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Lesson 1 from: Men's Portrait Photography

Jeff Rojas

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Lesson Info

1. Introduction

Lesson Info


I wanted to do a men's portraiture class specifically because I shoot a lot of managed a lot of men and women, but there's not really much content out there about how to shoot guys usually are are kind of first disposition with a guy is we get in front of camera, we see the subject being a groom, be it male portrait were like, ok, just stand there. I'm just going to take your photo and that's it there's, no posing, there's no directing it's just I'm going to shoot the guy as he is, and I'm ok, I'm going to preface the class with this note and I was speaking to somebody recently who said you can't you can't take beautiful photos of men and I absolutely disagree with that. My disposition is this the person that I was speaking to wind it up saying you can do make up on women, you could do hair on women, you khun style women, you can edit women to look absolutely beautiful. You can't do the same thing with men, and I absolutely argued that. Why? Because you can do the same thing you can he...

lp men look better in photography using if you wanted to make up most men aren't going toe go with the makeup thing you can style hair you can direct meant you can pose menu khun style menu could make look men look their best for unequally resulting photo so by all means. Like I said, I completely disagree with the fact that you can't make men look asbestos possible. Set with that. No, it was a great introductory video on a little of my work powered by an emoto. I wanted teo just open up with us as well. My name's jeff ross, a portrait in fashion photographer based in new york city. And a lot of my work with clients with the fashion side is styling men making men look their best but it's not so much. Just making them look their best, actually, to make the clothes look their best on that specific subject. So when it came to portraiture, I can go ahead and take that same tools and techniques that I'm using on the fashion side to style into accentuate certain clients that I have in a bar. It's a portrait photography be it ah, commercial client portrait client, a business client like commercial photography. If I had to shoot the ceo of the company, how do I make him look his best opposing wise styling wise editing, wass there's different ways to do photography that one that's, by the way that is my side in case enemy doesn't know what stage you're fetches that is my name backwards. I have a little bit of dyslexia every now and then you guys get to enjoy it that way way my creative process I kind of pride myself in simple imager with attention to detail why? Because I okay, so one of my mentors, everybody has a mentor, they look up to somebody that they admire in a certain way, so my mentor is actually a lot younger than I am. He's in his early twenties twenty one twenty two and he's actually been shooting for vogue he's been shooting for vanity fair has been shooting for a lot of different publications, major publications I loved to work, and what I loved is the attention to detail so light on the specific subjects, not necessarily over glamorizing everything you know, as photographers, I think we want to do so much, we want to do lighting and editing, imposing, and we don't make everything beautiful all at once, but we kind of forget the simple concepts to make an image look good when I was shooting women let's say we shouldn't move in with a lot of different flowers and floral arrangements and you're editing and you're superimposing things in your compositing but what's the core essence of what we're trying to communicate what's the core essence for we're trying to shoot so I asked for a portfolio review a couple years ago and uh he nicely kind of told me this is terrible like this is you know here's all this work that you're doing which is great but what what type of clients are trying to reach out for like who is your target audience not to mention are your photos going toe last ten years from now our people will look at this photo and say that so nineties that's so to thousands that's so two thousand ten you know you don't want that when you when you look at a photo ten years from now you want to be known for consistency timelessness like you just don't want to be looked at as an old school photographer in any single capacity ten years from now so by the way his name is grant thomas he's a very, very very talented young photographer so photographing men can feel extremely overwhelming how many of you actually photographed men at the present moment yes, yes, yes no real commitment but there was like there was like some of us do some of us don't okay so photographing men from me when I first picked up my cameras a little overwhelmed because it's like ok what I do just stand there you know put your hands in your pockets put your hands out of pockets here ugo there goes my photo and that's it's fine like that's that's your first pose but what else can you do? Happens if you have a corporate client what happens if you have a corporate client in a setting at a desk? What are you going to do? Are you gonna have them pose with their hands in their pockets? And how is that going to show like a relate to their audience? Like what is their audience visibly seeing tio photographing men and entirety actually feels overwhelming stuff to do a man can be so stoic and he's kind of rough he's not he's, not beautiful he's not elegant the same way that women on women a very curvy and beautiful minute catholic then and you know, so the only difference between photographing men and photographing woman is the difference in the details by all means lived by that now I don't I don't look it any differently in any capacity I'd do the same thing with with makeup for women that I do with lighting from men I do the same thing with lighting for women that I do lighting men I do the same thing in regard to styling women when I was doing fashion shoots, form and the same attention to that than I do for men with little nuances of difference so ten things that define a strong male image one that your subject looks their best uh we have his photographers seventy one percent control of our subjects, meaning we have what people are looking for in regards to men. What makes men look good is controllable by seventy one percent. What people deem as beautiful in men is their sense of style, their face and their height. That means I have three aspect, second indirectly control I can't control if the guy's muscular, you know, a photo shop, I can I can take his face and put him on somebody else's body, but my clients probably wouldn't appreciate that by any means the nexus fitness. I can't really make anybody skinnier by any means or bigger. I can't do anything about