Portrait Photography

25 Male Poses to Use for Pictures

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Written By Nate Torres

I admit, males are difficult to pose in front of the camera sometimes.

Being a portrait photographer myself, when I stand in front of the camera, I feel like a caveman not knowing what to do with my hands.

Because of my desire not to be a caveman, I have studied and created a collection of go-to male poses I like to use during photoshoots for my male subjects.

Well in this guide, I’ll be sharing all 25 of my favorite male poses so you can copy them.

And if you prefer video version, watch the video I made on this topic:

25 Best Male Poses - How to Pose Men
Male Poses Video

Let’s dive in.

25 Male Poses for Pictures

Here are the 25 most popular male poses for pictures.

1. Both Hands in Pocket

The first male pose is to put both hands in pocket.

This is a classic look and is easy to pull off.

Just have your subject stand straight and face the camera and have them put both hands in their pocket.

They can either put the whole hand in or leave the thumb out (I prefer whole hand):

male putting both hands in pocket posing in front of camera
Hands in Pocket Male Pose

2. One Hand in Pocket

The second male pose is to put one hand in pocket.

You can have your subject stand straight on to the camera or be slightly angled (around 30-45 degrees) and just have them put one hand in their pocket.

Their other hand could rest on their leg or you can have them place it on something to look more casual like an arm rest of sorts:

male posing with one hand in pocket
One Hand in Pocket Male Pose

3. Arms Crossed

The third male pose is arms crossed.

This is a great pose for looking confident yet casual.

This pose is also great for business photos.

To do this one, have your subject angle their feet about 45 degrees from the camera.

Once they do that, have them cross their arms and then turn their collarbone and face towards the camera:

male crossing arms in front of camera
Crossing Arms Male Pose

4. Leaning Back on Wall

The fourth male pose is to have your subject lean their back on the wall.

With their weight on the back of a wall, they can place one leg up and rest it against the wall to create a casual look.

They can then place both hands in pocket, one hand in pocket, or have them play with their outfit:

male leaning with his back on the wall
Leaning on Wall (Front) Male Pose

5. Leaning Sideways on Wall

The fifth male pose is to lean sideways on the wall.

Have your subject lean one of their shoulders on the wall and face the camera.

They can place both hands in pocket, one hand in pocket, or adjust their outfit:

male leaning sideways on wall facing the camera
Leaning on Wall (Sideways) Male Pose

6. Leaning Back Hands Spread Out

The sixth male pose is to have your subject lean back on something with their hands spread out.

This is a great pose for creating a powerful, yet relaxed posture.

Have your subject place their feet shoulder-width apart and then place their hands on something behind them like a rail:

male leaning back with both hands spread
Leaning Both Hands Spread Male Pose

7. Resting Arm on Wall

The seventh male pose is to have your subject rest their arm on the wall.

To create this look, it’s similar to resting their shoulder on the wall, but have them place their arm up this time.

Have the subject place it either head-level or a little bit above — whatever feels natural to them:

male leaning shoulder on wall
Reclining on Wall Male Pose

8. Outfit Adjustment

The eighth male pose is the outfit adjustment.

To capture this pose, have your subject adjust their outfit like a jacket button or collar and then capture them mid-pose.

You want this pose to look organic and not “posed”:

man adjusting his suit jacket
Adjusting Outfit Male Pose

9. Watch Adjustment

The ninth pose is the watch adjustment.

This pose is very similar to the previous one in terms of capturing a “candid” moment.

You’ll want to have your subject start adjusting their watch and you’ll want to be capturing as many shots as possible.

To capture this image, I told my subject to adjust his watch, and then I said “okay look at me” and then I took the photo:

man adjusting his watch with a suit on
Adjusting Watch Male Pose

10. Tie Adjustment

The tenth male pose is the tie adjustment.

Similar to the previous two poses — candidness is the name of the game.

Tell your subject to adjust his tie and then click away:

man adjusting his suit tie
Adjusting Tie Male Pose

11. The Lean In

The 11th male pose is the lean in.

I love this pose for business headshots.

To do this one, have your subject angle 45 degrees away from the camera and lean their shoulders and face into the camera.

To make sure this pose and image is effective, make sure you capture the eyes in sharp focus:

male leaning into the camera during a pose
Leaning In Male Pose

12. Mid-Stride

The 12th male pose is to capture your subject mid-stride.

This is another pose that makes your subject look very candid.

To do this one, have your subject face 90 degrees from the camera and start walking.

