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Posing 101: Men

Lesson 3 of 5

Essential Male Poses

Lindsay Adler

Posing 101: Men

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

3. Essential Male Poses

Lesson Info

Essential Male Poses

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, (light creaking) all right, almost, hmm, good, we'll try that, all right perfect! And take a little step this way. Great, all right, 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, 'kay, 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, like, thoughtful? Versus this is a little more confused? Let's talk about hands. All right so first of all, crossing arms is totally fine, give me an arm cross. Okay. And when he, 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. 'Cause 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. (laughing) (audience laughing) Excellent. Um, okay, so next let's talk about hands in pocket. All right, so what you wanna 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 like 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, it looks great, except for I don't usually tuck 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 all I want you to do is exactly how you are, just like you're taking kind of a step towards me. See how I'm kind of like rocking forward, like that? And he automatically likely kinda 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 wanna get a little more creative, or have a little bit more energy, I'll actually have them step towards me, and so they'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 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 I'm gonna, couple shots, let me give this a test and see how it goes. (camera beeping) And I'm gonna have you stand flat-footed first, all right, good. (camera beeping) And hands out, this is bad, this is bad pose, flat-foot, okay, bad pose, good. (camera beeping) (laughing) (camera clicking) That was good, wait, do that, do it again now. (camera clicking) (laughing) (audience laughing) Oh, oh dear. (chuckling) That was, I mean, a thing. Okay! Um, the-- I don't wanna look. Don't wanna look, don't look. Um, okay. So now-- (laughing) (audience laughing) It's cute, you look like a comedian. (model laughing) (audience laughing) I can see that, right? Um, okay, so, hand in your pocket. All right, so I'm gonna step back here for a second. And stand totally flat-foot, even weight, okay? So this is even weight... (camera beeping) And that background's a little short for me... (camera clicking) Let me see how this looks... All right, I'm gonna probably just go right, I don't wanna, well I don't need to go back, I just don't wanna stick my butt in... (chucking) Okay so just warning you it's gonna happen. (audience laughing) (laughing) I don't know if I can really change it, I'm just gonna, let you know. (audience laughing) Okay. (camera beeping) All right so let's try this. (camera clicking) Okay, so pretty flat-foot, we'll see in a second. And now I'm gonna have you kinda do the walk and lean towards me. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Good. And take one step back for me, just a little bit. Good! And the walk and lean. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Good. And I'm gonna actually have you put that foot a little bit further behind, like, tuck it behind your other leg, yeah right there. So do your walk and lean, but just totally comfortable. So literally step towards me. (camera beeping) Okay I'm ready. (camera clicking) Good. So this picture, to me is like, you see this a lot with men's magazines, they're like, walkin' towards you, okay? So that is like, super basic, men's pose. Okay. Um. Will you cross your arm for me for one, turn sideways, little less, and so what I'm looking for is I don't want him to be straight-on 'cause it's really boxy, so I'm having him turn a little bit towards the side and lean towards me, just a little bit more dynamic, and it, like, this is boxy, and then this is really narrow. So I'm picking something in between. Good. Just like that. (camera beeping) and his hands are good (camera clicking) 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's like, super basic men's essentials. All right, next one, okay, I will sit you on this. Okay. And I, this is how I would, if you guys weren't here, here's what I would say. Okay, this is what I'm gonna have you do. I'm gonna have you get on this, 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, you know, GQ style, whatever, you know, whatever you want. Something like that. And so the key here is that he's gonna have his legs uneven. So one on the bottom rung and put one, can you put your back leg up on the top one? And then drop your front one. Mm, 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 what leg to put up. If I put up this leg, now everything's in the front. You know what I mean? All the posing is in the front, and it's more front-heavy, and the back, it kind of opens up the pose, just making sure he's not facing me, 'cause then it's too open. Go to the side, it's gonna 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, um, put both your arms in front, just comfortably, 'kay. I can kinda pose him like that, I can cross, (stool scraping) can you cross this arm over for me? And put it underneath. 'Kay, put this hand right here, okay, kinda do that, I can cross his arms, Okay? I can lean out just on this arm and put this hand kinda 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 kinda know the things that work. I can put one hand to his face. So I'm just moving the things I know that work, pockets work, crossed works, face works. And so I'm just, I get the shapes, and then I just kinda 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, 'cause 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 gonna take a couple pictures just like that, that looks, see, like that's cool and confident, he looks good. Do you agree? You look cool and confident? (laughing) (model laughing) (audience laughing) (camera beeping) (camera clicking) And, uh, can you turn this arm in? Good. Couple things that I watch out for too, it didn't look bad on him, but arms straight at camera, so sometimes I'll turn them in, versus at camera. And it also makes, for a guy, you know, if they got a little muscle, kinda gives them an opportunity to flex it if they want. I dunno. (audience laughing) Guys like... (laughing) (camera beeping) If you like, okay. (camera clicking) All right, (camera clicking) and then hand to face for one, for me. And just like soft, yeah, and you can, perfect, perfect. