Let’s be real – most men HATE posing for pictures.
The second you pull out a camera, they awkwardly shove their hands in their pockets and force out a weird half-smile. And that’s understandable.
Posing for pictures is hard.
Especially for men who might not have as much experience or feel tense in front of the camera.
But you want your photos to stand out when you’re shooting male models, grooms, or just the guys in your life. That’s why I put together this guide for posing men and male models.
Inside, you’ll find 25 of my all-time BEST male model poses perfect for highlighting anyone you’re photographing.
I’m talking about tried and true poses I use daily in my photography studio here in Connecticut, refined from 8+ years of working with male models.
They’re natural and AUTHENTIC poses that will work for the men in your life.
25 Best Poses for Men and How to Do Them
1. Hands in Their Pockets
One of the simplest poses is placing your hands in your pockets. This pose gives men a casual and relaxed look. You can put both hands in your pockets or just one hand, with the thumb remaining outside for a more natural appearance.
2. Leaning on Something
Leaning against a wall, railing, or any object can create a relaxed and cool vibe. But make sure your posture remains straight and maintain a slight bend in your knees to avoid appearing stiff.
3. Arms Crossed
Crossing your arms is a classic male pose that communicates confidence. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and not too tense. This pose works great for business portraits and gives a professional appeal.
4. Hands on Hips
Place your hands on your hips, with your thumbs towards the back and your fingers towards the front. Make sure not to press too hard against your body. This pose will show off a confident and determined look.
5. Posing With a Prop
Using props, such as a watch, sunglasses, or a hat, can make your photos pop. Just hold and handle your prop genuinely and have it “add” to your natural look.
6. Gazing Away – Off Somewhere
Looking away from the camera will create a candid, mysterious, or thoughtful mood. Choose a point of interest in the distance and adjust your gaze accordingly.
7. Jacket Over The Shoulder – Jacket Toss
Draping your jacket over one shoulder and holding it casually with your hand is a great pose for showing off your outfit. Make sure your jacket’s position doesn’t obstruct your face or any other important element you want in your photograph.
8. Touching Your Face or Neck
Touching your face or neck can give your portrait a more intimate feel. To do this, subtly place your hand against your cheek, chin, or neck. And make sure you don’t cover too much of your face.
9. Hands Clasping
This pose involves clasping your hands together in a relaxed manner, either in front of you or behind your back. You want to have your fingers intertwined loosely and avoid squeezing or clenching.
10. Movement – Walking Poses
Capturing a photograph while walking delivers a sense of motion and energy. But you want to do your best to strike a pose that looks and feels natural, like you’re effortlessly strolling somewhere.
Contrapposto involves shifting most of your weight to one leg while relaxing the other. It gives you a more casual, laid-back appearance.
12. Crossed Legs or Ankles
Crossing your legs or ankles while standing or sitting can subtly showcase your style, especially your footwear. Remember to relax your posture and maintain comfortable body language for the photo.
13. Kneeling Poses
Kneeling with one knee on the ground and the other foot flat, with your back straight, can make for a dramatic and powerful pose. Be sure to maintain eye contact with the camera.
14. Hand On Chest
Place one hand on your chest, flat or with just the fingertips touching. This pose adds a touch of emotion and sincerity to your portrait.
15. Wardrobe Adjustment Poses
Adjusting your tie, rolling up your sleeves, or fixing your lapel can give the photo a natural, candid feel. But you want to make sure these adjustments look genuine and are not overly staged.
16. Playing With Your Hair
Try running your fingers through your hair (if long enough), or fixing it can add casualness and personality to your photograph.
17. Posing on Stairs
Stairs provide the opportunity for interesting angles and perspectives. Sitting on a stair with one leg extended and the other bent creates a relaxed, stylish pose.
18. Hand Behind Your Head
Placing your hand behind your head with your elbow pointing outward can draw attention to your arm muscles and make your pose look relaxed and casual.
19. Tilted Head
Slightly tilting your head will give off a thoughtful and engaging appearance. But avoid tilting too much to prevent an unnatural angle or awkward posture.
20. Standing With Your Knee – Leg on a Prop
Bending one knee and resting your foot on a nearby prop can give your photo a sense of depth. Make sure whatever prop you’re using is sturdy and complements your look.
21. Leaning Forward
Bringing your upper body forward slightly and resting your hands on your knees or thighs can create an engaging and intense look.
