Senior pictures provide a lifelong keepsake for an important milestone in life. Unfortunately, capturing the perfect portrait is no easy task – especially when photographing senior guys. Many senior guys end up acting reserved around the photographer’s camera. With so many options, how do you know which pose will look great and accurately reflect the subject’s personality?

To help create photos that will be treasured for life, we’ve created the complete guide to senior portrait tips for guys:

Tips for Taking Great Senior Photographs

Are you a professional photographer looking to capture the best photos for a high school senior guy? As you might have already noticed, senior guys aren’t always comfortable guys posing in front of the camera. Compared to senior girls, senior guys typically don’t take as many selfies for social media. They’re often unsure of what to do and how to pose for pictures.

As a senior photography pro, you might have to do a little more work with senior guys than you would with other clients. Here’s a closer look at some tips and techniques to deliver the best senior picture poses:

Get to Know Your Guy

Creating a fun, relaxed environment is key to getting awesome senior pictures. Meet the guy – emotionally-speaking – where he is today regarding how to pose in senior pictures. Don’t try to force him out of his comfort zone too far and too fast with senior guys posing styles he’s not comfortable with.

For example, if he’s naturally shy, start him posing with some sideways shots, so he doesn’t have to stare directly into the camera. As he grows more comfortable posing around the camera, he’ll also feel more comfortable looking directly into it.  

Another effective way to ease a shy senior guy out of his shell is by using props. For example, if the senior guy is into sports, he might feel comfortable holding a football, baseball bat, or another item from his favorite game. Likewise, he might prefer posing next to his prized truck or with a beloved pet.

Of course, the best way to know what techniques to use is to know the guy’s interests and personality. Before posing begins, take a few moments to chat with the guy and learn about him. Even if you don’t have a long photo session planned, spend some time talking with your subject before you start shooting. You’ll wind up with the best photos that way.   

teenage boy holding books

Provide Style Advice

Before you even meet for the photoshoot, you want to give senior guys tips about what clothes to wear when posing for a picture. In most cases, senior guys should bring the following three types of outfits for their pictures:

  • Mom’s Favorite
  • Personal Favorite
  • Location Specific

Mom’s Choice

Let’s be honest: Most guys only pose for senior portraits because Mom is making them do it. Typically, the “Mom Look” is fairly traditional and clean-cut. Khakis and a button-up shirt are a popular combination.

Keep in mind the Mom Look probably isn’t the guy’s favorite. Keep this part of the photo session relatively short, and assure the guy that he’ll have plenty of opportunities to express himself on other pictures later.

Show His Personality

This is where the senior guy gets to showcase his personality. You never quite know what to expect here, so be ready to go with the flow. Some guys prefer a formal look, while others take a more casual approach. School-themed outfits are also popular, such as letter jackets, sports uniforms, and more.  

Find the Perfect Location

Try to coordinate the shooting location with the outfit. For example, if you’re shooting in nature, suggest a jeans and T-shirt combo. If you’re shooting in a more formal location, slacks and a sports jacket provide a solid compliment.

Capture Shots That Feel Like Him

Many people, especially many guys, tend to freeze up when it’s time to pose. However, when they don’t think about being photographed, they open up and appear natural. Keep your camera at the ready for candid pictures. Try to catch the subject when he’s laughing, smiling, and otherwise showcasing his personality.

Tips for Senior Portrait Poses for Guys

Now that you understand how to connect with the student during the session, it’s time to take some great shots. Keep in mind that not every pose works for every student. Here’s a closer look at the best senior picture ideas for guys, plus some info on when they work best:

Keep it Casual with Hands in Pockets

This classic pose looks great for almost every guy. The most popular pose of this type is when the guy puts his fingers into his pockets with his palms facing his legs and his thumbs hanging outside of the pockets.

Generally, you want to avoid a look where the student is standing straight ahead, with their hands in their pockets, staring directly into the camera. It’s a bit cliché. Instead, alter the look by shifting the subject’s body from different angles. Another excellent option is to have the subject lean against a wall.

The Thinker

With your hand under your chin, and a look of deep thought, this contemplative pose is a timeless classic. Keep in mind that the pose can appear a bit pretentious, so it’s perhaps the best choice for a student with a great sense of humor who wants to pose with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Get Some Profile Shots Looking Away

Of all our senior posing tips, this is one of the most overlooked. You don’t always need front shots!

