Photographers need to know how to take pictures of men and women. It might seem like posing women is easy, but male pose options are attractive, too. When shooting photos of male models, use these photography tips to put them into artistic photography male poses and make them look great and relaxed. 

Potential Questions to Ask Before Your Photo Session

Before you meet with your male models, there are several questions that you should ask. The questions will help you get to know your male model before you put him in front of your camera.

  • What do you want to show in the male poses?
  • What images do you want to stay away from?
  • What are you planning to wear while posing?
  • Why did you choose me to take your photos?
  • What items/gear/hobbies do you want included in the male poses?
  • What are your deadlines? What do I need to do to make them?

The Differences Between Posing Men and Women

Men and women do pose differently. Generally, women want to look their best when photographed. Men, on the other hand, prefer posing in a strong and fit way. Both female and male poses want to look confident, but they do it differently. Women feel confident by looking pretty, while the strong male model oozes confidence by appearing in a cool and relaxed way. 

Different Male Posing Ideas 

Posing a male is easier than it sounds. The goal is to show off their confidence and masculinity in the male poses you choose. You want to make them look tall and fit while in their photo pose. You also want to accentuate their best model facial features, too. There are several ways to capture top modeling model poses for male photos. 

Start with a Classical Headshots

These are the classic head-and-shoulders photos pose that shows off a male model’s handsome face. You should shoot his entire head, but you do not need to capture the full width of his shoulders. Make sure your models pose leaning in toward the camera to make something different. Try to be less formal with the headshot photography poses than you would with a portrait. Leave hands out of these photos. 

Straight On Shot

This is a tightly cropped pose of your male model’s face. You do not need all of his hair in the photo, but you should include some of his neck, so he looks natural. Try to capture a range of emotions, from serious to silly. For this pose, keep the background neutral, so you only see his face. Let his face fill the frame while posing.

Profile Shot

With these photography poses, you want to put your male model in one-third of the photo. His face does not have to fill the frame. This is an artistic rendition, so have fun with the light and background. Pay close attention to shadows as they can be unflattering at certain angles while posing. 

man playing guitar

Photo by RyanMcGuire Licensed Under CC0

An Artistic Cropped Shot

In a cropped shot, you capture your male model in a smaller fashion. You can crop his face, or at the chest, belly, or hips to get a tight image. Before you crop the shot, be sure you are not artistically amputating him in the photo. 

Focusing on the Hands

With these poses, you only focus on your male model’s hands. They should be doing something natural to give them visual appeal. Make sure his nails are groomed, but don’t worry about scars or other imperfections. Try to have him keep his hands relaxed with any pose, so they look natural. For example, the Hands in pockets pose is a great way to look relaxed and friendly.

Full-Length Body Shot

The full-length shot can be artistic, as you fit your male model’s full height in the photo. He could be leaning or standing facing forward. You can play with the background, making him a small feature of the shot. While posing, he does not have to look at the camera for the photo to be great.

Get Some Cool Tattoo Images

If your male model has tattoos, show them off in these poses. You don’t have to capture the whole man, just the body parts that have tattoos. Be sure to show enough of the body, so you do not look like you are intentionally cutting parts off in the shot. Watch your lighting and depth of field so you can distinguish the artwork of your model’s tattoos. 

man with arms crossed

Photo by 1866946  Licensed Under CC0

More Serious Posing

The arms crossed poses show male power, but only when he crosses his arms comfortably. If a man crosses his arms too tightly, he looks insecure, not natural. These poses look great when a man is standing slightly sideways in relation to the viewfinder. Be sure you can see some of his hands in the photo.

Against a Wall 

This is a sexy shot. Men leaning against a wall, post, or tree look comfortable and self-assured. He can rest his body or just his shoulder against the wall. Once you’ve set up the pose, ask him to show different emotions as he continues leaning against the wall. While leaning, he can cross one leg over the other for more angles. 

Head On

If you want to capture a powerful male pose, shoot him standing, directly facing the camera. Have him stare down the lens to show his true power. He does not have to be in the center of the frame, but he does need to stand directly parallel with you. He can pose with one leg in a contrapposto style. 

Get Deep with Detail Shot

Not all male poses need to be of faces. You can capture a masculine look of a man tying his tie or putting on his watch as he is posing. Include hands or feet or other identifying features. You could also get a shot of him shaving one side of his face. Be creative with your male model. 

The Hand Shot

This is a male pose that can be tough to capture, but great when you get it right. Your male model should reach toward the camera, preferably with one hand rather than two. There should be an evident emotion emanating from the reach. You can play with the depth of field to focus on his appendages more than your model’s face.

Strut Towards the Camera

When a man walks toward the camera, he can look powerful, sexy, or welcoming. He doesn’t have to look at the camera if you are going for a softer look. If he looks at the camera, then he is exuding power. Shoot this photo like a candid, but with intentional light and background details. Give him something to do as he walks toward the camera. 

black and white side portrait of man

Photo by 1866946  Licensed Under CC0

Facing Sideways

When your subject is facing sideways, you can capture nearly any emotion you want. It is up to you how much leg you want to include in the photo. Ideally, your subject should have somewhere to look rather than staring into nothing. 

Have Them Sit at an Angle

If you are looking for a classic pose, this is one of them. Your male subject looks best sitting in an upholstered chair, dressed in something dramatic. Pay attention to the angle of your subject’s head, and use his hands in various ways. This is a tough one to get right because it is more professional than poses. He can look off in the distance or at the camera. 

Forward Sitting

Grab a chair and seat your subject in it. Rest his elbows or forearms on his thighs, and start shooting. This is a relaxed male power pose, so if your subject is wearing a tie, loosen it. Play with facial expressions, because several look natural in this pose. He can cross one leg or keep them parallel. 

Sitting Facing Sideways (With Potential Props)

In this pose, the man should not look at the camera. This is meant to be a stylized male candid, where he is looking away from the camera. You might not even capture his entire face in the shot, and that’s okay. Pick an interesting background or foreground for this photo, and use props like a newspaper or smartphone. 

Sitting on the Floor

If you are looking for a way to include angles in your photos, make your male subject sit on the floor. Have him bend his knees and use his elbows to get into interesting shapes. Don’t do anything strange, but notice all of the lines of his body when he sits on the floor. You can shoot from different angles, like looking down or head-on when you snap the shots. 

Sitting on the Stairs

This is another way to get interesting lines and angles into the pose, too. Put him in the middle of the staircase, so you have lines above and below him. Have him sit in various ways to get the most out of the repeating lines of the stairs and wall. Try this shot in black and white, and play with lights and shadows. 

man peering above lowered sun glasses

Photo by ambroo  Licensed Under CC0

With Glasses

There are a few props that men can play with and not look silly. One is glasses. Have him play with black sunglasses. 

Back to the Camera, Looking to the Side

This is a male take on the feminine glamour pose. In it, your subject has his back to the camera. Then, he looks to the side rather than over his shoulder. You get a strong profile if you use 

With Cigarettes

The other prop that male models look great using a cigarette. It doesn’t matter if he smokes or not, because the act of lighting the cigarette or holding it in one relaxed hand creates interest.