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!

man posing with his arms crossed

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 photography poses, check out this awesome tutorial!

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*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 photography 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!

Male Posing Ideas

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

male sitting pose

This makes it easy, right? Have your male 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 male clients will have to choose from.

Leaning Against Something

Leaning against a wall, tree, or pole is one of the most natural male photography poses you can do. For this pose, you can instruct the man to lean against an object with his shoulder only. Ask the male model to shift his weight to one side using one leg to create a more relaxed look. 

Another option is for him to lean against a wall using his back. Once in place, the male model can look in different locations.

Sitting Male Poses

  • Sitting on a High Chair or Surface: This pose is a great way to make your male model look more confident and taller. With this pose, you can use the landscape as the background. Likewise, you can experiment with what works better with the man’s angles, whether it’s looking at the camera or into the distance.  
  • Sitting on the Floor or Stairs: This is one of the easiest male poses when doing an outdoor photo session. This shot can help you experiment with different perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Sitting in an Armchair or Unfolded Chair: This is a classic male pose for you to shoot various angles. You can also ask the male model to turn the chair around, sit relaxed on it, and look to the side.

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 male 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 male poses without even having move their feet!

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

Here are simple ways for your male model to use his arms: 

Hands in Pockets

Putting hands in the pockets is a natural pose for men since they are used to doing this. Whether you are trying to depict business confidence or leisure, you can ask the male model to fully or partially put his hands in the front pockets. 

Chin Resting On Hands  

This is a universal pose for portrait photography shoot that any male model can do. Instruct the male model to take a comfortable position and lean his hand or hands on the chin. This is a great way for the viewers of your image can concentrate on the man’s face, especially the eyes. 

Arms Crossed

This is one of the simplest male poses that make a great full-length photo. Crossing the arms is also advisable if the male model does not know what to do with his hands. 

These poses are ideal when you want to achieve a fairly tight shot of the model’s upper body. Hence, ensure he is standing up straight and not slouching. 

man posing with chin resting on hand

Step 3: Alter the head position

man looking down pose

Another easy one, huh? So for example these poses 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 male model face, and a last but not least, a genuine smile! Or, like in the photo above, you can grab one mid-sentence.

Here are some ways to use poses that change the head’s position: 

Walking Towards the Camera

Tired of standing poses? Instruct your male model to walk with long strides towards the camera while looking in different directions. Ensure that he maintains a neutral expression and a good posture on these poses.

Don’t forget that his hands should be doing something. You can ask him to make poses adjusting his cufflinks or wristwatch. He can also drape a jacket over his shoulders.

Back to the Camera

To make different poses, ask your male models to have his back to the camera and look to one side. These poses are perfect, especially on indoor shoots, because you can showcase the male model’s jawline and hair.

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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!

Detail Shots 

By now, you’ve probably taken lots of portrait photos. To make things more interesting, you can try capturing a few detailed shots. This works great, especially at weddings or birthdays, where your job is to take images of the things your client used for the event. 

Maybe the shoes he’s wearing are a hand-me-down from his father, so you can take a photo of him tying his shoelaces. Perhaps he’s adjusting his bowtie that was a gift from his sibling. Capture the little details because, at times, there’s a story behind these poses. 

In Motion

Some men love to dance, and dancing is a good chance for you to take action shots. Let the male models make a cartwheel on the grass, do some footwork on a wooden surface, or even do a spin near a fountain.

With Props 

When using poses with props, ensure they are suitable for the theme of the shoot. Remember that the prop is only secondary, and the focus should remain on the male models. 

Use something that is not too flashy, but can add an element to the portrait photography. For instance, if your client likes music, take images with his favorite musical instrument.

man posing with hand on hip

Try to combine these poses and photography tips to create a great pose for any male. Remember, first pick if your subject poses 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 and poses that will reflect their personality.  These poses 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 male models and clients and helps them leave feeling great and loving their photos (and hopefully telling all of their friends)!

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