Guys might not feel comfortable staring directly into the camera – and that’s okay. The days of staring directly into the camera with a giant grin are long gone. Today, side shots are commonplace and popular. A profile pic often looks dignified, serious, and contemplative. They look especially nice when shot against a sunset or outdoor landscape.

man sitting on wooden box

Don’t Forget to Smile

Of course, classic styles of posing still have their place. If your subject has a winning smile and is brimming with confidence, he might have no problem staring directly into the camera for a standard headshot. As a photographer, you don’t want to become so caught up in creating unique poses that you overlook some of the standard options, which might work best for certain senior guys.

Change it Up with The Handwash

This is one of our most little-known senior posing tips, so even veteran photogs should pay attention here.

If your senior guy isn’t opening up around the camera, here’s a simple technique that often results in a great photo. It’s often called Lathering Up or The Handwash. Here’s what to tell senior guys to construct this simple, but effective, pose:

  • Stand up tall with your feet in a semi-wide stance
  • Put your hands together at mid-stomach
  • Maintain a space of a few inches between your hands and stomach
  • Rub your hands together as if you’re washing them with soap.
  • Look in various directions such as down, left, right, and up

As the photographer, play around with various angles. You should have no problem creating photos that look serious, contemplative, and sophisticated.

This pose is a great one to do early in the session because it looks great, it’s simple to set up, and it can really help boost the senior guy’s confidence level for the rest of the session.  

Get Creative with Frame Hands

This is one of our newest posing tips. You’ll find examples all over social media, especially Instagram.

While this one is more popular for girls, it’s also a fun option for senior guys. The idea is that the senior cups his hands around an object in the background. Thanks to a trick of perspective, the senior in the finished photo uses his hands to frame the sun, moon, some local landmark, or anything else interesting.

Make Time to Lean

Easy, simple, and timeless, the wall pose is a solid option for pretty much all guys. Lean against the wall casually with your feet slightly out, so your back and shoulders support your weight. Adjusting the position of your feet does impact the position of your upper body, so experiment with different foot placement.

Look for unique, interesting backgrounds that photograph well, such as brick walls or stained glass windows.  

headshot of young man with highlighted hair

Lean and Relax

This pose is similar to the wall pose but with added pizzazz. Guys lean with their backs against a wall, gate, fence, or similar structure. They should stick their arms out perpendicularly and bend them upwards at the elbow, so their hands are level with their heads. This pose looks best when your back is against something open, like a chain-link fence, so you can wrap your fingers around the opening.

Keeping Arms Crossed

Another masculine option for senior guys, standing with crossed arms is a popular choice among larger, taller guys. It’s a strong, confident way of guys posing.

However, you don’t want it to look too intimidating. Make sure you keep some space between your upper arms and the sides of your body to create a subtle openness.

Ditch the Rigid Poses

This pose is all about casual cool. Senior guys sit cross-legged, but the senior guys posing details make a difference. Make sure the student isn’t slouched over too far. Likewise, they shouldn’t sit up perfectly straight, either, as that looks too formal. Sit with your body tilting slightly to the side and slightly forward for the most photogenic result.

Lounging Around

Casually cool, the Lounge is another great all-purpose choice suitable for most senior guys. The senior sits against a wall with one leg bent out forward, and another bent at the knee. Rest an arm across the bent leg to add a touch of easy-going charm.

The Quintessential Boxer Pose

One of the most masculine poses is the Tough Guy. The senior stands straight forward with his fists raised in a boxing pose. With this pose, senior guys posing should have a slight smile, so the pose appears fun instead of intimidating.

Use Sports Equipment as a Prop

Although seniors in high school are well on their way to adulthood, senior pictures are still a great place to showcase a youthful, fun side. Popular examples for high school seniors include senior guys posing while kicking a soccer ball, riding on a skateboard, or throwing a football.

The Simple and Casual Squat

The Squat is an energetic, masculine pose perfect for senior guys. However, it’s a bit more than a simple squat. Start by squatting, but then place your arms casually over each leg, with your hands clasped in the middle.

Drape a Jacket Over the Shoulder

With this pose, the high school senior slings a jacket over his shoulder for a look that’s both casual and sophisticated. This picture often looks great, both forward-facing or when senior guys look over their shoulders. Senior guys posing in this way works well with both formal sports jackets and high school letter jackets.

Final Thoughts

Keep these guys posing tips and high school senior picture ideas for guys in mind during your next senior portrait shoot. You’ll take your senior pictures to the next level!

man sitting on yellow metal structure

Although they don’t mean to be, many senior guys are difficult to photograph well. Fortunately, the tips and techniques above will help you capture great senior pictures, even if your senior subject is shy around a camera.

The best senior picture poses are those that help them relax, so they appear comfortable, confident, and natural. Your senior subject will have photos they can treasure for a lifetime!