How To Dress for your Portraits

Since we now now how to take a great selfie portrait I have asked Vicky Smith from Vicky Smith Styling to give some advice on how to look your best for your photographs. Since the new year is the time for a ‘new you’ I thought this would be good timing.  Alongside her fashion advice I will give some tips on how to pose your body to get the best portrait. As a portrait photographer I work very hard with all my clients to find the best pose that suits their body shape. Everyone is different and there really isn’t a wrong way or a right way but there are certain do’s and don’t that work every time and some clever ways to hide bingo wings and double chins! Before we get onto that though a little update on whats happening in the Firetree world:

What’s Happening This Month:

January SALE!

15% Discount on all products.

This month I am having a January Sale on all my galleries past and present. If your gallery is not online just e.mail me and I will un-archive it free of charge so you can take advantage of the 15% discount. Just log in and use coupon code FIRETREE15 at the checkout. 🙂 To check if your gallery is online click HERE. Sale ends midnight on the 31st Jan.


I am currently booking THREE underwater shoots which are all live on the Events page of the website. The first one will be at the end of this month with a new swim school.  I am thrilled to be asked by The Active Baby Company to photograph their swimmers on the 18th January. The next two shoots are with Little Splashers Warwickshire on the 1st February and Little Splashers Leicestershire on the 14th March.  I do advise to book early as the shoots get booked up very quickly as word gets out.  To book on any of the shoots you must already be swimming with the swim school.  Details and booking are HERE.

Coming soon:

Bluebell Wood Shoot.


My Bluebell wood shoot is always very popular. Over 50% of any portrait is background and the bluebells make a stunning backdrop to family and child portraits.  The sessions get booked up every year so it is a good idea to book early.

All the dates for this years shoot have now been finalised and I am now taking bookings for this years shoot.  There are three dates only, Tuesday 28th April, Saturday 2nd May and Mayday bank holiday monday 4th.  Session fees are £45 per child and £55 for a family booking. Products start with desk products from £100 and wall art from £150. The session fees are for the session only and do not include any products.  You can book the event HERE.

Guest Blog | Vicky Smith Styling:

There are a few dress rules and poses for making the most of your figure in a photograph.

Balance out your proportions.

Look in the mirror and reflect on your body shape, how is your body proportioned.  The trick is to balance these out.  The following advice will help you dress better and give you confidence so the next time the camera comes out you won’t be shy!

Wide Hips: Vicky’s Tip: wear a brighter or more patterned new top to draw peoples eyes upwards. My Tip: For your photograph never stand straight onto the camera, turn a little to the side keeping your shoulders at an angle to the camera. Also bend a knee, this will tilt the hips slightly giving your body a slight curve and will help thin the hips on camera. The lady in the picture below is a little too ‘front on’, if she tuned a little it would make a more pleasing portrait, kicking her leg out though has helped give her body some shape.

apple shapes
Wide hips/apple shape, choose a patterned top.

Large Chest: Vicky’s Tip: Wear brighter or more patterned trousers/skirt, to draw eyes down and avoid a high neck/jumper or boxy top as this will make your chest area look bigger, instead go for a V neck or open shirt. My Tip: If you can get your photographer to photograph you a little from above, try putting your hands on your hips and leaning into your photograph, this will take the focus away from the chest.

big boobs in V neck
Large chest, choose a V neck.

Flat Chested/Boyish figure: Vicky’s Tip: Avoid body con dresses and tops, this will just make you look 2D.  Instead, shirts, necklaces, waist coats, cardies and patterns will all deceive the eye that there are more contours than there actually are and fuller skirts make you look like you have hips. My Tip: You need to give your body a little shape, the ‘s’ is the shape you need to strive towards.  Try bending a knee or putting one foot behind the other to push the hips out of line.  Don’t hang ams down by your sides, put one hand on a hip, or both hands to give your portrait a little character.  Always tilt you head a little and avoid being completely ‘front on’ to camera.

disguise flat chested women
disguise flat chested women

Narrow Waist: Vicky’s Tip: If you are lucky enough to have a narrow waist, then emphasise it with a belt, or choose a dress that draws in the waste.  Tunic shapes are not good as they will hide this great asset. My Tip: Put your hands on your hips to accentuate your body shape.

images hourglass Kate Winslet
Accentuate the small waist.

Apple Shaped or Large Tummy: Opt for a top or dress with an empire line, or something that draws in under your bust but floats over your problem area, or a 60’s style duster coat to elongate your silhouette. My tip: Angle your tummy a little towards the camera so it is not in profile, you can also try turning your back to the camera for an over the shoulder portrait, just be careful of the neck here, these portraits are taken best from eye level.

Sagging Neck: Vicky’s Tip: If the skin on your neck and chest is starting to sag, or is lined, then wearing scarves and polo necks can actually draw attention to that area. Instead opt for a collar or a V neck shaped shirt can distract from that area. My Tip: Try and make sure your portrait has nice even, soft lighting, this will soften shadows which will draw attention to those lumps and bumps you want to hide. Have your portrait taken sitting down and rest your chin on your hand, this could look a little cheesy so play around with natural poses.  You could also try putting your hands behind your back, lean forward towards the camera a little and laugh.. naturally if you can, this disguise any double chins.

turkey neck

Pale Skin/Washed Out Features: Vicky’s and My Tip: Avoid harsh colours like blacks, whites and red and go for softer versions like berry, cream, french blue.  Darker tanned skins can take bolder colours.  I always recommend that you avoid bold, bright prints in photographs as these draw the eye away from the face.  Dress in earthy, pastel colours and avoid checks and spots at all costs.  Dress children in pastel shades like pale pink/moss green/soft yellow, these will be far more pleasing and timeless in a photograph than brash red polkadot or bright green stripes. Also avoid branded t-shirs as these will date a photograph and may not always be as cool as when you purchased it.

Yellow Teeth: Vicky’s Tip: Choose a brighter shade of lipstick. This will make them look whiter in comparison. My Tip: Be careful here, I would avoid red and too bright lipsticks for photography, I always edit discoloured teeth giving them a clean white appearance.  If you wanted your portrait in black and white and you have worn red lipstick, you may look a little like count Dracula with black lips!

pink lips

Finally from Vicky: Turn around and face your mirror, or ask your partner to look at you – where are their eyes drawn first? because that is where everyone looking at your photograph will be looking at too.  If it isn’t what you want them to look at, then re-look at what you are wearing. Don’t rely on your own opinion – lots of women see problems where there aren’t any!

If you want more fashion or styling advice you can contact Vicky at Vicky Smith Styling, visit her website HERE. She also has a great regular blog ‘We Lesser Mortals’  full of up-to-date fashion advice and tips.. well worth a read.

Some Extra Tips From Me:

Try to never face the camera straight on, this will always make the thinnest person look wide, also try and keep your shoulder turned a little away from the camera and drop the front shoulder.

Keep eyes to the camera but slightly tilt the head.

Make sure your photographer is not shooting below you, up at your face, this will make you look heavier.  The camera should always be at chest height or higher.

If you want to look slimmer don’t let your arms touch your body, create triangles between your arm and body, this will give definition to the arms and always bend your arms, even if one is hanging down.  Arms should also never be symmetrical make sure one is slightly higher than the other.  If you have bingo wings these tips are a must.

If you are sitting, move forward in the seat so you don’t slouch back against the chair or wall.

So thats it for me this week.

Next weeks blog I will be addressing all those frustrated people who had new cameras for Christmas and are still gazing helplessly at the manual……

Have a good week!

Kyra. x