What are your posing goals for men? Are you aiming to depict strength and masculinity, authenticity, beauty, fun and excitement? Regardless of the vibe or the desired end goal, having an arsenal of mens poses and a sound understanding of posing nuances for men will help you create more impactful imagery. Whether you are shooting lifestyle portraits or photographing the groom for wedding photography, the examples and tips in this article will help you direct your subjects for better poses for men.
In the following article, we’ll cover the following topics:
- 4 Basic Photo Poses for Men
- 6 Steps/Tips for Posing Men
Note: This article was originally written in 2017 and updated in 2022 for more complete informaiton.
4 Basic Photo Poses for Men
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From standing to group photos, here is our guide to photo poses for men:
Photo Poses for Men #1 | Standing Portrait
Starting with the standing portrait pose, we can direct our subject from the ground up. Adopt the Foundation Posing Framework to make posing and directing less daunting. Our first three steps to pose our subject through the standing portrait are:
- Feet First, Hip Distance Apart
- Toes Pointed Out
- A Straight Spine
Posture instantly changes the look of confidence and translates as a triple-threat: masculine, strong and powerful. In our Photographing the Groom workshop we cover more tips on posing men, capturing expressions, lighting, and composition in a less-than-perfect hotel room. See how to recreate these shots with some of our favorite gear.
Photo Poses for Men #2 | Sitting Portrait
Sitting poses can be complicated because typically our natural inclination is to hunch over. We’ll walk you through how angles can diminish or increase your client’s presence, building the pose from the ground up.
Begin at the feet and keep the toes pointed outward to refrain from the “potty” look. Shift to a stronger posture and varied hand placement to change our subject’s demeanor. Use camera angles to help your subject achieve presence in the frame; a slight adjustment in angle helps our subject become more proportional in the frame and changes the portrait from whimsical to editorial.
Focal length plays a huge role when photographing seated subjects because of distortion from specific lenses making objects closer to the camera appear larger and wider.
Photo Poses for Men #3 | Editorial Group Photo
High-fashion group photos provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your directing skills. Great direction is a catalyst to great posing which means that it might take a bit of coaxing to get your subjects to cooperate with this next pose. Since men can handle harsh shadows and brooding looks, pose them with more of a high-fashion/GQ theme in mind: think serious expressions, strong dominance in the frame, moodier tone, and dramatic light.
One way to make a portrait ‘editorial’ is through lighting like we cover in Lighting 201. Be sure to direct your subject through expressions as well to sell the image. Try a more serious expression and utilize shadow cast to chisel out his jaw and features.
Photo Poses for Men #4 | Fun Group Photo
Fun group photos provide the perfect occasion to interact and get those candid expressions. As the director, think about what is going to make the image most meaningful, and work in and out of the scene to tell an entire story. Not only will this translate as authentic, but you’ll be able to capture those truly candid moments through your interaction.
Posing Tips for Men | A Step by Step Guide
As you may expect, the Foundation Posing Framework begins at the feet, starting with natural but wider stances, toes pointed out and a straight spine. Stay tuned to learn how to direct men to have a stronger presence in frame. Generally, goals for posing men include expanding their presence and accentuating their masculinity. In 60 seconds, we’re going to share five simple posing tips for men to meet these goals and make sure the guys you photograph always look their best.
Watch the Full Video
Step 1 | Start with the Stance
Direct your male subjects to open their stance so that their feet are shoulder-width apart. It’s also important to point the toes slightly out for a more confident look. When the toes are pointed inward, subjects tend to look timid and sometimes even childish.
Step 2 | Shift the Hip to One Side
Next, ask your male subject to shift his hips to one side. When the hips are shifted to one side or the other, as opposed to placing equal weight on both feet, subjects look more relaxed and the pose feels more natural.
Step 3 | Take a breath in
When we inhale, our chest expands and our stomach contracts, making our chest appear broader and our stomach appear leaner. It also tends to straighten posture, so ask your subject to take in a breath before you snap the shot.
Step 4 | Relax the Shoulders
While we generally want to make our male subjects look more masculine, we don’t want them to appear stiff, so ask them to relax their shoulders.
Step 5 | Give the Hands Something to Do
Simply placing your subject’s hands into his pocket, or leaving one at rest while the other is placed into a pocket, will help eliminate the awkwardness of your subject looking like he doesn’t know what to do with his hands while posing for a photo.
The Before and After Result of the Posing Steps for Men
By making these simple posing adjustments, we can clearly see that we’ve accomplished our goals of expanding our subject’s presence and boosting his masculinity.
Step 6 | Play with Various Expressions
With additional adjustments of facial expressions and direction, as well as multiple crops to focus on different parts of your subject’s story, you can create cohesive, impactful images that will look great in an album spread or as part of a wall art cluster.
Boost your male, female, or group posing game with the Complete Posing Workshop, your guide to transform from photographer to director. Find more of the best education in photography, from mastering manual mode to lighting and posing your subjects, at SLR Lounge Premium.