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Male posing tips

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...


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 the whole hand):

Man posing in street with both hands in pocket.
Hands in pocket male pose

2. One hand in pocket

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

You can have your subject stand straight 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 armrest of sorts:

Man 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, 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:

Man posing in suit with crossed arms.
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 a pocket, one hand in a pocket, or have them play with their outfit:

Man posing in suit face forward leaning on 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 a pocket, one hand in a pocket, or adjust their outfit:

Man posing in white dress shirt leaning sideways on wall.
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:

Man posing in blue suit 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:

Man posing in white dress shrit reclining 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, such as a jacket button or collar, and then capture them mid-pose. You want this pose to look organic and not "posed":

Man posing in suit adjusting his outfit.
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 posing in suit adjusting his watch.
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 posing in suit adjusting his 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, 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 are effective, make sure you capture the eyes in sharp focus:

Man posing in suit leaning in to the camera.
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, 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:

Man posing in windbreaker while walking with a bag.
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 posing in windbreaker while walking on phone with a bag.
Walking on phone pose

14. Jacket over the shoulder

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

To do this, have your subject face the camera and hold a jacket over their shoulder. You'll want them to hold it with two fingers on the back of the collar and 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 in white dress shirt with a jacket over the shoulder.
Jacket over the shoulder pose

15. Hands on tailbone

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

To do this, 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 in white dress shirt with his hands behind his hips.
Hands behind the hips male pose

16. Arm rest lean

The 16th male pose is the armrest lean.

To do this, have your subject face the camera and simply rest their arm on a nearby armrest. The other hand can be in their pocket or dangling on their leg. This is a great relaxed-looking pose:

Man posing in blue suit leaning his arm on an arm rest.
Leaning on arm rest male 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 collarbone and face towards the camera while they rub 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):

Man posing in purple sweather rubbing his hands.
Hand rub male 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, cool, relaxed vibe. To do this, 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 elbow stays somewhat close to their body:

Man posing in white dress shirt with hand on neck.
Hand on neck male pose

19. Standing grasping hands

The 19th male pose is standing, grasping hands.

To do this pose, have your subjects 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 posing in suit standing with his hands grasped.
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 pose is great for giving off a relaxed yet professional look. You can either do this pose with the subject facing straight onto the camera or at a slight angle, such as in this photo I took:

Man posing in blue suit sitting down leaning into 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 and stretched out.

Have them place an elbow or forearm on the knee that is up. This is a great pose for giving off a casual and relaxed look:

Man posing in red jacket sitting down with one knee up.
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 posing in suit sitting one hand on chin.
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 the setting and outfit:

Man posing in suit 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 straight into 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 on a higher step, making it easier and more comfortable to put their arms on their knees:

Man posing in suit sitting 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 in suit in the thinker pose.
The thinker male pose

And that's my 25 favorite male poses!


Posing tips for men

Here's the same posing walkthrough I give to my male clients before the photoshoot. I’ve found that starting the session with this quick walkthrough is beneficial for the client and also helps them feel 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 much more professional, and 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 style.

1. The feet

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

I like to divide the body into sections, starting 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 different poses, starting with the feet. So, regarding 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 onto the camera, 45 degrees from the camera, and 90 degrees from the camera:

Man posing at zero degree angle from the camera.
0-Degree angle posing
Man posing at 45 degree angle from the camera.
45-Degree angle posing
Man posing at 90 degree angle from the camera.
90-Degree angle posing

You also have all the other angles in between, such as 30 degrees, 60 degrees, etc. But it’s easier to remember these main ones: 0, 45, and 90. And you can go both ways with this, of course.

Weight distribution

Second, you have weight distribution.

You can either place equal weight on both feet or have more weight on your right foot or on your left foot. When you’re facing straight at 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:

Man posing by standing and putting weight on front foot.
Standing on front foot
Man posing by standing and putting weight 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 will cover each variation, but let me also quickly cover the collarbone, head, and hands.

2. The collarbone

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

Man posing by moving his 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:

Man posing by moving his shoulder with collarbone.
Shoulder 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:

Man posing with his collarbone in same direction as his feet.
Collarbone in same direction as feet
Man posing with his collarbone in same direction of the camera.
Collarbone in same direction of camera

3. The head

Now, moving on to the head, the main movements of 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:

Man posing by turning and tilting his head.
Turning or tilting the head

4. The hands

Lastly, we have the hands. I like to include 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:

Man posing with both hands in pocket.
Posing with both hands in pocket
Man posing with one hand in pocket.
Posing with one hand in pocket
Man posing by crossing arms.
Posing by crossing arms
Man 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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