Skip to main content


Lesson 12 from: Men's Portrait Photography

Jeff Rojas

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

12. Posing

Lesson Info


When you're photographing man was to go to post, take a photo so just move forward go to post hand in pocket standing there feet shoulder width apart that's it that's it that's it generally all we have it's just that but there's a lot more stuff that you could do you know you can have different angles, different crops I would prefer if you photograph people over to the side teo show case a little more of their physique, their jaw line what do you trying to showcase in regards to your pose? What he's really trying to dio you know, there's other ways they're sitting standing, laying just poses there's so many variations of proposes that people have so let's go over this won't make suppose good dyslexia a good post ready cap consider what story you're trying to tell what you're trying to convey in how the background actually has to do with your photo. What is it doing for your photograph? We talked this morning about posing someone let's say that a lawyer or doctor or someone of authority...

with their hands in their pockets kind of nonchalant like what's. What if I did this with a doctor lawyer with except really saying about the dr lori? I'm not really going to take him seriously same thing if I haven't crossed two arms, what is that communicating you know, is that person going be defensive? If I had a, uh, if I had a groom and the groom looked like he didn't want to be there when he was, I'm doing this that he looked uncomfortable he's kind of protecting himself in a little corner let's say what's that communicating it just doesn't look ok in the final image. You want the bride you want whoever your audience is that's purchasing your albums to, like the photo he wanted t appreciate those things so quickly cover the power of nonverbal communication is actually when I favorite topics in the world, which is things people do unintentionally and how you can replicate those things in your photography. So what emotion is your subject? Communicate? You can fake a smile. We talked about this before, but it's difficult to fake body language you can't really fake body language there's so much that we do with our bodies that you can't possibly fake happiness through a pose it's very difficult to dio you gently, comptel in somebody's happy if they're insecure, what's happening about that specific subject, okay, shoulders back communicates confidence we always you know, make sure you're standing up straight, make sure you're sitting down and as you're sitting, if I slouch like this, what is this really saying? I'm tired on board no, I don't want to be here as opposed to if I'm sitting back a little more being having conversation with you guys, I look like I'm trying to be communicated I look like I'm enjoying everything that's happening I want to communicate something quickly go toe hands in pockets, communicates uncertainty why do guys put their hands in their pockets? Because they don't know what to do like that see on a shoot they're uncertain about the situation as much as you are because our goatee pose is this okay? What am I supposed to do like this is extremely uncertain what crossed arms communicates I do this is the first thing that people think I'm either a defensive you guys ever heard of the self cuddle self hugs that actually happens that's exactly what it is this is a position where as kids as infants were so inclined, naturally our mother's holding us in hugging us when things happen that this is our first go to pose when something feels awkward or uncomfortable like this is what we're communicating because it helps us feel better same with this and many when you guys were doing photographing women, they generally do this and they're a little more uncomfortable cause they're protecting themselves men this is the first thing when a man does what he feels uncomfortable, why? Because he's protecting the crown jewels well, holding hands and hugging yourself communicates we just discussed that, but again I can't say it enough if you see groomsmen and you're photographing a wedding and all them like this, they're still looking like they're protecting it like not mean not mean that so I'm not going you go like that that's kind of what it's communicating clenched fists you know, if I if I tend to do this and I'm photographing a man and he's he's doing this the whole time and palms are nervous is that nervous is the anger? What is it? You know, same when somebody is and generally go to poser hands clenched, you know, kind of like what does that actually mean? What does it communicate communicates a lot of negative connotations, false facial motions and more parent on the left side then they are on the right side, but we still prefer one specific side when we're faking a smile challenge you fake a smile you guys all have one side more dominant on the other side until you realize that fake smiles in photography and we can tell them is photographers we can tell if somebody's not really happy, which is why when I have russell has anybody on set who really doesn't laugh like stony and I try to make him laugh what I'm trying to get some symmetry on his mouth you know, trying to get smile from ear to ear is they say, not just one side when you were smiling before you, you know, as opposed to when you really smile, it's, smile and you see all your teeth, those the things that you're trying to communicate with body language is extremely evident when you're trying to photograph any client, okay? And if you enjoyed learning about body language, will communicate something's throughout the whole session here, but I would definitely pick up the definitive book on body language, it's, one of my favorite books in the world, which is how to judge people's personalities and shapes, especially in a sales aspect. So you guys can do that in a selling aspect as you sitting down with your client's understanding what body language is doing when you're communicating with your client, are you going to get that cell, or are they more reserved about the price that you try to give them it's extremely important that it's all about body language? We have a thirty day body language course, and then a three day by vanessa von van edwards, so go and check our great one really, really fascinating that's awesome! So you know, it's it's, extremely powerful, you can't get better then understanding the way that body language, what communicates another thing that I I tend to do I'm gonna sit down for two seconds? Just you guys understand that kind of the machinations of what I'm where I'm at, I look at people's body positioning, how were they naturally posing? What are they doing naturally in certain environments had a conversation with somebody recently who took a violin player? We were discussing this stony where somebody was playing a violin, and they wanted to pose a hands in a certain way where it just wasn't aesthetically pleasing on a one to pose in a better position. But people don't actually play violin up here, you know, it's a different position. No one would actually play those things, and we know it's, photographer's house somebody actually photographs versus who's pretending to shoot a photograph, and we look at people in different environments, and we may not necessarily know, but studying habits of people as you guys are watching people ride a bike or