Photo courtesy Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

Picture perfect: Photoshoot tips with Jeannie Frey Rhodes

If you’re like me, photoshoots can be stress inducing. Unlike some of my more photogenic friends, that red-carpet-ready gene seems to have passed right over me, leaving me with the unfortunate ability to always turn my bad side toward the camera without even noticing. However, taking photos is not just inevitable, it’s important.

On a mission to put an end to embarrassing photos, and instead put my best face forward, I reached out to Jeannie Frey Rhodes of Jeannie Frey Rhodes Photography. Check out her suggestions for winning a photoshoot of any kind below:

1. Wear what is most comfortable.

For Rhodes, the foundation upon which a successful photoshoot is built is clothes that make you feel confident. Rather than searching out something you think a model would wear, choose a look that speaks to who you are, and makes you feel the most yourself.

“The more comfortable you, the better the pictures will be,” she notes. “That said, darker colors are better. The photographer will lose details with white.”

2. Coordinate, don’t match.

Family portraits come across much better when everyone isn’t wearing the same thing—sorry to those people who are fans of the classic all-white beach photoshoots. In addition to making everyone in the photo act more natural, diversity in pattern and color creates depth and movement in the photo. However, in order to avoid an overly busy scene, make sure the outfits are at least coordinating in some way.

3. Let kids be themselves.

“They aren’t going to just sit there and be the perfect angels you want them to be,” says Rhodes with a laugh. “The pictures come out so much better when they’re being themselves.”

While it might be hard to relinquish control, Rhodes notes that sometimes chaos is just what a photoshoot needs. It allows everyone to loosen up, and the finished product will show the children’s personalities, which are the most important things to remember anyway.

4. Lean forward from the waist.

Just a tiny bit. Rhodes says this simple tweak makes all the difference, even though it can feel awkward. Another go-to for Rhodes is to never shoot head-on, and instead have subjects twist from the waist and do the same lean forward.

5. Keep it simple with babies.

“It looks best when it’s just the baby, no props,” says Rhodes. “The photo should be about the children, not the scene.”

In addition to a simplistic backdrop, Rhodes also advises opting out of collars, as they can be difficult to keep straight, as well as bringing the baby in for the shoot when they are at their best–i.e. after a nap or after eating.

6. Loosen up and dance.

Especially for solo shoots, this can be the saving grace. Rhodes says that taking the focus off of the person being photographed is the best way to get the winning photo. Play music or bring someone with you that makes you laugh, it will add to your experience and the finished product.

7. Bring your furry friends.

Last but not least, Rhodes’ number one rule is to always include your pets, if you have any. Furry friends tend to bring out the best in us, and that reflects in photos. In addition, why should they be left out of family portraits?

“I’m fluent in dog,” explains Rhodes. “When the dogs turn their heads or react to me, the people in the photo laugh and the fake smile fades away. That picture is dynamite.”

However, while these simple guidelines are a jumping off point, Rhodes says that when it comes to photoshoots, there are no rules. Just go in with a good attitude and the photos will turn out how they’re supposed to.

For more on Rhodes and her photography, visit her website here.