that and other that's, probably just money. I'm going, I'm going ahead and say the top attributes of looking at man is probably money, I'm joking come with a sense of style styling is absolutely paramount, and I'm not talking about it. We'll discuss this a little later, but not discussing what the current trends are discussing. This fit the proper fit of clothing, the way that it's supposed to fit on a man. You know, if it's pants are too long, if they're too short, how many of us have vince weddings were like looking at the groom, you look like a little child and a man's outfit like you're not fitting that right vice versa you've probably seen large amend that wearing too small of suits or two looks ill fitting and they kind of look like it's shrinking like me pulling up my sleeves right now it looks like a little by little is shrinking so thirty percent style twenty six percent face fifteen percent I have direct control over all those things but the real question is, well no one hires a photographer to take take bad photos unless you're paparazzi or paparazzi oh, but do men really care about their own physical parents? Honestly, how many guys that you've spoken to there like I don't care just take a photo of me but you men really care is that just something they're saying or something? They're actually thinking like what's the actuality of that so here's here's a great tip four out of five men promote anxiety about their body image by referring to their flaws and imperfections compared to seventy five percent women I feel fat I look fat, I feel skinny I look skinny, they're actively telling people that they feel insecure eight point seven percent of men talk about their own or someone else's appearance in regards to wait lack of hair or slim frame we're judging other people does that sound like somebody's insecure about themselves were absolutely insecure with ourselves we're looking at other people were judging we're judging body types I wish I looked like that or I wish I could do this. Thirty percent heard someone referred to their beer belly. Nineteen percent have been described this chubby in nineteen percent have overheard someone talk about their man boobs that actually happens. I want you to think about that for two seconds. Men feel that people are looking at them and they're they're eyeing them, and they're looking at them in a capacity where they feel insecure. And I want you guys to start thinking about every single time you've looked at a guy and said that guy's fat for that guy skinny or that guy has a beer belly, how many times you've actually said that I grew up in a home where we joked about it like that has a beer ability or, like, look at that man boobs that's not okay, that's totally not okay, because what you're doing is you're pushing body image and security, right? We do don't want to feel that way the same way that women who feel that and promoting that men feel the same way. So as tough as we are in the exterior, and sometimes often the exterior, we feel the same soft inside, sixty three percent thought their arms and chest we're not muscular enough, sixty three percent of men. I want you think about that. We don't feel fit. We don't feel in regards to fitness. So you guys are doing your fitness, advertising or your fitness photography? If you're looking to do a photo, a photo shoot with bearing arms, these air considerations tohave twenty nine percent thought about their appearance at least five times a day. I want you think about that as well. Imagine sitting there at work saying, I wish I could lose weight or I wish I could gain weight or I wish I could do this, so I wish I could look like this where I wish I could feel a certain way that says that a man's looking at himself and he's thinking about his physical appearance. So you as a photographer? How much? How much percentage can you help that specific client? How can you make that client feel? And I've met a lot of I've had one photographer his disposition take larger people, was to hide them and hide certain flaws in that let's say, if it was ah wedding like a wedding shoot brian's in the middle, she's nice and skinny, skinny and pretty husband's hiding in the bushes somewhere like he's, hiding in a little vignette ing of bushes because he doesn't know how to pose. Larger men and he wants to glamorize the woman and her photography, her beauty but he doesn't know what to do with the male same thing, larger arms, somebody who has bigger arms what can you not muscular but bigger arms? They would hide them. They would hide them behind doors and hide them by walls behind them behind other things, how is that kind of pushing body image issues? What are you doing for your client? Really like? What are you looking at? In regards to your client, you're perpetuating body image stereotypes if you think about that, if you're hiding larger people or you're hiding. And the other one wass hiding a larger person behind four other sir objects and here's, this little face that's popping out of four other people. Ok, so what do you really doing in regard to the body? But you're perpetuating it, right? You're looking at somebody and saying, you know what? Your larger let me hide you, it's not your choice is a photographer to say, I'm going to hide you guys because how would you feel if somebody did that to you? It's? Not okay and men kind of feel the same way I don't feel like hiding in a bush if I'm going to take a photograph, I don't pay for that you know, ten years from now, if I've lost a bunch of weight, let's, say, and I take the same photograph out laughing, posted online and say the before and after, I don't think you wanna be the photographer that looked at a photo and says, I'm the before look how bad I was back then, you know, look, that was perpetuating stereotypes that way, so thirty eight percent of men said that they would sacrifice a year off of their life in exchange for the perfect body. Don't you think about that? The average life spans seventy five, eighty years old? They would rather live until seventy nine years old to have the perfect body not to go to the gym literally cut their body for their life for a whole year, and it was a year up to five years and that's what people are willing to give up toe look ideal in society, so do men really care about their physical appearance? And the answer is absolutely it's extremely important to us. So, uh, since photographers, we have direct control over the way people feel about themselves, and we have to consider those things were taking people's photographs regardless, if they're a portrait client, regardless, if they're larger, skinnier, bigger, taller, shorter ball, it doesn't matter making people feel the best of themselves.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Photographer's Style Guide for Men
Men's Posing Guid
Photoshop Black and White Presets
Adorama Gear Guid

