out!   I’d love to know how it goes for you!