22. The “Thinker” Pose (Variation of Leaning Forward)
Rest your chin on your hand while leaning forward for a reflective, introspective appearance. Make sure your hand supports your chin without appearing too serious or tense.
23. Sitting on a Backward Chair
Take a seat backward on a chair, with the back facing you. You can also try leaning on the chairback to create an interesting, more involved pose.
24. Standing With Hands in Front
For a more professional look, stand with your hands doing some type of movement/action in front of you. Your hands should give the impression of someone presenting or speaking confidently.
25. Candid and Off-Guard Shots
Capture moments when you’re not paying attention to the camera, such as laughing or looking away. These candid shots can evoke your personality and charm. And they’re my personal favorite.
And that’s it!
Feel free to keep reading if you’d like more tips on posing men for photos.
General Tips for Posing Male Models in Pictures
If you’re a photographer preparing for a photoshoot, remember some of these general tips. They’ll help you get better results.
The Importance of Posture
Good posture is a must, especially if you want to project a professional, flattering appearance.
Encourage the subject to stand tall with their shoulders relaxed and pulled back slightly. Also, remind them to distribute their weight evenly on both legs, creating a balanced and natural stance.
And if your subject is sitting, have them maintain an upright position and avoid slouching.
Pay Attention to Facial Expressions
Capturing the right facial expression can be the difference between a good photo and one you don’t love as much.
So, have your subject showcase a variety of expressions, such as a relaxed, confident, or even slightly playful look. You want to capture the man’s personality while avoiding overly exaggerated expressions that may appear unnatural.
You want to find the right balance of serious and casual shots.
The Power of Body Language
Body language communicates a lot in a photograph. Pay close attention to your subject’s stance, hand placement, and overall pose. Hands-in pockets with thumbs out tend to create a relaxed and natural look.
Asking the subject to cross their arms can express confidence while leaning against a wall will provide a more laid-back vibe.
So be aware of the message each pose is portraying and choose one that fits best with the desired mood of the photograph.
Why Angles Matter
Angles are everything as a photographer.
Experiment with different perspectives to create a sense of depth and dimension. For example, shooting from a lower angle can make the subject appear more powerful. And shooting from a higher angle can create a more approachable and friendly appearance.
So, don’t be afraid to change your position or adjust the subject’s pose to find the most flattering and engaging angle.
Photoshoot Dress and Wardrobe Tips for Men
When preparing for a photoshoot, pick clothes that fit well.
Avoid outfits that are too baggy or tight because they can be unflattering in photos. Instead, go for clothes that complement your body shape and appearance.
Adding layers to your outfit is also a great way to introduce depth and texture to your images. Consider wearing jackets, vests, or scarves to create more interest in photos.
Accessories like watches, bracelets, and hats can add character to your look. Just be careful and don’t overdo it with too many accessories.
And while it’s always a good idea to stick to timeless pieces for classic shots, don’t be afraid to experiment with bold patterns or colors to create a more modern, edgy vibe in your photos.
But you want to have your outfit align with your photoshoot’s intended theme and message.
Note: If you wear glasses, be mindful of glare and consider opting for frames with anti-reflective lenses. Your glasses should be a stylish addition to your outfit, so choose frames that work well with your look.
Also, when it comes to tattoos, show off your ink proudly if it represents your style and enhances the aesthetic you aim for in your photos. But, if your tattoos don’t fit the image or occasion (like professional photos), wear clothing that covers them up.
How Should Photographers Communicate During Their Photoshoots
As a client or photographer, you want to take pictures or work in a comfortable environment.
During the photo session, start with some light conversation to ease any nerves and familiarize yourself with your photographer or subject.
This will help you find natural poses and expressions that suit your personality. Also, maintain a positive attitude, celebrate good shots, and if something isn’t working, consider it an opportunity to try something new.
And when providing instructions as a photographer, use clear and simple language. Avoid technical jargon and negative words. Instead, use plain terms and provide positive directions.
Sometimes, the best way to communicate a pose is to demonstrate it yourself or show reference photos to express the mood or style you’re aiming for.
Also, practice active listening and encourage feedback from the person you photograph. They might have ideas or preferences that can improve the shoot. And pay attention to non-verbal cues. If someone seems uncomfortable or unsure about a pose, be ready to switch it up.
Patience and reassurance are huge when I work with clients because everyone has their own pace in photoshoots. Genuine compliments also go a long way in raising confidence, so if a pose looks great, let your client know.