Ratings and Reviews

caroline ross

I watched this class for free and am saving up to buy it. First of all confirmed! Sigma lens are nothing to be ashamed of and since I love my one main lens, Sigma I immediately felt a rapport. Then listening to the fascinating insights about men and their feelings when confronted by a lens and...what to do with folks who have shaved heads or a little large. Some of the tips were great! Adding a decoration on suit front like a flower or handkerchief, and how to get the suits looking FIT! and well, I plunged into man world and it was a super education. By day two I was amazed by Jeff's generosity. Basically all his experience, all his favorite lighting techniques and painstaking attention to detail. I would have to watch Day two zillions of times to actually be able to absorb all the scenarios and effects. Im going to buy some suit clips Jeff and clip a bunch of suits in back and front to gorgeous my male subjects out. Thank you again for a wonderful, wonderful class.

Lee Crow

I've taken a lot of photography training in the last couple of years. Jeff is outstanding. I didn't realize that this content would have such an impact on me. The lighting sections were the best I've seen and the psychological impact of us men having good photos is a wonderful subject to bring to light. The class is great. Jeff is great. CL is great.


this course was worth every penny. Full of practical information and excellent demonstrations. Jeff needs to quit with the crotch comments though was like ...really AGAIN? why are you so obsessed with saying crotch crotch crotch good God. Apart from THAT (which I think was just silly nerves) I really do recommend this class. Jeff is actually very very good. I admire his work. Thanks Jeff I learned a lot!!

Student Work