Manual Settings Cheatsheets
Want to know what settings to use for the best shot?
Download our easy to follow cheatsheets detailing the manual settings you need for different shots & locations!
When it comes to male poses, quite often they aren’t the most comfortable modeling in front of the camera. That applies especially in the case of teen guys.
That’s why it makes a huge difference to simply direct them because on the whole, they just want you to tell them what to do!
So together with our CLG grad and family photographer Kellee Kromarek Hann, we’ve come up with 9 cool poses for men, and some handy prompts that will make your work easier too.
This position is at the top of my guy poses list as it allows men to do something with their hands. If during the photoshoot their hands are just dangling on the sides, they will end up feeling awkward, and this in return will show on their body language and posture.
So, ask them to put one or both hands in their pockets. This will make them look more relaxed and natural immediately.
Don’t forget the back pockets too, for a different look.
Vary your frames from close up to wide or landscape to portrait for some same pose variety.
When they’re not leaning or holding onto something (as you’ll see in some of the next poses to come), ask them to shift their weight onto one side for a more relaxed look. This will also add some more interesting lines to their body form.
This is another one of the classic poses for males because having something to lean on, will help them relax in terms of body language. People feel much more comfortable when they have something to do with their body, other than just standing there.
When posing for a picture, ask them to tilt their head ever so slightly towards your camera, and the overall look will look more engaged and relaxed, but also will make the man appear more attractive.
Prop him in a corner, arm up, hand in pocket, leaning in.
This time he’s just leaning on his back instead of on the side, which is a really easy way to get variation.
Most importantly is to keep an eye on his posture and ensure he’s pushing his bottom into the wall and not leaning with just his upper back.
Once again, when shooting men photography, sitting gives the man something natural to do with his body, which will help him relax.
Have him place his elbows on his thighs and put his weight on them. This will naturally encourage him to lean forward toward your lens for that added swag.
Having him leaning against something when he’s seated is particularly comfortable and will help create really relaxed shots.
Make the most of this male pose and get variation by shooting close and wide, portrait and landscape or down the side and straight on. You could also try getting down low and shooting at their eye level, then stand up and shoot down while asking him to look up at you.
Don’t forget to give him something to do with his hands. One wrist on his raised knee, the other on his thigh, with the hand dangling on the inside of his leg.
Ask him to sit on the ground and to put his elbows on his knees, with the hands either clasping or dangling casually in between.
This time, sitting on something, whilst leaning against a wall, ask him to raise just one knee. Super casual and comfortable, this male pose looks great.
Use side lightning for some beautifully directional shadows to add depth and elevate your photos to something special.
Related: Directional Light Portraits
On stairs, one knee raised up and the elbow resting on his thigh.
I see lots of poses for guys that involve crossed arms, and sometimes this hand position can appear defensive. By shooting him side on and leaning, works much better in this instance.
Shoot down the wall by using a very wide aperture to blur the image out. It will help isolate him well and ensure that the wall doesn’t form any distractions.
This is a great standing pose variation from the usual standing, leaning on the wall, or hands in pockets male pose.
Get him to rest on one of his feet for balance, with the elbows on his knees and leaning his weight slightly to one side. This will give a more natural, relaxed look to your portrait photos.
That being said, most men will naturally fall into that photography pose when kneeling as they work to maintain balance.
When posing guys portrait pictures in this way, it’s a more flattering shot.
Especially when shooting outdoors, you can mix it up by adding some walking shots to your must get list of poses for guys. Place yourself in front of your photo target and move in the same time with him.
If the guy moves towards you, use the continuous focus mode on your camera to ensure your auto focus recomposes on his face. Also be sure to use a shutter speed of at least 1/320 to freeze any motion.
Related: How to Focus on a Moving Subject
Stairs add interest, frame your subject and give a sense of movement to any pictures of men. They also give your guy something to do with his body which makes sense to him.
Try capturing them posed on the stairs, sitting or moving up or down towards you.
Try some golden hour shooting for a warm, dreamy feel.
Related: Dramatic Light Portrait Techniques
Bring a dynamic feel to your images by looking for some interesting outdoor locations.
Encourage him to look around, look at the ground, look over his shoulder, tilt his chin down and look up at your lens with his eyes only, etc.
Whatever you can do to keep him moving will go a long way to keeping his expressions natural, and give you more variety in your shots.
Think about your angles and perspective. This was shot from down low which was the best way to show off that urban backdrop, and the angle created some interesting diagonal lines.
Doorways are a fantastic way to frame your subject.
Always use negative space purposefully. In this shot it was included to show off those fantastic hard light shadows created by the window light. Additionally Kellee’s subject is framed nicely by the wall, in a soft, flattering light.
The narrow lanes between buildings offer an awesome opportunity for beautiful, rich natural light, while the surrounding darkness will frame your subject beautifully.
This male poses guide would be incomplete without some handy prompts to help your dude relax!
On the whole, many subjects are shy and just want you to tell them what to do. But rather than saying “do this and smile”… you’ll help your subject relax and get much more natural photos if you give them prompts that draw out some natural smiles and laughter. It will also go a long way to helping them relax their body too.
Try to make a connection first before you even start taking photos. Kellee says that she usually warms them up by asking them about their future plans, and what their interests and hobbies are. She says she will also joke around and act silly as much as possible to set the tone for a relaxed vibe right from the get go.
Start by getting them into any of the above poses and tell them what to do with their hands. Then try these prompts:
Big MWAHH to Kellee for her images, if you want to check out more of her work, you can find her at Soul Tree Photography Studio.
If you’re confident in manual mode and ready to delve deeper and stretch your tech and creative skills, our Advanced Photography Course is for you! We’re starting soon… jump onto our wait list and we’ll notify you when we go on sale!
JOIN the Free 5 Day Mini Course
5 Days, 5 Videos Lessons = Photos You'll LOVE!
Learn How to Use Your DIGITAL Camera!