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) And I'm gonna zoom in for one more. Good. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Good! I think that all tethered okay. Perfect. Alright. So those would be some go-to poses, just needs 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? You ready? Okay, perfect. And, sit comfortably. Whatever, pretend you're watchin' TV. If you watch TV on the ground. (audience laughing) (model laughing) 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. All right, let's take a look. Mmhmm. 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. Could we, scoot your legs that way just a little bit? All right, so that hand that he has tucked under his leg, looks, like, unsure. So I'm gonna have you cross it across your stomach. Okay? So 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. What 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. You comfortable? Yeah. Okay. You look comfortable. All right. Perfect. And I have no idea how this light is, so we're just gonna guess... (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Okay. Perfect. And make sure you're not leaning too much, yeah, you can sit up a little straighter for me? Good. (camera beeping) And pull up to the top of your head, just a little bit. Perfect. And now put your chin out, and down. Just a little. Great. So you can kinda see the difference. It wasn't huge, but I definitely saw a little difference in his posture there. (camera clicking) and I'm gonna do one more closer. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Good. Perfect. All right, and so while I have them sitting on the floor, can you lean out? Good. He did the pose with a, he's not a model, are you? (model laughing) (audience laughing) You could be, I dunno. All right (laughing). Okay. (audience laughing) 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 he already had his arm crossed over, it kinda frames his torso and his face. Um, he posed great, one of the problem things that people might do, let me, 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. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Perfect, and one more, (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Okay, great. So one of the problem things which he didn't do, would be, can you bring your hand straight out towards the camera at me? Yeah. Would be something like this, this would be bad. Can you see, (camera beeping) you'll see this in the next shot... (camera clicking) his foreshortening going on? Because his hand came towards camera. So it just looks awkward, and a lot, 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, he was already like, pro model, so... (audience laughing) I didn't really have to do anything. Okay, so we're gonna do two more, and I'm going to do sitting. Can I have a normal chair please? Yeah, just a chair with a back. [Woman In Audience] Excuse me, I have a question? Yeah? Uh, he has both of his arm, in, are fists. Yes, so he's, can you go back to the next, last pose, guys? Whoever's on... yeah. [Woman In Audience] You're okay with that? I just, like, okay for guys to be hands in fists... because we, just like talked about the girls they just, like, they have to have open hands... Yeah, sure, guys are okay with fists, just as long as they're not clenched-- [Woman In Audience] Okay, no clenching, oh okay. Yeah. Like, calm fists. Is that a thing? Calm fists. Yeah? (audience laughing) Um, one of the poses, his hand was a right angle-- Yeah. Is that okay with guys? Um, it's not ideal, but as long as they're not weight, like fully resting on their arm, and you don't wanna 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. Okay. Just, tweak it a little bit. All right, so, thank you. So the next thing, well, I'll do a before-after. First will you take a seat? And will you, uh, actually will you scoot forward just a little bit for me? Okay. (chair scraping) Okay. All right. So the next thing is, with guys, as I said, actually will you face me straight on? I'm gonna demo a bad thing. (chair scraping) Okay, sit all the way back, totally comfortable. Okay, he loses his jawline. So you'll be able to see this. He's like "awesome!" (audience laughing) (model laughing) Awesome. Okay. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Okay, now lean forward towards me, and sit up straight, good, and then chin out and down, just right there, good. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) 'Kay, watch the difference between these two, and it's a little bit dark. And I actually, 'cause it's gonna be on the shadow side of the face, I might... yeah it's on the shadow side of the face so actually I'm gonna have to switch so you can see a little better. Can you lean back one more time? Guys I'm gonna do that same thing but with the... yeah. And can you just turn your head this way this time? Okay, and lean back, (camera beeping) and look at me (camera clicking) okay now lean forward, chin out and down, but I need the head this way, and chin down. