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Essential Male Poses

Lesson 11 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

Essential Male Poses

Lesson 11 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

11. Essential Male Poses

Get more advice on male portrait photography poses to make men look attractive and masculine.

Lesson Info

Essential Male Poses

Hi. Hi. How are you? Good, how are you? Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you too. Okay so, we're gonna do a couple posing essentials here and I'm gonna take a couple pictures so you guys can see. So, my lovely crew if you want to tether for me. Great, thank you. Alright, perfect. Alright, so the very first thing that I want to show is if you would come a little closer and I'm gonna raise this light up for you cause you're nice and tall. Almost. Okay, I'll try that. Alright, perfect. And take a little step this way. Great, alright. So one of the things I want you to see is can you tilt your head toward me. So tilt it that way. That gives you kind of like the confused or feminine look versus, keep your head just neutral, like just normal. Okay, normal confident. And tilt your head just a tiny bit back and then chin out towards me just a little. See how that is a little bit more thoughtful versus this is a little more confused. So that is definitely acceptable. Oops, did it pop ...

down? Oh, restarting, thank you. Perfect. Okay, great. So, I'm gonna just take a couple photos so that anybody that buys the, if they want to use this for their PDF then they can so let me just take a couple photos of that so you can see the difference. So, first tilt your head toward me. Maybe not, I think it's restarting. I think it's restarting. I'll wait a second. Alright, so while we wait for that since the tether is restarting let's talk about hands. Alright, so first of all crossing arms is totally fine. Give me an arm cross, okay. And he did it fine. My tip would be watch for when they cross their arms if they cross too high and their shoulders are raised. Because a lot of guys will cross their arms a little bit too high. So just keep it shoulders down and cross a little bit lower. You look good. (laughs) Excellent. Okay so next let's talk about hands in pocket. Alright, so what you want to do is what he does. I usually avoid the other way, like a thumb in the pocket cause I'm looking too much at the hands especially if guys are, it's a wedding party and they're wearing all black and then I just see their hands. So that's why I usually tuck that in. That looks great except for I don't usually tuck in both, it's a little too symmetrical so whatever arm you're comfortable with just take out and let fall loose. Perfect, okay. So next, right now he's standing a little flat-footed, right? So what I want you to do is exactly how you are just like your taking a step towards me. See how I'm rocking forward like that? And he automatically, likely, kind of leans his chest forward. So this is a catalog men's pose. Okay, he looks comfortable, his hand in his pocket, and so when I want to get a little more creative or have a little bit more energy I'll actually have them step towards me. And so I'll have their hand in their pocket and I'll actually have them step, and actually get kind of a walking move and that's something that I do in fashion, so when I'm photographing a woman in a dress and I want it to have a lot of movement I have them repeat that motion over and over again so if I want a guy to look cool and confident like he's walking at me I just have him do that, over and over again, so let me take a couple steps so, a couple shots, let me give this a test and see how it goes, and I'm gonna have you stand flat footed first. All right, good. And hands out. This is bad pose, flat foot okay, bad pose good. Alright. (laughter) That was good, wait, do it again now. (shutter snaps) (laughter) oh, oh dear. That was amazing, okay. I'm not gonna look. Yeah, don't look, don't look. Um, okay, so now. (audience laughing) It's cute, you look like a comedian. (laughter) I could see that right. Okay so hand in your pocket. Alright, so I'm gonna step back here for a second and stand totally flat foot even-weight okay? So this is even weight, and that background's a little short for me. (shutter snaps) Alright, I'm gonna probably just go right, well I don't need to go back, I just don't want to stick my butt ... Okay, so just warning you it's going to happen. (laughter) I'm not going to really change it, I'm just going to let you know. Okay, alright, so let's try this. (shutter snaps) Okay, so pretty flat foot. You'll see it in a second. And I'm going to have you do the kind of walk and lean towards me. (shutter snaps) Good. And take one step back for me, just a little bit. Good, and the walk and lean. (shutter snaps) Good. And I'm gonna actually have you put that foot a little bit further behind. Like a tuck it behind your other leg. Yeah, right there. So do your walk and lean, but just totally comfortable. So literally step towards me. Okay, I'm ready, good. So this picture to me is like you see this a lot with men's magazines like walking towards you, okay? So that is like super basic men's pose, okay. Will you cross your arms for me for one turn sideways? A little less. And so what I'm looking for is I don't want him to be straight on because it's really boxy, so I'm having him turn a little towards the side and lean towards me, just a little bit more dynamic, and