Note: If you prefer hands-on adjustments, always ask for permission first and be transparent about your actions. However, guiding with words or demonstrating with your own body is often more respectful and effective.
Show your subject some shots from the camera’s display now and then, as this helps them adjust poses based on real-time feedback and keeps them motivated.
Once the shoot is done, briefly discuss how it went, express gratitude, and provide some initial feedback. This is also a good time to discuss the next steps, like when they can expect the final images. Remember to keep the tone of the shoot friendly and conversational, as this will create a more enjoyable experience for you and your subject.
Dealing With Self-Consciousness or Nervousness
Before you start posing for photographs, take some time to chat with the photographer and get to know them.
Talk about your interests and the purpose of the shoot, and maybe share something about yourself. Establishing trust and rapport early on helps you feel more comfortable.
Also, start with simple, natural poses that don’t feel too challenging.
This will help you warm up to the camera and environment. As your confidence grows, gradually try more complex poses.
Consider playing calming or favorite music in the background to help set the mood and alleviate nerves. And before the shoot, let the photographer know about your music preferences.
But if at any point you feel self-conscious, remember you’re not alone. Many people initially feel nervous in front of the camera, but as the shoot progresses, they often become more comfortable and enjoy the experience.
Don’t hesitate to take short breaks if you need to regroup or feel overwhelmed.
Use these breaks as opportunities for casual conversation to help distract you from any nervousness. Involving yourself in the process is another great strategy to feel at ease. If the photographer shares some shots with you during the session, it could boost your confidence. Also, feel free to suggest any ideas or adjustments you have in mind.
Using props is a great way to divert your attention and give you something to do with your hands. Items like a hat or an accessory can make you feel less exposed or vulnerable.
Remember, minor imperfections can often be edited or minimized during post-processing. Knowing this should alleviate any concerns about blemishes or other perceived flaws, allowing you to focus on enjoying the experience and capturing incredible photos.
The Number One Tip I Have for Posing Men: Be Creative and Use Your Surroundings
As a photographer or a subject, you always want to make the most out of your photo session. The best tip for posing men is to be creative and use the environment around you.
When done, you’ll find that your images become more active and interesting.
So, always keep an eye on your surroundings. Interesting backdrops and props can make a huge difference in the final image. Because it’s not just about the subject but the entire scene, which tells a story and connects with the viewer.
Encourage subject interaction with the environment.
This could be as simple as leaning against a wall, interacting with objects, or sitting or lying down. When your subject interacts with their surroundings, the resulting poses appear more natural and candid. And these unguarded moments can lead to some of the best shots in your portfolio.
Finally, don’t be afraid to break the “rules” of posing. Traditional poses can be great, but sometimes the most incredible shots happen unexpectedly.
Embrace spontaneity – if your subject feels inspired to try something different or move in a new way, go with the flow and see what comes out of it.
Remember, creativity and open-mindedness can transform an ordinary shoot into an extraordinary one. Happy shooting!
Frequently Asked Questions About
Male Model Poses
How do men pose for headshots?
When it comes to posing for headshots, the main focus should be on facial expression. To achieve a professional-looking headshot, maintain a natural and relaxed expression. You also want to have good posture by sitting or standing up straight, and make sure your chin is slightly lifted.
How do you practice and test out different poses?
Research some male model poses online and gather references to practice and perfect different poses. Then, using a mirror, try to replicate these poses and understand how each pose makes you feel. You want to know which pose emphasizes your features and best suits your body type.
Another great idea is to set up a camera with a self-timer or use a friend or family member to take photos while you practice posing. Then, look at the photos to see which poses work best for you and learn from them.
How can men achieve a masculine look in photos?
To create a masculine appearance in photos, strike poses that share strength, confidence, and self-assuredness. Here are some tips to achieve a masculine look:
- Keep your shoulders broad and relaxed, pulling them slightly back to improve your posture.
- Create angles with your body, such as keeping one foot slightly in front of the other or leaning against a wall, to add depth and dimension.
- When sitting, lean slightly forward and place your elbows on your knees to create a strong, grounded pose.
- Facial expressions play a significant role in portraying masculinity. Opt for a neutral expression or a slight smile, avoiding exaggerated smiles or expressions.
Achieving a great masculine look in photos means feeling confident in your skin and letting that confidence shine through in the poses.