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How to Pose Male Models

How to Pose Male Models

I have discussed how to do General Posing as well as Female Model posing, so this is a continuation of the posing guides, except this one is for male models. I personally consider male models harder to pose, simply because they have a completely different posing set than female models. Unlike female models you really have to be variable when shooting men, since male models can vary so widely in body structure, but most poses are designed for a general masculine visage. Here are some tips, tricks, positions, and poses for shooting men that should help:

1) Consider body structure, along with personality.
This is probably the number one problem I’ve seen photographers, including myself, struggle with. You have to strongly consider the physical appearance of a male model, but take their personality into consideration when shooting them, meaning that virtually every single male model you shoot will never be posed the same. For example, if you have a broadly built football player and a lanky nerdy guy, you definitely can not shoot them the same. However, while the football player’s size and structure lends well to traditional knelled portraits, if he is an advent video game player he may actually have a more relaxed laid back demeanor, meaning that posing him strictly in masculine poses would look pretty unnatural. Finding a medium here is key. For example, you could place the football player in a chair and have him relaxingly lean forward, almost like he is playing a game.

2) Men are Masculine.
It doesn’t matter what the sexual orientation, body size, or other characteristics of your model are. He is a man, and he has male features, meaning that you will have to take a masculine approach to even the most flamboyant model. Simple adjustments to posing can help provide a more accented pose. For most male models, having the head tipped slightly towards the back shoulder, or a straight forward look will accent the masculine features of the model.

A straight forward look, with a slight body turn, creates a very flattering pose for most men. Image by No One Famous Studios.

3) Straight, sharp lines.
Just as women as typically psychologically drawn to smooth curves, men are drawn to straight sharp lines. Keeping this in mind while posing, or even choosing backgrounds. Having models cross their arms, keep joints at either 45, 90, or 180 degree angles, and using either the straight forward or back head tilt will create more flattering images accenting the male physiology.

Using sharp, straight lines in both the background, prop, and model this image becomes very flattering and accented. Image by No One Famous Studios.

4) Shoot the eyes.
Considering most men have short hair, you cannot reliably rely on the hair parting trick to determine which side your model considers his best side. What you can do in it’s place however is consider the eyes. Most people have one eye that is smaller than the other, if only by a fraction. The smaller eye should typically be closer to the camera when you shoot, so that your model’s eyes look relatively the same size. Keep this in mind when you are deciding which way to have your subject turn.

5) Do not straight shoot your model.
Men tend to have a broader and flatter chest and shoulders than women, but this does not mean that they will look any better being shot straight on. In fact, if you shoot a male model straight on you can end up making their entire body seem out of proportion. Instead stick with basic body turns, such as 1/3, 2/3, and 3/4 turns this will not only keep proportions of your model, but also create accenting solid lines out of their own physique.

2 Comments

  1. Great! Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a lot for the insightful tips and keep up the good work : )
    Alex

  2. Not all men are masculine. Very subjective term, because there are all points along the gender spectrum.

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