this is boxy, and then this is really narrow. So I'm picking something in between. Good, just like that. And his hands are good. I'm making sure I don't see like super soft hands. His are good. I would either do that or a fist. Either one are both fine. Okay, great. So that looks good. I'm going to, so that was pose number one. My pose number one, hand in pocket walking towards camera. That is like super basic men's essentials. Alright next one, okay. I will sit you on this. Okay, and this is how I would, if you guys weren't here, here's what I would say. Okay, this is what I'm going to have you do. I'm going to have you get on this stool, I want you to put one leg higher, one leg lower, and just be comfortable, lean out on that arm, okay? Put this hand real loose, look at the camera, you can pose GQ style, whatever, whatever you want, something like that. And so the key here is that he's going to have his legs uneven, so one on the bottom rung, and one, can you put your back leg up on the top one? And then drop your front one. Eh, you can put it back on the bottom rung, that's fine. Okay, so what I want is the reason that I don't, well, you can do it either way. I'm trying to figure out what leg to put up. If I put up this leg, now everything's in the front, know what I mean? All the posing is in the front, and it's more front heavy. In the back, it kind of opens up the pose. Just making sure he's not facing me, because then it's too open. So to the side is going to be better. So just like that. So in my list of what I can change for guys is I can change their walk, I can change their arms, and in a pose like this, put both your arms in front just comfortably, okay. I can kind of pose him like that, I can cross, can you cross this arm over for me? And put it underneath, okay. Put this hand right here, okay. Kind of do that. I can cross his arms. Okay? I can lean out just on this arm and put this hand kind of in your pocket. So like I'm just like fiddling okay, so I can put his arms crossed. I can put one arm out, I can put it in his pocket. I kind of know the things that work. I can put one hand to his face. SO I'm just moving the things I know that work, pocket would work, crossed works, face works. And so I'm just, I get the shapes, and then I just kind of modify. If I wanted him to be able to have this leg on the floor to make it even more dramatic, I would scoot his butt up, because if I scoot him up, then he can actually put that leg on the floor versus if he's sitting back he can't reach it, and so it depends on the stool you have. So I'm going to take a couple pictures just like that. That looks, see, like that's cool and confident, he looks good. Do you agree? Do you look cool and confident? (laughter) (shutter snaps) And can you turn this arm in? Good. Couple things that I watch out for too. Doesn't look bad on him. But arms straight at camera, so sometimes I'll turn them in. Versus at camera. And if it also makes for a guy, you know, if they got a little muscle, it kind of gives them an opportunity to flex it if they want. I don't know (laughter). You're like okay. Alright, and then hand to face for one for me. And just like soft, yeah, and you can, perfect, perfect. (shutter snaps) And we zoom in for one more. Good. (shutter snaps) Good. I think that all tethered okay. Perfect. Alright, so those would be some go to poses. Just need a stool, vary the level, pretty simple for guys. Okay, so the next thing that I'm going to do, is I'm going to sit him on the ground, okay? So you ready? Okay, fix. And sit comfortably, whatever, pretend you're watching TV, if you watch TV on the ground. I have a true story, like when I moved into my New York City apartment, like at one point I didn't have furniture for like five months. So we watched TV on the floor, it was okay. It's comfortable. Alright, let's take a loot at this. Okay. So I had him just sit. So taking a look, not too bad, there's a few things that I would tweak. For example, his legs are maybe coming a little bit too much towards camera. Can we just scoot your legs that way just a little bit. Alright, so that hand that he has tucked under his leg, looks like unsure. So I'm going to have you cross it across your stomach, okay, just something like that. So you could very much start like that, or, can you put that hand out on your knee? Or something like that. One I'm looking at is saying okay, I let him get comfortable, what can I tweak so that he's not a blob? What can I do to give his hands and his arms something to do? That's kind of how I think of it. So let me shoot one like this for you. Are you comfortable? Yeah. Okay, you look comfortable. Alright, perfect. And I have no idea how this light is, so we're just gonna guess. (shutter snaps) Okay. Perfect. And make sure you're not leaning too much. Yeah, you can sit up a little straighter for me. Good. And pull up the top of your head just a little bit. Perfect, and now put your chin out, and down, just a little, great. So you kind of see the difference? It wasn't huge, but I definitely saw a little difference in his posture there, and we do one more closer. (shutter snaps) Good. Perfect. Alright. And so while I have them sitting on the floor, can you lean out? Good. He did the pose, like he's not a model, are you? (laughter) He could be, I don't know. Alright, it's okay. I don't really know, but I didn't direct him in any way shape or form, I just said lay down on your elbow and that's what guys do and