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Let's see... and then where's my leaning? And so, like, it becomes a little bit more prevalent, versus, and this body language, see how he's leaning forward, he's not slouching forward, he leans 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, communicates like, dominance and confidence, er, you know, but even if it, okay, you get the point. Um, so often with a guy, even if it's a tight photograph, I will get it so that you can tell that they're leaning, because it is that leaning in towards the camera look there. And then you can 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? All right, so I'm gonna show a couple of things. All right, so taking a look at his hand to his face, it's not too bad, it's a little bit centered. I'm more of a fan of, like, 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 you're gonna do that same thing, good. (camera beeping) And I'm gonna have you face that way, just a little bit, good. And make your hand a little bit more of a fist, good. (camera beeping) And head towards me a tiny bit... (camera beeping) (camera clicking) (camera beeping) Oh, let me try that again. (camera beeping) Okay, try one more time. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Perfect. Okay. So, those are basics. We got the walking, we had him laying down, we had him on a stool, so I'm gonna do one more with the chair. I'm gonna have you turn it around... I want to do like three more, but I'm holding it in, okay. Um, 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? Give the 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 try, uh, a demo for that? Good. Perfect. And so it's gonna kinda, just like that, comfortable, he looks cool, calm and collected. So none of these are, like, profound men's poses, but they are 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 gonna do more than these, well, I wouldn't do the sitting one on the ground either, but, you get to these right away. So I'm gonna take a picture of this shot, perfect. (camera beeping) And can you fist your hand for me? There you go, perfect. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) (camera beeping) (camera clicking) and can you turn your chair around to me one more time? Um, 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... (audience laughing) You look uncomfortable. Do you wanna cross the other leg over? Yeah. Yeah that's better. That's better. Um, also, with the other leg crossed over, depending on your angle, you know... (audience laughing) it's a little more ladylike. (laughing) That looks good, okay and rest your hand on that knee, good. And I'm gonna have you, so okay, so what I'm doing is I'm gonna give him a little bit of shape, 'kay, he was sitting back too far, I'm gonna have him lean forward, but then this arm looks confused, so I'm gonna have him tuck it across. And then I'm just gonna have you like rest this, do you mind? Yeah. Just like, rest, comfortable. Doesn't need to be doing something special. So I'm like trying to shape him, I'm saying all right, so he's sitting. Do the debonair leg-cross. Okay. Come towards camera, he's got that confidence thing going on. All right, I need his arms to look comfortable. What can I do? I don't wanna at-camera, I don't want it 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 crossed it in front. So it's like I'm kinda building things. So if I could summarize that, I'm gonna summarize the guy's section so we can wrap that up. To summarize the guy's 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 jawline, 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 had to give you just, what was that, twenty minutes, little more? If I had to give you like twenty minutes of how to pose a guy, it would be it. Okay. Got a couple quick questions about-- Yes. posing dudes, if you want, we have Louise R, who is wondering if the pose that you just demonstrated with the hand to the chin, whether that pose can be used with, (camera clicking) if the guy's arm is really hairy, and the hand is actually lighter than the arm. Um... Because that, you know, puts a lot more light there... I mean, it depends on if you like that... (laughing) I mean, you can still do it, but, it depends on if hair bothers you... Sure. Okay. Yeah that's all I can really say. Um by the way, I had to get a shot of this, for the posing guide, so let me just grab a shot... (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Good, and one more. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Okay. Cool. Cool. And then one more question from WHP: 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. Certainly, so my, 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 kinda 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, it's fine. And it's funny 'cause the angle that you're standing at me when you put your arms under, there were just like, little finger nubs sticking out. (audience laughing) and from earlier, I remember that is something 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, saying, like hello... (audience laughing)

Class Description

Not getting the shots you want when posing men? Join fashion photographer and CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler for the basics of posing men that will allow you to expand your posing repertoire and experiment with confidence.

Lindsay will show you the basic foundations to posing and 5 easy to follow guidelines for posing men. During live photo shoots, you will learn essential males poses that you can implement in just about any situation. You’ll learn how to work with and pose high school seniors, mature men and how to get the best expression, body language and image possible.

A great portrait starts with great posing. Whether you’re a novice photographer wanting a step-by-step plan to follow in your shoots or an establish pro wanting new tricks, this course will let you walk into a shoot and pose your male subjects with confidence.

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Elena Khlystun

Excellent tutorial, Lindsay is the best teacher!

a Creativelive Student

Very good - just wish I'd realised it was actually part of the posing 101 big course by Lindsey - (which I already owned) and not a stand-alone course before buying it!


Very clear guidelines on What To Do.....thank You!