male models photos poses

Smart Posing Tips to Capture Perfect Male Portrait Photographs

For anyone who is used to photographing females, shooting male models photos poses can be an intimidating task. The entire atmosphere on the photography set might feel different if you are about to photograph a male.

For starters, it is important to get into why this is so. And an understanding of these reasons might actually help you de-construct male models photos poses.
It is no surprise that women and men are different from each other.

When they come to be photographed, they come in with different expectation, goals and images attached to them already. The trend of the day dictates that female portrait photoshoots usually revolve more around fashion and glamour. Hence, photographing them involves focusing more on their beauty, makeup, clothes and accessories.

This might not be the case with male portrait photography. Unless the photoshoot is for a fashion label, male portrait photoshoots rarely emphasize clothing, accessories or enhanced beauty.

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Moreover, there are different stereotypes attached with both the genders that your clients might prefer highlighting in their distinctive photoshoots. Women can get away with both feminine and slightly masculine looks. However, generally, it is demanded that they be portrayed as curvy, stylish figures with flawless beauty.

On the other hand, the case with male photography is entirely the opposite! It is preferred that they be portrayed as rugged, confident, fit and absolutely masculine beings. The focus in male portraits is more on edgy angles rather than body curves. And almost all your clients, in this case, might actually opt for a raw and disheveled look rather than a pretty, neat and put together look.

Based on this, and interestingly, your commercial clients may want a different look from the male and female portraits they’ve assigned you, even if both are intended to advertise the same product or service.

In line with this stream of thought, many clients would come to you for male portrait photographs with certain objectives in mind. Being a good professional, it is your first and foremost duty to make them feel comfortable and understand their objectives fully before getting on with the assignment.

It is only then that you can work towards determining the posing for you male portrait assignment.

Furthermore, before you actually get on with the photoshoot, it is important to get to know the male model a bit. You should make him feel comfortable and welcomed on the set and should get to know his personality a bit. This way when the time comes for him to pose, you could help him let loose and guide him towards appropriate poses.

Knowing all these essentials will actually help you lay some ground rules during the photoshoot. It will also aid you in getting an in-depth understanding of classic male models photos poses while at the same time allowing you to get creative with the poses and introduce variations.

Most posing guides usually revolve around women. And those that do talk about male models photos poses do not explain the theory behind these poses. This guide is here to help you understand the rationale behind these poses so you can pick and choose the one that suits your goals best.

However, before we go into the actual guidelines for posing, there are some general tips that we would like to give you to help you better position and pose your subject so that you are able to capture those perfect male portraits.

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General Tips On Male Models Photos Poses

Closeness to the camera: Any object that is closer to the camera automatically looks bigger. Remember this while you take photos. This will help you emphasize certain features that might be essential in achieving the perfect look for a male portrait.

For example, in male portraits it is common to highlight the torso or chest as it makes the portrait look more masculine. This control over the proximity to the camera will allow some flexibility with regards to the poses and will help you bring any alterations that you might deem fit.

Lens: A longer lens can actually make the object look smaller while a shorter lens enhances the depth of the picture. So experiment with different lenses to see which one would help achieve the desired results.

Once you have finalized a lens, plan the male models photos poses accordingly. Doing so in advance will help save time as well.

Guide: It is very important as a photographer to guide your subject regarding poses while simultaneously photographing him quickly. Just tell your model to change poses and how exactly they should change them if you don’t like a particular pose.

At the same time keep on snapping their pictures. Don’t stop! You never know which pose you might like and what might work. You don’t want to spend several minutes on each pose getting it right down to the minutest detail. That will only waste time and will make the pose look unnatural and almost fake.

Be aware: When working with male models you need to realize that they are humans too and they actively feel while going through the shoot. They are not just some passive objects that will just lay where you place them.

You need to empathize and be aware of their insecurities. Yes! It’s not only females who are insecure. For instance, if a male model is bald, he might feel a little insecure about showing his head in the photographs.

As a photographer it is your job to emphasize the good features and try to curb or hide any that are unflattering or the ones that the model is not comfortable exposing.

Don’t ask him to stand straight like a zombie: You should encourage the male model to not just stand straight with his hands on the side but to actually cross his arms or use them to hold his jacket or tie or whatever other accessory that can be of use.

