Posing men is not necessarily the harder of the sexes to direct. If you’re taking portraits of a guy for the first time, then we’ve got some really helpful tips to get him (and you) relaxed and looking fantastic.
Photographing guys takes the same level of consideration when shooting women. Look online, places such as Pinterest have boards and pins for creative and flattering poses for men.
Make yourself a board or take lots of screenshots to build up a little reference library to check out during your shoot. If the aim is to make your subject look comfortable then think about what relaxes you. Chairs, beds and walls are really good fixtures to sit down on or lean against – relaxing the shape of the body and in-turn relaxing their expressions.
During your shoot show your subject the poses you want to recreate and even demonstrate them too, especially if they’re a novice at modelling too. Feel free to elaborate on those poses too with little tweaks to head direction and hand positions.
As with any portrait it’s important to talk, praise, review and praise (again) your subject during a shoot. Bear in mind that they may have never modelled before so they could be as nervous as you (even if they don’t display it outwardly).
Find common ground to talk about – sports, family, holidays, technology etc and use that as a thread throughout the shoot to refer back in between shots.
Explain to them what you are doing if you’re changing lenses, adding in lights or changing settings on the camera. This not only stops dead air, but it involves them in the process and stops them worrying they’re doing something wrong.
With that in mind, share your shots with them too (obviously just the stronger ones). Show them how good they look to keep that energy and confidence in them.
Let’s go through 5 simple poses that you can use when photographing men. These are great template poses to build on and elaborate with once you’ve mastered the basics.
As we mentioned earlier, walls are a simple background to lean your male model up against. Get them to slump their body into the wall and put on foot up against it for that casual feel. Shooting directly towards the model and consider side angles to create a lovely depth of field.
Remember we mentioned using chairs earlier? Well this is how. Ask your guy to sit down, lean back and cross one leg over another for that chilled out vibe.
He could be scrolling through his phone, checking the time or reading a book – either way keeping him distracted from the camera is really candid. Though you can make it more engaging by leaning them forwards looking straight down the lens too.
Firstly, bear in mind the flexibility of your subject before suggesting this idea. Without having to use props ask them to crouch down to the floor and look past the camera. Get them to spread their feet so they distribute their weight and don’t wobble. It’s more of a fashionable pose so you need to make sure that your subject fits the bill.
What an ideal pose for guys in the business. The typical power stance simply requires the appropriate setting (office), outfit (suit) and angle (low) to set off that grand businessman look.
Get down low using a wider lens around 30mm to capture the surroundings as well as most of the subject. Get your male model to fold his arms and either look towards the camera or off-frame for that engaging or disengaging feel respectively.
If you want to add a sense of movement to your male portraits, then consider a simple walk. Ask your guy to take a few steps across the shot and shoot in burst mode to capture numerous shots. Look for the one where the motion looks natural and fluid.
As with photographing women, it’s important to flatter your subject where possible.
Getting up high when your subject is conscious of stomach areas will focus the attention on the face and disguise the main body. Use folded arms to hide the chest area and use close crops to cut out parts of their body they aren’t comfortable with.
High angles can also hide double chins if your subject’s face is a little rounded. If you don’t consider body type and insecurities beforehand it’s not always possible to correct this when it comes to editing. Get it right in camera first.
Guys aren’t the most forthcoming when it comes to having their photo taken, especially if they aren’t models. Put yourself in their shoes as many photographers get nervous being on the other side of the camera too.
Respect, flatter and relax are the main key elements to any good portrait.
Did this guide to posing for male photos help? We’d love to know. If you’re an iPhotography member show off your efforts in the gallery.