Portrait Posing Basics: 18 Failproof Portrait Poses for Men

Pro Tip: When shooting wide open, be sure to exercise proper breathing control to ensure that you keep your subject in focus.

Pro Tip: When shooting wide open, be sure to exercise proper breathing control to ensure that you keep your subject in focus.

When it comes to posing men, think of it as an interview. The images need to tell something about who they are or who they’re trying to be on camera. You can do this through various little hints. We recently published a list of poses for women, and while women have high expectations in the western world, that doesn’t at all mean that men shouldn’t put their best foot forward either.

Here is a list of 18 failproof portrait poses for men.

The classic arms folded headshot. Position the higher shoulder behind the other, tilt the head very slightly and fold the arms across the chest. Ask your subject to bring their chin out a bit.

The classic arms folded headshot. Position the higher shoulder behind the other, tilt the head very slightly and fold the arms across the chest. Ask your subject to bring their chin out a bit.

Have him lean into something so that the front of the bicep is taking most of the pressure. Make sure that the higher shoulder is leaning into the object and shoot the man from this side too. Turn their head to look off into the distance and have them pull their head back while straightening their shoulders.

Have him lean into something so that the front of the bicep is taking most of the pressure. Make sure that the higher shoulder is leaning into the object and shoot the man from this side too. Turn their head to look off into the distance and have them pull their head back while straightening their shoulders.

For tight portrait photos,

For tight portrait photos, move the shoulders so that the higher one is slightly behind them. Then have them tilt the nose a bit so as not to make it look too large, ask for a slight smile and ensure that they open up their eyes a bit more.

Chris Gampat the phoblographer diy ring flash color corrected (1 of 6)

While the subject is sitting, photograph the subject so that their higher shoulder is behind them and slopes off. Have them lean forward a bit with their hands resting in their lap. Then tilt their head forward just a tad. Depending on the anatomy of their chin, have them push the chin forward.

Have your subject lean back into a wall with their torso taking most of the weight. This will make the upper body look bigger. Straighten their shoulders, have one hand do something that doesn't throw the shoulders off too much and have them look off. Western culture statistics often value images of men looking off than right into the camera necessarily.

Have your subject lean back into a wall with their torso taking most of the weight. This will make the upper body look bigger. Straighten their shoulders, have one hand do something that doesn’t throw the shoulders off too much and have them look off.
Western culture statistics often value images of men looking off than right into the camera necessarily.

Though we usually don't condone the use of cigars or smoking in images, they can work with a specific scene to emit a scene of power. To do that, tilt the subject's head a bit and also ask them to tense their forehead a bit.

Though we usually don’t condone the use of cigars or smoking in images, they can work with a specific scene to create a scene of power. To do that, tilt the subject’s head a bit and also ask them to tense their forehead a slightly.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After straightening the look of the shoulders, have the man tilt his nose away from the camera, stick the chin out a bit and lean the back back a bit. This helps to flatten the profile more.

Put the thumbs of both hands in the pockets and have the man straighten up but relax the shoulders. Bring the higher shoulder back significantly and face them at a 45 degree angle towards the camera. Position the face towards the camera.

Put the thumbs of both hands in the pockets and have the man straighten up but relax the shoulders. Bring the higher shoulder back significantly and face them at a 45 degree angle towards the camera. Position the face towards the camera.

With the subject sitting, have them lead forward a bit more and ensure that their tights aren't actually on the seat. Rest the elbow in the middle of the thighs and have the hands do something. Hands are very expressive and tell a lot about the person. Shoot them a bit off angle. Ask them to raise their chin up a bit as well.

With the subject sitting, have them lean forward a bit more and ensure that their thighs aren’t actually on the seat. Rest the elbow in the middle of the thighs and have the hands do something. Hands are very expressive and tell a lot about the person. Shoot them a bit off angle. Ask them to raise their chin up a bit as well.

Shot with the Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art

Position the shoulders so that the lower one is slightly in front of the other. Put the hands in the back pocket of the pants. Straighten the head and push the chin out. This helps to create a sense of evenness and friendliness in the body language.

Photograph men from below if you can at times due to the fact that it makes them look more powerful. Have them stick the chin out a bit and position it so that the person is looking off a bit. Then have them tilt the head to make the area under the chin look more flattering. For an image like this, bring the higher shoulder forward.

Photograph men from below if you can at times due to the fact that it makes them look more powerful. Have them stick the chin out a bit and position it so that the person is looking off a bit. Then have them tilt the head to make the area under the chin look more flattering.
For an image like this, bring the higher shoulder forward.

Pro Tip: Handheld light meters can help with figuring out what your flash settings and camera/lens settings should be.

Have him shift his weight so that the side with the higher shoulder is behind him. Drape a coat or a sweater over it and put the other hand on the hip or in a pocket.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 review portrait images (1 of 2)ISO 2001-170 sec at f - 4.0

When wearing layers, have the man pull in their stomach and relax their shoulders. Then position the shoulders and have them face the camera at a 45 degree angle. Make their face turn a bit more towards the camera. Be conscious of the nose and to not make it look large.

Image shot at Speakeasy Dollhouse

For a more lifestyle look, have the man do something with their hands–whether it’s playing with a phone or something else that helps them define who they are. If sitting, make the lower shoulder pick up the item. Have them raise their chin a bit and lean forward.

Making a guy

Making a guy balance like this can give off a sense that he’d very relaxed and overall really cool. Put the higher shoulder behind him and have him rest a forearm across his thigh. Then have him jut his head forward a bit.

 

To make a man look more elegant, it's not only all about the attire but it's also about the specific pose. Have him shift his weight depending on which shoulder is the higher one. The lower shoulder should be bright forward more and the head should be tilted slightly.

To make a man look more elegant, it’s not only all about the attire but it’s also about the specific pose. Have him shift his weight depending on which shoulder is the higher one. The lower shoulder should be bright forward more and the head should be tilted slightly.

Chris Gampat Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L II USM review photos of Matt (8 of 11)ISO 100

With both thumbs of both hands in the pockets, have the subject slightly bend the elbows and position the lower shoulder slightly in front of the higher one. Then have turn their face in the direction of the lower shoulder. Tilt the head back a bit. Again, watch the nose!