As they’re walking, take a bunch of shots and make sure to set your camera to a focus mode that will capture motion like AI Servo (I shoot on Canon) and place your focus point on their face:

male walking posing in front of the camera
Walking Male Pose

13. Walking on Phone

The 13th male pose is to have them walking while talking on the phone.

This pose is very similar to the previous one, except now have them hold a phone up to their ear like they’re on the phone.

The goal of this pose is to make them look busy or important and that you caught them “off-guard”:

man walking while talking on the phone and looking at camera
Walking on Phone Pose

14. Jacket Over the Shoulder

The 14th male pose is the jacket over the shoulder pose.

To do this one, have your subject face the camera and to hold a jacket over their shoulder.

You’ll want them to hold it with two fingers on the back of the collar and to drape it over the back of their shoulder.

This pose is a great casual or laidback pose while still looking semi-professional like he just got off work:

man posing with a jacket over his shoulder
Jacket Over the Shoulder Pose

15. Hands on Tailbone

The 15th male pose is the hands on tailbone pose otherwise known as hands behind hips pose.

To do this one, have your subject face the camera and place their hands behind their hips.

This pose is great for opening up their chest and shoulders and conveying a sense of openness:

man posing with his hands behind his hips
Hands Behind the Hips Pose

16. Arm Rest Lean

The 16th male pose is the arm rest lean.

To do this one, have your subject face the camera and simply rest their arm on a nearby arm rest.

The other hand can be in their pocket or dangling on their leg.

This is a great relaxed-looking pose:

man leaning his arm on an arm rest
Leaning on Arm Rest Pose

17. Rubbing Hands

The 17th male pose is the rubbing hands pose.

This is a great pose for giving off a look of contemplation or decision-making.

To do this one, have your subject face their feet at a slight angle towards the camera (about 30 degrees).

Then have them face their collabone and face towards the camera while they are rubbing their hands.

You can either tell them to rub their hands and capture multiple shots or have them hold the pose mid hand-rub (that sounds weird but you know what I mean):

male rubbing his hands for a pose
Hand Rub Pose

18. Hand Behind Neck

The 18th male pose is the hand behind the neck pose.

This is a great pose to give off a casual and cool, relaxed vibe.

To do this one, have your subject face the camera and have them place their hand behind their neck with a slight lean in their neck.

When doing this one, make sure their elbow isn’t flared out in the front too much.

You’ll want to make their their elbow stays somewhat close to their body:

man resting his hand behind his neck
Hand on Neck Pose

19. Standing Grasping Hands

The 19th male pose is standing grasping hands.

To do this pose, have your subject stand straight in front of the camera and grasp their hands in front of them.

You’ll want them to interlock their fingers but make sure it’s not too tight:

man standing with grasped hands in front of his body
Standing Hands Grasped Male Pose

20. Sitting Leaning Into Arms

The 20th male pose is a sitting pose called the sitting leaning into arms pose.

To do this pose, have your subject sit down and rest both of their elbows on their knees.

They’ll then want to lean forward.

This is a great pose for giving off a relaxed, yet professional look.

You can either do this pose with the subject facing straight on to the camera or at a slight angle such as in this photo I took:

man sitting on bench leaning on his arms
Leaning Into Arms Male Pose

21. Sitting One Knee Up

The 21st male pose is to sit with one knee up.

To do this pose, have your subject sit and lean back on something such as a tree or a wall.

Then have them put one knee up while the other leg stays on the ground stretched out.

Have them place an elbow or forearm on the knee thats up.

This is a great pose for giving off a casual and relaxed look:

man sitting with one knee up resting his hand on his knee
One Knee Up Male Pose

22. Sitting Chin Resting on One Hand

The 22nd male pose is to sit with their chin resting on one hand.

To do this pose, have the subject sit down on something elevated so you can photograph at eye-level.

Then have them place their elbow on one knee and rest their chin on that hand.

Make sure they aren’t “smushing” their chin on their hand and that it rests lightly:

man sitting on stairs with their chin resting on one hand
Sitting One Hand on Chin Male Pose

23. Sitting With Staggered Legs

The 23rd male pose is to sit with staggered legs.

To do this pose, have your subject sit on stairs or something elevated so they can stagger their legs and place them on different levels.

From there, have him place his arm on one leg with the other hand grabbing his hand.

This pose will give a very casual and relaxed look but can also look very professional depending on setting and outfit:

man sitting with staggered legs
Sitting Staggered Legs Male Pose

24. Sitting Hands Grasped

The 24th male pose is to sit with hands grasped.

Similar to the standing with hands grasped pose except this time they are sitting.

Have them face straigt on to the camera and then rest both of their arms on their knees while grasping their hands.

