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Posing 101: Men

Lesson 2 of 5

Male Posing Guidelines

Lindsay Adler

Posing 101: Men

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

2. Male Posing Guidelines

Lesson Info

Male Posing Guidelines

So, photographic men essentials. Number one, remember when photographing men that their shoulders define broadness. If you want them to look broader, face them more straight on towards the camera. If you want them to look narrower or skinnier, turn them to the side. Shoulders are how you control how their body looks. The next one is to avoid head tilt toward the camera. So, may I have this camera for example. For girls, it's okay to do a head tilt towards the camera. For guys, it comes across as feminine. So you want their heads to neutral or slightly back which comes off as a little bit standoffish or a little bit confident, but not towards camera. So that's something you want to watch out for. There's two major male posing guidelines. Number three major male posing guideline is give their hands something to do. Direct their hands whether it's in a pocket, whether it's posing on their face, whether it's fixing a jacket, whatever it is, make sure you've actually directed their hands. A...

nything that you can think of so they're not fiddling, nervous, or don't know what to do. Okay number four, chin out and down is good for men because it defines their jaw line. They want a nice crisp jaw line. Whatever pose they're doing, chin out and down is going to be stronger. And then finally, keep guys comfortable but watch their slouch. I find that guys tend to slouch more than girls in posing. They're a little less aware of it. So they don't have to be standing up straight, but if they slouch, you don't want them to have a curve in their spine. Just still have then pull up through their spine. The very basics of photographing men. Let's take a look at a couple of these examples. Want to look at the turn and tilt example for guys. So notice the example. But really, he's not doing... You clearly know it's not right, but you will see a lot of times in portraits where they don't quite know how to tilt the head and it tilts a little bit towards camera. Just neutral, or away. See how away is still okay as well. A little bit away it comes off as standoffish. You don't see the jaw line as much when it's away, but it still works. So it depends on what you're trying to communicate. It has more of a confidence to it. Hands and face. For photographing men, let's take a look at their arms first of all. So what you don't want to do is not tell them what to do. Generally, there's two things guys will do by default and they're totally fine and completely acceptable. They'll put their hand in their pocket, or they'll cross their arms. Both of them are fine. With the crossing of the arms what I would warn you is if they have a dress shirt on, or any type of more crisp shirt, crossing the arms wrinkles and all you see is wrinkles and folds of that clothing. That's generally if they're wearing, if a guy's posing in a nice white suit shirt. Avoid the arm cross. Maybe an arm up for a pose, but you're probably better off with a hand in the pocket or something that doesn't involve crunching the arms up. Usually photographs better. What you want to do is one of these, okay? All of these would be acceptable. The picture on the left is more thoughtful. The second one in, doesn't necessarily work in this photo, but a lot of times guy will hook their belt buckle or their belt loops, that's okay. I personally think it draws a little too much attention, and you don't need him to do it with both hands. You could just do it with one, to loop there. You could have one hand in his pocket. My favorite would be just the good old last one, but what you're watching for is he still has negative space, his hand is not tight up against his body. He's not flailing his elbow out. It's still kind of loose, and it's just calm and confident. That's usually what you're trying to achieve with guys. Guys care more about the cool factor than the pretty factor. So they want to feel cool and comfortable, versus girls wanting to make sure they look pretty. So that's what I'm focusing on when photographing men. We mentioned this before, the wedding caution. I tell people when I used to photograph weddings, the first thing I would say to guys, no matter when I'm photographing you, don't do this. Don't be standing there with your hands cupped together in the front, cuz it looks awkward. I always make a joke of it, and then I'm like "That's not what you want to see in a wedding album." And then they wouldn't do it. I would tell them even when we're photographing, even when they're standing at the altar, the groomsmen, so that I didn't have to have photos like that, I just tell them to be comfortable, hands at the side. Loose hands. Definitely watch out with that. Next, some tips for sitting. Guys like to sit and lean, a lot of times. That's part of the cool factor. If you have a guy standing, there are definitely some poses you can do. Arms crossed, hands in pocket, again the uneven weight on the feet that we talked about before. You don't want a guy usually standing flat footed. If you could just even do... For a girl it's a tilt outward tilt in. Guys it's just a little bit of weight off, kind of like he's stepping towards you. That's probably my favorite go-to, doesn't need to be complicated, men's pose. Is one hand in the pocket, and look like they're walking towards you. It's just nice and simple. But, guys also love sitting and leaning poses because when they're posing, there's no holding on to anything, it feels awkward, as soon as they're leaning, you know guys, lean up against the wall, they take a seat, they look so much more comfortable. So I would recommend allowing them to sit or lean and get comfortable in their element if you can. Of course if it's a more formal headshot, one of the solutions I have is I would have then so they can put their arms on a chair, or something, sit in a chair and cross their feet. Put their hand on their leg. Something so it's as if they're really sitting, or how they would really behave. So I have a couple tips here for sitting poses with men. So just general tips, and some of this is what we talked about already. Sit forward, and negative space. Meaning if they're sitting in a chair, don't just have them with their hands rested on their lap. Find ways to make shapes. So instead of sitting in that chair arms rested on their lap, maybe it's to the side with an arm up, or a hand up, or something that it's not just bunched up. Something to give you negative space. Depending on the guy, my next tip is avoid weight on their arms. Meaning if they're on the ground and they're posing really uncomfortably and they're trying to balance themselves, you can see it. The tension goes right up their arm and all the way to their neck. So it does matter for them to look a little more comfortable and less strained. And then the last one is if you're posing them in a chair or sitting, don't have their body towards the camera. Turn the chair towards the side so they can put their arm up and look back towards the camera, or if it's a chair towards the camera they're over it, or if they're sitting on the ground their body is to the side instead of at the camera. It has to do with foreshortening and negative space, and showing their form. So watch those things for sitting. So this is a sitting example, and this would be, the poses that I have on the right are personally two of my favorite go to men's poses. That's just me personally, there's nothing magical about them. But they're sitting, they look cool and confident. There's something a little more than just arms crossed, leaning towards camera, or hand in pocket, and they're pretty easy to do, and so I have stool here. And notice the reason that it's more dynamic, is because his feet are on different levels, and the picture on the right his hands are on different levels. So you get more dynamic. One of the points we made before is when feet are on the same level, it's a little more stable, but it's not as interesting, it's not as dynamic. There aren't as many triangles when that happens. When I popped his leg up, now we have triangles and negative space underneath his arms, and triangle and negative space created with his hand. This would be a go-to sitting pose. If you just have a regular stool, pretty simple. Most guys can do that. Next one, dos and don'ts for sitting. On the left, see how he's all balled up. It's kind of blob like versus if you looked on the right, has a little more shape, he could put his knee out more. That's not don't do just that pose, but avoid bunched up. Another one that I see in general is guys try to be cool, and they do the straight on towards camera, legs apart leaning. Even with guys, no crotch poses. That's why we were looking at that picture on the left quite honestly, if you're a girl your eyes go there eventually. (laughing) So, watch out for that. Your eyes definitely eventually go there. Notice on the pose on the right, that's not where your attention is drawn. It's drawn much more there on the pose on the left. So just watch out for that. So then here's another posing. This was my example often when I told guys to pose like if you were at home lying on the floor watching tv, or playing video games. Just be comfortable, pose on the floor, and I could tweak it to be something like this. And then they felt like it was their pose, or their idea, or it's something that they would already do, so it didn't feel like "Oh, she's posing me." It's "Okay, I'm comfortable, "let me tweak that pose a little bit."

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!