it looks good for a pose. So that's something, and because I already had his arm crossed over, it kind of frames his torso and his face. He posed great. One of the problem things that people might do, I'll pose a problem in a second. Can you bring your hands a little closer together, just a little bit. Good, just like that. (shutter snaps) Perfect, and one more. (shutter snaps) Okay, great. So one of the problem things which he didn't do, would be, could you bring your hand straight out towards camera at me? Yeah, would be something like this. This would be bad. Can you see? You'll see this in the next shot. He has foreshortening going on, because his hand came towards camera. So it just looks awkward, and people will definitely do that, because when you lean down, it's actually a little bit more stable to have your arm out like that, and so guys will do that, so I have to tilt their arm in, but he was already like pro model, (laughter) so I didn't really have to do anything. Okay, so we're going to do two more, and I'm going to do sitting. Can I have a normal chair please. Yeah, just a chair with a back. Okay. Can you answer a question? Yeah. He has both of his arms in fists. Yeah, so can you go back to the last pose guys? Whoever's on? You're okay with that? Is it just okay for guys to be, because we just talked about the girls, like they just have to have like open hands. Yeah, sure, guys are okay with fists, just as long as they're not clenched fists, yeah. Like calm fists. Is that a thing? Calm fists? Yeah. One of the poses, his hand was a right angle, is that okay with guys? It's not ideal, but as long as they're not weight, like fully rest in their arm, and you don't want to have, yeah, as long as it's set. Like I'd rather have them not put too much weight, but as long as it's not a ton of weight. So he was okay. Just tweak it a little bit. Alright, so, thank you. So the next thing. Well, I'll do a before after. First, will you take a seat, and will you, actually, will you scoot forward just a little bit for me? Okay. Okay, alright. So the next thing is with guys, as I said, actually will you face me straight on. I'm going to demo a bad thing. Okay, sit all the way back totally comfortable. Okay, he loses his jaw line. So you'll be able to see this. He's like awesome, awesome. Okay. (shutter snaps) Okay, not lean forward towards me and sit up straight. Good, and then chin out and down just right there, good. Okay, watch the difference between these two, and it's a little bit dark. And I'm actually, because it's going to be on the shadow side of the face I might, yeah, it's on the shadow side of the face, so I'm actually going to have to switch so you can see a little better. Can you lean back one more time? Guys, I'm going to do that same thing but with the, yeah, and can you actually turn your head this way this time? Okay, and lean back and look at me. Okay, now lean forward chin out and down. But I need the head this way, good, and chin down. (shutter snaps) See? And then where's my leaning. And so like it becomes a little bit more prevalent. And this body language, see how he's leaning forward? He's not slouching forward, he leaned forward. So what leaning forward does for guys, or for men's posing, is it communicates that word I said I didn't like before. It communicates dominance and confidence. You know, but okay, you get the point. So often with a guy, even if it's a tight photograph, I will get it so you can tell that they're leaning because it is that leaning in towards the camera look there. And then he could do the same thing if he wanted to you know, hand, all those things. Can you just do a little bit of hand to the side? Alright, so I'm going to show you a couple things. Alright, so taking a look at his hand to his face. (shutter snaps) It's not too bad. It's a little bit centered. I'm more of a fan of a little bit off to the side. Or, hand back a little bit. When his hand's to the front of his face, it blocks his face and it becomes the lightest thing, so he moves his hand back just a little bit, it obscures it just a little more. So I'm gonna have you do that same thing, good. And I'm gonna have you face that way just a little bit, good. And make your hand a little more of a fist. Good. And head towards me a tiny bit. (shutter snaps) Oh, let me try that again. Okay, try one more time. (shutter snaps) Perfect. Okay, so, those are basics. We got the walking. We had him laying down. We had him on a stool. So I'm going to do one more with a chair. I'm going to have you turn it around. I want to do like three more, but I'm holding it in. Okay. For guys with a chair, a lot of times they feel pretty comfortable, and I have them do one or two things. I have them sit so that they can just lean. Okay? Gives arms up, something like that, or they can actually straddle it and do the same thing. Usually a little bit of a lean is fine. So would you give me a demo for that? Good, perfect. And so it's gonna kind of, just like that. Comfortable, he looks cool, calm and collected. So none of these are like profound men's poses, but they're like the essentials. If you have these, like if you're photographing a groom and you have five minutes to do the groom shots, you're not going to do more than these. Like, well I wouldn't do the sitting one on the ground either but you get to these right away. So I'm going to take a picture of this shot, perfect. Can you fist your hand for me? There you go, perfect. (shutter