7 Ways to Pose Men for Portraits

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Posing men for portraits can be harder than it looks. Whether it’s a professional male model or just a male friend who agreed to be your subject, there’s something about shooting portraits of men that can be challenging for beginner photographers.

Maybe it’s because most of the fashion and celebrity photos we are inundated with feature female subjects. Or maybe it’s because men are just a bit more self-conscious posing for photographs than women? Whatever the reason, there’s a good solution to this problem: give your male subjects the right poses and your portraits will improve immensely.

In the below video tutorial, the photographers at COOPH share seven methods for posing male models. COOPH’s seven tips for better male portraits include advice about where your subject should put their feet, what props to work with, and different ways to get strong and powerful images while working with amateur and professional male models.

As with most of COOPH’s tutorials, including the one we shared last month with smartphone photography tips, the video at the bottom of this post is mostly a visual affair. Here’s a rundown of COOPH’s seven helpful methods for posing men for portraits demonstrated in the video.

#1 Boys Need Toys

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Keep your model’s hands busy by giving them a prop such as a basketball. Make sure you give them clear directions on how to interact with the props but also let them have fun.

#2 My Friend, The Wall

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Leaning on things, such as a wall, will make your model feel more relaxed resulting in a less stiff portrait. Have your model try different arm positions while leaning to find one that looks most natural. Show them what works and what doesn’t on the screen on back of your camera.

#3 Time for a Walk

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Let your model walk towards the camera to add a feeling of casual motion. Clothing can also be a prop when your model is walking. Take multiple shots to get the perfect moment.

#4 Let’s Pray

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Another way to avoid awkward hands is to have your model clasp them together in the praying gesture. This tip is simple, but it really works.

#5 Oh, My Head

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Get your model to hold their head or touch their neck or face. This gesture provides a natural framing device while creating angles in your portrait.

#6 Uneven Feet

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Add different levels for your model to put their feet while seated. This will create interesting angles and more points of focus in your portraits. Having your model lean on an elbow is another good trick.

#7 Backwards Chairs

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A turned chair is a classic setup for a portrait. Let you model lean over the chair and try some strange poses to get unique looks.

Check out the video below to see COOPH’s photographers demonstrate all these great posing tips. If you want more portrait photography advice, read this piece by professional photographer Jerry Ghionis with five easy tips for beautiful portraits. You should also check out this roundup with Digital Photo‘s top five most popular portrait photography tips.

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