lifewjess@gmail.com

Name Change for Me, Pronunciation Hint for You

Introducing: Same business, same woman... different last name.     I've never had a last name that was easy to pronounce at first glance. So as I make the official transition back to my maiden name, I thought I'd give a little intro and pronunciation hint. It's Rawleigh... rhymes with jolly.     Or like, the capital of North Carolina, but with a "w" (which is way too much to tell people.) So jolly works. And it matches who I am and what my photography is all about... bringing smiles to faces. Spreading beauty and cheer and humor and hope and goofiness wherever I

Cake Smash Shoot | Miss Harper

I had another opportunity to spend some time with the amazing Christofaro family. This time we set up in the comfort of their home to celebrate Little Miss Harper's first birthday!     First of all, I really loved Melissa's choice of The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a theme. Besides the fact that I loved reading that book to my own little ladies, Eric Carle just slam-dunks the bright-colored cuteness!     And just look at the lace details of this dress she found! I die!     As I was setting up my background and we finished blowing up the balloons, Harper needed a quick nourishing nibble before indulging her sweet tooth and I took the opportunity to capture the sweetness of those moments, too.     So first the balloons...     And then, CAKE.     And oh my, did she dig in!     It was funny, the more

Classes with Jess | Travel Photography at The Rockwell Museum

At my recent Travel Photography Workshop at 171 in March, my students and I discussed the ways we can apply specific composition rules to make our travel photography more interesting. I showed them my basic gear and bags and told them my experiences in lugging my camera through 15 countries in the past ten years. My biggest tip: find a favorite "walk around" lens that can get you both wide shots and nice details, and keep your camera out and at the ready at all times.      I have learned that I am often lazy and whiny and I tire out easily if I carry too much gear with me around a big city or on a hike up a mountain. I've also found I need a bag that has side-access (over the shoulder) because I am not very likely to take the time to stop and take a backpack off to change out a lens.     One thing I love about our workshops at 171 Cedar Arts Center is that the back half is always a hands-on photo walk to the Gaffer District. With

Easter Cookie Magic

Sometimes you just need to shake things up. Maybe it was because I felt stuck in the drudgery that is the end-of-winter in Upstate NY... where the sun comes out to tease most days but it's still too cold to be outside much. Maybe it was because March was an exceptionally busy month for me, both professionally and personally, which meant I was spending what seemed like more than the usual time with my eyes glued to my computer screen. (Don't get me wrong, I love my work. I even love it when it's fast-paced and I feel like most days I'm sliding into home plate barely having finished everything I need to get done!)     Whatever it was, I needed to do something different. I still needed to create, especially if I was going to justify tackling a project that would take me away from my desk and my never-ending work to-do list. But the kitchen seemed to be calling me, and the creative thrill of fancy Easter cookies seemed like just the right way to celebrate

Lucky Bamboo

I don't have much to say about the Luck 'O the Irish, but let me tell you about this Lucky Bamboo plant that is gracing my desk these days. (It's lucky and it's green, so this ALMOST counts as a St. Patrick's Day post)     COME ON! It's so freaking cool I can hardly stand it.     It was love at first sight at Wegmans and I ended up buying it a few weeks later when I saw that she was one of only two of her sisters left. I just couldn't resist the cool juxtaposition between the curving lines of the stalks and the straight lovely leafy canopy that shoots up from them.     No clue how the Bamboo Wizards do this sort of thing, but I'm digging it. I'm also really on board with the fact that I apparently can't kill it because it doesn't need a lot of sun (which my home office doesn't have) and it also doesn't need a lot of water (like... once every two weeks. Maybe. Even I can handle that!) So with the snow