Category Archives: Thoughts on Life

Feel Inferior? | Beauty Photography Portland Oregon

Beauty Photography Portland Oregon

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! 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 could have allowed this converstation 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.

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.


Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

Muffin Top | Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

boudoir photography portland oregonFrom 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.

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 splitting the muffin in half as much, if we were cutting it in such a way that I were getting the top half (cause everyone knows that the muffin top is where it’s at). So my husband, being the sweet guy that he is, gave me the top half of the muffin. Now that is love.

When I pose my clients, I pose them in a way that celebrates the parts of their body that they love and downplay the parts that they don’t love as much. If you have a sweetie, I’m sure he loves you for all your parts and will happily enjoy them all. 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?

Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

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

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.


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? Leave me a comment and tell me what photos you cherish.

Library Lover’s Month | Photography Portland Oregon

photography portland oregon


Love books? I do! Did you know that this month is Library Lover’s Month? Well, now you do!
Here’s what you can find on my bookshelf:
The Bible, Enhancing your marriage, fiction, business, motivational and of course BOUDOIR! I just bought a book called Body & Soul which is a boudoir business book about providing a service that is life changing for your clients.

What is on your bookshelf?


wedding photography portland oregon

Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

Valentine Gift Idea | Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

boudoir photography portland oregon

Valentine’s Day is this weekend. If you’ve been crazy busy, like me, you might be looking for a last minute gift idea. With all the love in the air, I wanted to find some fun, inexpensive gifts that could be fun to give this Valentine’s Day and found this – Date Night Sticks.  I must live in a bubble, because there are TONS of sites that talk about this and I had never heard of it before! So maybe you’re already aware, consider this a reminder to just do it!

The idea is you write down places, activities, etc onto Popsicle sticks; then when you have a date night draw one and do it! Some sticks can be color coded for less expensive ideas vs. more expensive excursions, maybe even a family night. For Valentine’s Day, you could give a jar, but I think it would be more fun to give the supplies and create the jar together!

Whether you choose to do sticks, or paper in a bowl, I’d love to hear about it! Also include the most interesting activity you are adding to the options. I may want to borrow it!


Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

Exist in Memories | Photography Portland Oregon

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??

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.

exist in photographs

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?

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. 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.  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. But one day when I have children and they 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.

heritage photo
This is one of very few photos I have of my Mom from her younger days.

Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

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

Change Your Attitude |Beauty Photography Portland Oregon



Today you will find people from every walk of life with very different attitudes. You can find the poorest people on the earth that are truly happy, and you can find the wealthiest that are miserable, and vice versa. Not only does a good attitude determine your happiness, but science now tells us that a positive attitude improves your health and extends your life. So what can we do to improve our attitude and become healthier and happier?

Have gratitude for everything. Gratitude can be the key that changes everything. Oprah Winfrey strongly encourages everyone to have a “Gratitude Journal” to help you be more receptive to the goodness in your life. She has personally kept them for years stating it is the single most important thing she’s ever done.

Replace your negative thoughts. It can be hard to just stop having negative thoughts, because then you are focused more on the negative thoughts and how to stop them. An easier task is to replace them with positive thoughts. Take a self inventory on your thoughts, find what isn’t serving you well and replace them with positive thoughts.

Look for good role models. Finding and being around people with uplifting and positive attitudes can rub off on you. This can be a friend, co-worker, neighbor or even a celebrity. Role models help show you and inspire you to be a better person and live a better more positive way.

Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir and Glamour Photography, Portland, Oregon

How to feel sexy while being photographed: tip #5| Boudoir Photography Portland Oregon

Cater to your 5 senses


Here is  tip #5 (out of 10) on how to feel sexy during your photo shoot.

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.   What do you do to get in the mood for love?   Leave me a comment!

boudoir photography portland oregon


Did you miss my other tips on how to feel sexy while being photographed?   Here are my other posts so you can catch up!

Tip #1: Have fun!

Tip #2: Visualize

Tip #3 Get Inspired

Tip#4   Show up

Tip#5 Use your senses


Rayleigh Leavitt : Boudoir Photography, Portland, Oregon