snaps) (shutter snaps) And can you turn your chair around to me one more time? Oh, sorry the regular way. Okay, so chair's never straight towards camera. That's fine. Would you take a seat? Cross your leg over. (laughter) You look uncomfortable. Do you want to cross the other leg over? Yeah. Yeah, that's better. That's better. Also, with the other leg crossed over depending on your angle, you know, it's a little more lady like, I don't know. That looks good. Okay, and rest your hand on that knee. Good. And I'm going to have you, okay, so what I'm doing, is I'm going to give him a little bit of shape. Okay, he was sitting back too far. I'm going to have him lean forward, but then this arm looks confused, so I'm going to have him tuck it across. And then I'm just gonna have you rest this, do you mind? Just like rest comfortable. Doesn't need to be doing something special. So I'm like trying to shape him. I'm saying alright, okay, so he's sitting. Do debonair leg cross, okay. Come towards camera. It's got that confidence thing going on. Alright, I need his arms to look comfortable. What can I do? I don't want it at camera. I don't want it like really tight to his leg, I want it to be comfortable, and that arm didn't look like it knew what it wanted to do so I cross it in front. So it's like I'm kind of building things. So, if I could summarize that, I'm going to summarize the guy's section so we can wrap that up. To summarize the guys' section, what you have to work with are sitting, standing, laying and leaning. If you memorize one pose for those, all you need to do is tweak. And you just tweak and you pay attention to their hands, you pay attention to their jaw line. Make sure their hands and arms have been directed, otherwise it is very obvious. Never have them lean back. Always have them lean forward. So I am definitely doing more men's posing tomorrow, but that would be my, if I have to give you just, what was that, 20 minutes? A little more? If I had to give you like 20 minutes of how to pose a guy, it would be it. Okay. I got a couple quick questions about posing dudes if you want. We have Louis R. who is wondering if the pose that you just demonstrated with the hand to the chin, whether that pose can be used if the guy's arm is really hairy, and the hand is actually lighter than the arm? Because you know that puts a lot more light there. It depends on if you like that. (laughter) I mean, you can still do it, but, it depends on if hair bothers you. That's all I can really say. By the way, I had to get a shot of this for the posing gun. So let me just grab a shot. (shutter snaps) Good, and one more. (shutter snaps) Okay, cool. Cool. And then one more question from W.H.P., with arms crossed- Yes. What do you do with the hands? Do you want both of them to be visible? Do you want them sticking out, up, down, help us cross our arms would you? So my rule of thumb is that it doesn't really matter as long as it's not distracting. So if a guy's wearing a black suit and you can see both hands, and all you see are hands because he's wearing a black suit, then maybe kind of ball it up and hide them. But if it's against their bare skin, it doesn't matter. So it's more of if it's a distraction handle it, otherwise just whatever they're comfortable with if fine. And it's funny because the angle that you're standing at me, when you put your arms under, they were just like little finger nubs sticking out, and from earlier, I remember that is something that you would probably be concerned about right? Right? So if you saw finger nubs sticking out, then I would tell them to ball their fist, and then you wouldn't see it anymore. Plus, then they have that whole pushing the muscles out thing that they love.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Bridal Couples
Bridal Parties
Couples - Different Height.
Female Seniors
Folding - HowTo
Male Seniors
Mature Couples
Mature Men
Mature Women
Parents Children
Plus Size
Same Sex-Female
Same Sex-Male
Women Posing

Ratings and Reviews


I would highly recommend this class! I have been shooting for some time now and I've been pretty satisfied with my pictures from each session. A few weeks ago, I happened upon this class and thought it would be nice to get some new ideas. I then took the ideas from this class and applied them to a maternity shoot. I must say it took my pictures from good to amazing!!!! My clients bought them all😊 Thank you Creative Live for offering such amazing classes to help any level of photographer learn and grow!

Ruth Ganev

Lindsay is such a great teacher. She doesn't overcomplicate things - so that you can really learn. She also reviews things again and again - only in different contexts - that make total sense. I have learned so much from watching this course of lessons. I went to a natural lighting portrait workshop a couple of weekends ago - and was able to put into action what I have learned. The models loved my photos, too. She keeps things moving, is clear and to the point. I highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to become better at posing. It is so rewarding to look back at my previous photos and understand what doesn't work and why, and also to see things improving. She is a natural teacher - the course is not boring - you will learn tons!

Maya Tleubergen

I really love it! Thank you, thank you, Lindsay! Beautiful girl with a huge talent to teach! I absolutely love it! Worth every penny!

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