This pose is easy to do on the stairs this way they can raise their legs up on a higher step making it easier and more comfortable to put their arms on their knees:

man sitting on stairs with hands grasped
Sitting Hands Grasped Male Pose

25. Thinking Pose

The 25th and final male pose is the thinking pose.

This pose is similar to the one hand resting on chin pose except now the chin is resting on both hands.

To do this pose, have your subject rest their elbows on a surface such as a platform or their knees.

Then have him lean forward into the camera while placing his chin on both hands.

Make sure he doesn’t press his chin too hard on his hands to create a smushed skin look:

man posing by putting his chin on both hands
The Thinker Male Pose

And that’s my 25 favorite male poses!

I hope you guys enjoyed this guide, as mentioned earlier, if you’d like the male posing walkthrough and some more visual examples, be sure to watch the video in the beginning of this guide!

Posing Tips for Men

Here’s the same exact posing walkthrough I give to my male clients before the photoshoot.

I’ve found starting off the session with this quick walkthrough is not only beneficial for the client, but it also puts them at ease.

Here’s why that’s important:

This will make them feel more comfortable, resulting in better-looking photos.

It also makes you look a lot more professional that you know what you’re doing, which is always good.

And feel free to copy this in your next session or adapt it to suit your own style.

1. The Feet

I always like to first stand in front of my subject so they can mirror me.

I like to break the body down into sections starting first with the feet, the collarbone, the head, and the hands.

I start with the feet first because that’s the base of our body.

We can set up all different variants of poses starting with the feet.

So when it comes to the feet, it’s about two things, angle and weight distribution.

Angle

Starting first with the angles.

The main angles you have are 0 degrees facing straight on to the camera, 45 degrees from the camera, and 90 degrees from the camera:

0 Degree Angle Posing
0 Degree Angle Posing
45 Degree Angle Posing
45 Degree Angle Posing
90 Degree Angle Posing
90 Degree Angle Posing

You have all the other angles in between at your disposal as well, such as 30 degrees, 60 degrees, etc.

But it’s just easier to remember these main ones of 0, 45, and 90.

And you can go both ways with this of course.

Weight Distribution

Second, you have weight distribution.

You can either choose to place weight equal on both feet, or have more weight on your right foot or on your left foot.

When you’re facing straight on to the camera this does not really matter.

Now when you’re facing 45 degrees or 90 degrees, the choice of foot you choose to put weight on will be either your back foot or your front foot:

Standing on Front Foot
Standing on Front Foot
Standing on Back Foot
Standing on Back Foot

Depending on how you crop your image will impact how your photo looks.

For example:

Whether you’re getting a full body shot, a knee up shot, a waist up shot, etc.

Some crops look better with certain weight distributions as we’ll see later.

I’m going to cover each variation, but let me also quickly cover the collarbone, head, and hands.

2. The Collarbone

So once your feet are planted in a certain angle with a specific weight distribution, think about which angle your collarbone is in.

Now I like to say collarbone opposed to waist.

I used to say waist and they would do a weird movement where their stomach moves but their shoulders don’t:

Moving Waist But Not Shoulders
Moving Waist But Not Shoulders

Because of this, I now like to say collarbone because when I say move your collarbone, then their shoulders follow along:

Shoulders Move With Collarbone
Shoulders Move With Collarbone

You can leave your collarbone in the same direction as your feet, or you can turn it to the camera or somewhere in between if you are angled:

Collarbone in Same Direction as Feet
Collarbone in Same Direction as Feet
Collarbone in Direction of Camera
Collarbone in Direction of Camera

3. The Head

Now moving on to the head, the main movements with the head are turning and tilting.

Similar to your collarbone, once your feet are planted a certain way, you can turn or tilt your head a certain way:

Turning or Tilting the Head
Turning or Tilting the Head

4. The Hands

Lastly, we have the hands.

I like to include the hands in my posing walkthrough because the most common question I get from clients is “what do I do with my hands.”

My go-to poses with the hands are putting them in your pocket, either both hands or one hand only, crossing your arms, playing with a watch, tie, or your outfit, touching your hair, grabbing behind your neck, intertwining fingers, or placing them on your tailbone:

Posing with Both Hands in Pocket
Posing with Both Hands in Pocket
Posing with One Hand in Pocket
Posing with One Hand in Pocket
Posing by Crossing Arms
Posing by Crossing Arms
Posing by Putting Hand Behind Neck
Posing by Putting Hand Behind Neck

And that’s each section – the feet, the collarbone, the head, and the hands.

I cover different variations of those sections in my video so be sure to watch that for that part.

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