For example, for the portrait of a groom, you can ask the groom to hold his cufflinks or adjust his tie. This way the photograph will have more of an impact and will look candid.

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This tips will generally allow you to give an overall good look to the photographs. They will give you more control and mastery over the poses. Also, they will help you help you manipulate a pose using just your camera gear, photography skills and plain human psychology.

Now moving on, we get to the specifics. The tips given below focus solely on the different ways you can use certain facial and bodily features to capture flattering photographs. These tips will also hopefully aid you in acquiring an understanding of the mechanics behind different pose so that you can alter each pose to your liking.

Tips to Enhance Different Features –

Facial Features:

1) The Jaw line:
It should come as no surprise that the jaw line is considered the ultimate representation of manliness. And since that is the representation most male models and clients typically want, it is your responsibility to make sure that jaw line appears angular and sharp in the pictures. You can request the subject to pull their chin down.

This will highlight the chin and will simultaneously hide the neck and any double chin that might exist. If the double chin is too much to be hidden by a slight chin-out pose then ask the person to use his hands in the pose in such a way that his hands hide the double chin instead. For example, you could ask the male model to rest his chin on his fist.

Moreover, you can even play around with shadows to make the chin look as sharp as possible. Just be careful not to blend the chin with the neck and make sure that its boundary stands out from the neck.

2) The Eyes:
Ask you subject to squint slightly. By squint we mean that they close their eyes partly, raising the lower lids to give even wide eyes a narrower, focused look. As a general rule, wide, doe eyes are not the way to go if you are trying to achieve that manly look since these might make the photograph look more adorable than manly. Narrow eyes add intensity and mysteriousness to the male models photos poses.

If your male model has one eye smaller than the other, which is a very common phenomenon, and you want to make both the eyes look the same size, you could position him in such a way that smaller eye is closer to the camera. As mentioned before, anything closer to the camera will look bigger and this will equalize the effect and size of both eyes.

In another case, if your male model has naturally drooping eyes and you want to make them look a little more awake, you can take the shot from a higher angle. This will force them to gaze up and their eyes will automatically open up a little more in the process, giving you that perfect shot you wanted.

3) The Head:
Discourage your male model from tilting his head towards the camera because that gives an overall cute, feminine vibe to the picture. Instead persuade him to either keep the head straight or tilt it a little away from the camera (but not too much).
Furthermore, if your model has an unusually big forehead or has bald spots then shooting from a lower angle should be your way to go. This will take the focus away from the forehead or any bald spots and will emphasize other favorable features.

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Bodily Features:

4) The Shoulders:
The ideal male body type is one that has a V shape, meaning it’s broader at the shoulders and thinner at the waist. Since many clients desire such a look, as a photographer it is your job to make the shoulders appear as broad as possible.

So ask your model to square his shoulder as much as he can and lean in towards the camera. This will accentuate the shoulders because bringing the shoulders towards the camera will make them look instantly bigger.

5) The Waist:
As mentioned before, you want the waist to look thinner in portraits. To slim the waste down, do not fit it into the camera frame. Contrary to this, try to lean the shoulders in, and the waist away from the camera.

Getting the waist a little further away from the camera in this case will make it look thinner because any object that is at a little distance from the camera automatically looks smaller.

6) Posture:
No amount of words are enough to emphasize how important a good posture is in capturing the perfect male photos. All those male models photos poses will go to waste if you don’t have the right posture to complement those poses. So stand up tall, keep your shoulders wide but relaxed and suck that tummy in.

7) Legs:
If your model is standing you could ask them to cross their legs at the shin level. But be sure to request them to put the entire weight of their body on the leg in the back. This will make your model look more relaxed.

Alternatively, you could ask them to keep their legs shoulder width apart or to lean against the wall, bend the leg that is closest to the camera and place it higher on the wall. All are flattering poses for male.

However, if your male model is going to be sitting down then ask them to put the ankle of leg over the knee of the other. You should be photographing them slightly from above. This will make the overall photograph seem more natural.

Hopefully, these tips will help you guide your male model to strike the perfect poses. These tricks will most definitely add more versatility to the classic male portrait poses and will help you gain more control over the poses as well. So follow these simple tips and get ready to make your mark as a portrait photographer!