Senior pictures mark a big milestone in life, but getting the right poses for a boy’s senior pictures can be difficult, especially if they are awkward around the camera. We’ve put together a great selection of the best senior picture ideas for guys as your inspiration, so you can shoot your next boys’ senior pictures session with confidence and capture great shots that will be treasured forever.

These ideas are simple, but they do work. Why overcomplicate things, right?

Senior Picture Ideas for Guys

  1. Get to Know Them
  2. Give Them Style Options
  3. Place Their Hands in Their Pockets for the Timeless Classic Pose
  4. Direct Him to Look Away from the Camera
  5. Don’t Forget to Include Standard Headshots
  6. Get Him to Wash His Hands
  7. Final Thoughts

#1. Get to Know Them

senoir picture ideas for guys
Photo by Eric Shepherd

Before you start a boy’s senior pictures shoot, you need to create a relaxed and fun environment to get the best out of your subject. Young guys can be shy, especially around a photographer, but the key is not to force them out of their comfort zone. Props are one way of making your subject feel less awkward, and it gives them something to do with their hands to make posing easier.

The best way to get great senior picture ideas for guys is to have a chat with them before the shoot. You can learn about their personalities and what they are interested in, and tailor your photos and techniques to suit them.

[Related Reading: Keeping it Simple: Interview with High School Senior Photographer Michelle Moore]

Senior Picture Ideas for Guys #2. Give Them Style Options

ideas for senior guys pictures
Image by Rob Flora

Most boy’s senior pictures get taken because Mom wants them, and Mom tends to choose the outfit she wants her son to be photographed in. Most guys wouldn’t choose to wear the typical clean-cut outfit that moms like, so tell them to bring a personal favorite outfit or one that fits the location you’re shooting in as well as Mom’s choice.

Keep the Mom outfit part of the shoot fairly short, and let your guy know that he can express his personality through his personal clothing choice later in the shoot. In other words, eat your veggies before you get dessert!

#3. Place Their Hands in Their Pockets for the Timeless Classic Pose

Posing example from the Complete Posing Workshop

What’s one of the biggest challenges in creating senior picture ideas for guys? Coming up with good male poses for them. Not every male pose will work with every senior, but the classic casual hands in pockets pose usually works well for most.

Try to avoid having your guy stand rigidly and staring straight ahead into the camera. Make it more natural-looking by having them shift their body in different angles, or get them to lean against a wall. Get your senior to put his fingers in his pockets with thumbs left outside, and the palms of his hands facing his legs.

[Related Reading: An Underwater Look at Senior Portraits]

Senior Picture Ideas for Guys #4. Direct Him to Look Away From the Camera

Photo by Cole Wyland on Unsplash

You don’t always need to get front-on shots with eye contact when it comes to a boy’s senior pictures. Many people don’t feel comfortable staring into a camera lens, and the ‘direct gaze with the huge grin’ look is somewhat dated now.

Profile shots can look great, and give a serious and dignified look to your subject. Headshot backgrounds that work well with this pose are outdoor landscapes, sunsets, or plain colored backdrops.

#5. Don’t Forget to Include Standard Headshots

Example image from the Headshot Photography Workshop

While it’s great that there are modern alternatives when it comes to senior picture ideas for guys, graduation photos, and most other portrait photography, don’t forget the standard headshot photo if you feel like your subject will suit it. Moms like seeing their sons with a winning smile and looking directly into the camera, and Mom and Dad will probably want at least some photos done in this traditional style.  Bear in mind that this pose will work better with some seniors than with others, so don’t force the issue if your guy just isn’t happy with doing it.

[Related Reading: Shallow Depth Of Field Portraits | How To Enhance Shallow DOF Effect In-Camera]

#6. Get Your Senior to Wash His Hands!

I don’t mean literally, though! This male posing tip is little-known but very effective, especially for shy guys. All he has to do is stand tall with his feet in a semi-wide stance, and hold his hands together over the middle of his stomach, maintaining a few inches between hands and body. Get him to rub his hands together as if he was washing them with soap, and ask him to look in a variety of directions while doing this.

This is a great idea for a boy’s senior pictures, and it can give them a big confidence boost for the rest of the photo session because they are sure to like the images taken using the handwashing technique.

[Related Reading: Tracks are for Trains, Not Senior Photos]

Senior Picture Ideas for Guys: Final Thoughts

Young man leans toward camera while standing in front of a small plane
Photo by Shawn Lee | Full feature here

Don’t forget to give encouragement and affirmations throughout the shoot, and they should leave feeling that everything went brilliantly. Try to avoid showing your senior the back of your camera because there’s bound to be a few duff shots in there, and seeing them can dent their confidence in how they look.

If all else fails and you’re not getting the shots you need, get your senior to move around, or take a walk outside with him. Get him to walk towards you while you shoot, or if he’s sporty get him to run or jump while you shoot in continuous burst mode with a high shutter speed to capture the movement and energy. Don’t worry too much about bright sunlight while shooting – if it’s unavoidable you can correct portraits taken in harsh sunlight later on in post-processing.

That completes our quickfire tips on taking boys’ senior pictures, and we really hope you came away with at least a few senior picture ideas for guys to use in your next session.