lean on a tree naturally, or writing, driving in a car position, what looks comfortable for people, as you guys were communicating with with your individuals, the second thing is I would want I would worry about who your clients are and what context there posing has in the final image, I keep discussing that that's extremely important, uh, photographing a professional certain positioning and demeanor may not be appropriate for the setting in their environment. You want to showcase in those lights and people really most photographers in the first inning off, they just want something that looks aesthetically pleasing. They just want to go to post so let's go with this the power of candid photos. So when I talk about candid photography, it's obviously moment photos, but can you fake a candid photo? Can you possibly pretend something? Is israel and shoot something that looks real? But it's fake it's a pose? How do you do that? It's very, very difficult if you don't have the tools and techniques to do that, but we gonna discuss this, which is I generally have a couple things on set that I wind up discussing with any model with any subject photograph, which is I don't or my theories this, I don't know it seemed like semantics, but it's not I don't pose my subjects. I direct that at no point do you hear me say, put one finger on your neck second fingers closest possible third finger, about two inches away from the other one forint, like whatever, whatever pose your micro posing, it's what you're doing, and it might proposing you, making somebody feel uncomfortable that isn't a professional model that isn't necessarily ah person of posing like they've never posted for feels uncomfortable I want I want to ask this if I've said okay feet shoulder width apart hip out you know shoulder back left just starts feeling uncomfortable what are you trying to get out that subject makes small steps in directing what are you trying to direct and what are you trying to communicate? So what I do is a lot of storytelling on set to make it a little easier regards to directing people what attitude you try to communicate on set you know, we joke when I was joking around with you before I was like, okay, you look like a bank robber and you're like you start laughing but at the same token if I wanted you to look like a bank robber I was can you look like a bank robber and you give me a bit more attitude? You know, those that there's the things that you can communicate while you're speaking to your subject everyone kind of has that go to approach to the face and their body language and what they're trying to do so natural versus post the photo on the left I asked the subject across his arm's a little sake can you cross your arms the photo on the right? I said, can you cross your your left arm over your right arm and can you make sure that your left arm is over your your elbow and my proposing I'm telling every single thing that you're doing which one even even if you feel that the one on the right is aesthetically pleasing which one looks comfortable one left because they're naturally more inclined to feel more comfortable in that post would you prefer a photo that looked over posed for a client depending on the context of what you're trying to do for let's say a wedding photography do you want them to look super poses? Do you want them to look in the moment would here's my question would the bride prefer their husband to look naturally happy or fake happy probably naturally happy those doing things with the difference between directing imposing you can direct them to look a certain way and try to communicate say something the second you're like ok be happy you know you're like no man I just paid you I paid you know the I looked here like if it was a wallet like and I'm there I just visually put myself in the groom's position and all that but you know I'm paying for everybody else I'm sad I'm paying for you you know this isn't a happy day what can you communicate to them to make them feel happier about themselves and happier for that specific situation go this next consider having your subject posing one position beginning in one position ending off another and taking the photo in between there's a lot of times where if you have somebody with their hand on their shoulder and you really want them to have their hand morris they're triceps instead of their their elbow let's and this what you're trying to do you try to move from dissection here tio here, right? But you really want that shot in between you ever consider moving from the first position? Tell them to move to the second position and you take the candid photo in between here's why? Because the second you ask somebody can you go ahead and grab your tryst just looked awkward it's not natural this is you know this isn't extremely natural but if you said can you do me a favor and move your hand from the top you shoulder down to double gently what is that doing for my my subject? So next photos this thes air these are perfect examples the first photo it's communicating I'm lonely the third photo is communicating I'm hungry and the second one's in between it's like I'm lonely and hungry but it's okay, what are you trying to communicate? But if I look at the three photos the first one's opposed the last supposed second in between is the candid photo that's what I'm trying to showcase I'm trying to showcase somebody who feels comfortable, confident with opposed it with their they're using sewing talk about standing poses first go to standing pose is generally hands in pockets. Take this off for two seconds. Hand in pockets easier for you know what this clips on? Forget about that. So the first good supposed to general hand in pocket? This is it. I'm gonna take your photo shoulder width apart. What is this doing? Where are they? If I was a groom, do I want to stand like this in my my photo? Is this how my wife is going to see me for the rest of our lives? And that picture on that mantel above our bed for the rest of eternity? Probably not. This isn't what I want. I mean, even so much as tryingto goes over and at least giving a tiny bit of shoulder raising, giving a tiny bit of smile towards the camera. What do they communicate? This is with, you know, I can also move a subject to look a little thinner in regards to frame wider subjects like if you if you have like, a wider torsos like I do turning over slightly, what does that do for subject? It pins them out, it's less perspective on what we're trying to photograph. So we're going to do a couple quick poses a couple quick go to poses for what we're trying to help, I generally start off with my my subjects with a very, very natural post now here's here's a comment I'm going to mention to you guys, you guys noticed we haven't shot a single model today. Defense. You gotta models and make your own life. We're shooting real people. I'm not shooting somebody who doesn't know how to pose. I'm shooting people who are naturally inclined to who would be my natural clients, not saying you guys might be my class, but actual body types like I don't have a generic body type that I'm photographing. You know, I get all shapes and sizes while I'm here and that's a great way for everybody. That's watching the show to be able to learn the essentials of doing the same thing, working with different body types, working with different face shapes, working with different people.

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