Trying to come up with new ideas for male poses? Here are some easy tricks for your next photography session!

If you have ever been in front of a camera yourself, you know that all of a sudden, you’re self conscious of a few things. The more you flatter and empower your clients (male or female), the more they will feel free to be themselves and loosen up in front of your camera. In the case of male posing, you want to make sure that your man is feeling the way he wants to feel! Does he want to portray strength, power, masculinity or does he want a friendlier, casual or more open photo! The FIRST trick to nailing male posing is to communicate! Male poses can be a little difficult sometimes, especially when you are more used to working with women! We are going to outline a few easy techniques for getting your male clients to look great and feel confident!

Start with building rapport!

Getting people to talk typically helps them loosen up! Spend the first five minutes explaining how the session will go, and lighten the mood (sessions can be really overwhelming for people who have never experienced a photoshoot)! If your client is leaving it ALL up to you in terms of posing get to know your client (as much as you can in a short amount of time), and choose posing that best suit his personality. Match the mood.

Flattering the male body.

male photography posing

We want to make sure (with any client) that they feel their best.  Capturing someone being themselves can be the most rewarding thing about being a photographer. Not only do we want to capture their unique personality, we want them to feel confident during a photo session. Start with making sure your male subject has good posture. If you notice him slouching during the shoot, say something like, “ok, great, now bring those shoulders back just a tad!” Encouragement during your session will be your best asset, and set the mood!

Look for a few things during your session. Men (in some cases) tend look better when they are square to the camera, verses a side view. Broad shoulders and a strong chin are the two things you want to make sure look good! Male or female, no one loves a double chin! AM I RIGHT? For more on flattering female poses, check out this awesome tutorial!

*Quick tip: ALWAYS, form your posing direction in a positive way!


As much as we love the casual look, everyone tends to look a little more professional when they dress up just a tad! In most cases, men are being photographed for headshots or professional portraits (like a couples session or their wedding).  In all of these instances, we want to encourage our male clients to put in the extra effort of dress for the occasion (unless their goal is specifically a casual look, which is TOTALLY fine).  Basically, we want to make sure that the client matches the mood of the photo they want.

If they are looking for corporate headshots, you may want to mention they should leave the ripped jeans at home.  However, if they want casual skateboarding photos for their new business, then the casual look fits the style. Make sure to communicate with your clients in every situation, and just to be sure, send a style guide mentioning these tips and tricks. Seriously, if they are anything like my husband, they need to be told to leave the stinky baseball hat at home.  Ok, now let’s get down to business!

Step 1: Start with a basic pose! Standing or Sitting.

male poses

This makes it easy, right? Have your subject either stand (with one leg slightly in front of the other) or sit. Sitting can be on a stool, chair, bench, desk, the ground etc! Look around and use the environment to your advantage! The more variety you use, the more options your clients will have to choose from.

Step 2: Move the hands and arms.

male posing

This seems simple enough, but slightly changing the arms and hands will make a huge difference in your photos. In this case, you really won’t need to change your location (which you may not be able to if you’re in a studio anyway)! This can give you a TON of different poses without even having move their feet!

Once you get your client(s) into a sitting or standing position, with their legs planted, you can start to vary their arm/hand positioning.

  • In the pockets.
  • Hand under the chin.

  • The hands can be crossed in front of the body.
  • On the hips.
  • Resting on a table!
  • Sitting casually on a prop.

Step 3: Alter the head position.

Another easy one, huh? So for example you can have your client change their arm/hand position and then have them look at the camera, look away, look at a prop of some sort (like a book), laugh, show-off their best model face, and a last but not least, a genuine smile! Or, like in the photo above, you can grab one mid-sentence.

Step 4: Change your angle and composition!

Having you subject in different parts of the frame always add an interesting element to any photo. The same goes for your male subjects!  If you’re in a studio, you can try the rule of thirds, and if you’re outdoors, try your typical compositional tricks like framing, layering, or changing your angle!

Try to combine these tips to create a great pose for any male. Remember, first pick if your subject will be sitting or standing. Next, choose where they should place their arm/hands. You can never go wrong with having your client place his hands in his pockets while standing! From there, ask him to change the placement of his head, from looking away to look straight at your camera! While he’s in this pose, get up close, back up, take a side shot or at a slight angle.  Before you know it, you’ll have a full gallery of images that will reflect their personality.  These tricks can all be used in engagement and wedding sessions with couples, in professional headshot sessions, or in family shoots! The goal is to alter your current posing flow slightly in a way that flatters your clients and helps them leave feeling great and loving their photos (and hopefully telling all of their friends)!