Male poses are some of the more difficult portraits to set up. When you take pictures of men, they’ll want to look masculine and often seem at ease in front of the camera.
The key to successful male poses, then, is first finding ways to get him to relax in front of the camera and secondly, reassure him so that he trusts you enough to let his guard down.
Portrait photographer Kelly Weech reveals her best tips and tricks for male poses that won’t disappoint, as well tried and tested advice on how to put your male subjects at ease in front of the camera.
On this page we’ll discuss some of the general – but always necessary – photography tips to consider before and during your shoot. And then on the following pages we’ll look at some specific male poses and explain why they work.
Tips for ensuring the best male poses before and during your shoot
- Ensure you tell him what you want him to wear, where the photographs will be taken and for what purpose. Men like to know what is expected of them.
- Reassure him and keep talking throughout the whole process about him. Ask him about his job, family life, hobbies, sport and anything that may help him to relax.
- Sometimes I tell people that the first few frames are just test shots to get them to relax and ease the pressure. This is often when I get some of my best shots.
- Good posture is essential for any male portrait. Remember shoulders back, chest up and stomach tight – classic male poses always incorporate these elements.
- Try to find out his insecurities, whether this is his belly, arms, height, and come up with male poses which distract from these. Pay special attention that they are not being emphasised in the photographs.
- With men you can often get away with shooting straight on to enhance broad shoulders.
- Get nervous subjects to look away from or past the camera. The hardest thing is to look directly into the camera because the eyes say so much about how the subject is feeling.
- Get men to bite their teeth together slightly to help define a strong jaw line. However, do not let them bite too hard as this can easily be overdone and look award in the image.
- If the subject is struggling to know what to do with their hands, get them to put them into their pockets, behind them or hang them loosely by their side. Be careful if they put hands on their hips as this can be a very feminine pose.
- Remember to change angles – shoot high and low, and landscape and portrait formats to get variations of the same male poses.
- For more informal shots get him to roll his sleeves up or take his jacket off and hang it loosely over his shoulder.
- Have fun and do not put any pressure on a shoot. Men can sometimes be more self critical than women so get a variety of different shots.
PAGE 1: Tips for before and during your shoot
PAGE 2: What do they like to do?
PAGE 3: Incorporate a prop
PAGE 4: Find their natural position
PAGE 5: Shoot from a low angle
PAGE 6: Go close for expressions