Facebook Pixel Male Poses: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started Photographing Men

Male Poses: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started Photographing Men

21 poses to get you started photographing men

Want some male posing ideas to help your portraits consistently shine?

In this article, we share 21 male poses, ranging from simple, beginner-focused ideas to complex options for experienced photographers. We also include a mix of styles, including corporate, informal, fashion, and more – so no matter your preferred genre of photography, you’re bound to find a pose or two that works!

Let’s dive right in.

1. Upper body with crossed arms

Let’s start with a very simple male pose:

Ask your subject to stand up straight, cross their arms, turn one shoulder slightly away, bring their chin toward the camera, and smile.

It works for plenty of portrait styles: informal (e.g., family portraits or senior portraits), business portraits, and even fashion shots.

Two things to watch: The shoulders should be pulled back a little, and the stomach muscles should be kept in check.

man standing with arms crossed

2. Full body with crossed arms

Crossed arms work in full height shots, as well.

So use the same posing guidelines as above, then ask your subject to cross one leg in front of the other. But make sure the body weight is not supported equally on both legs; that will look awkward!

This pose is especially nice for informal photoshoots, such as a family portrait session.

man standing with legs and arms crossed male pose

3. One hand on a hip

A recurring question from your subject might be, “Where should I put my hands?”

But while hands are often a point of confusion and awkwardness, the solution is actually quite simple. There are four places a subject can position their hands, and they can be mixed and matched in any combination:

  1. Loosely by the side
  2. On the hips
  3. In the pockets
  4. Crossed on the chest

Note that hands should always be relaxed, which means no muscle pressure (unless you’re photographing a bodybuilder!)

For this pose, the man should put one hand on his hip, stand square to the camera, and let the other hand dangle loosely – though feel free to experiment with different hand positions, too!

man with one hand on hip

4. Full body with hands in the pockets

Here’s another casual pose for a man standing upright.

Ask your subject to square his body to the camera, with his weight equally distributed on both legs and his nose pointed at the lens. In general, I recommend that the hands go in the pockets, thumbs out; this is a surefire way to achieve a natural and relaxed pose.

man posing with hands in pockets

5. Clothes over the shoulder

This pose is a bit edgier and fashion-conscious. It can work for corporate or fashion shots but should be avoided during family and senior portraits.

Ask your subject to cross one leg over the other, look at the camera, hook a thumb in their pocket, and throw an item of clothing – such as a suit jacket – over their shoulder. The more casual and relaxed they look, the better!

man with jacket thrown over the shoulder

6. Sitting with one ankle on the knee

Sitting poses tend to be pretty casual, and this one is no exception. Provide your subject with a block or a chair, then ask them to cross their arms and lift one ankle over their knee.

For the best results, shoot slightly from above.

man with arms crossed on a block

7. Leaning back against the wall

This is one of my favorite upright poses, simply because it’s ultra-easy and looks really great.

Just have your model put their back to a wall and casually recline. Their hands can go in their pockets, and – for a bit of additional flair – ask them to put one foot against the wall (while the other stays flat against the floor).

man leaning back against a wall

8. Leaning sideways against the wall

This is a variation on the above pose. Simply ask your model to turn so one shoulder presses against the wall, then encourage them to cross their legs.

While you can certainly use a hands-in-the-pockets look, try asking your subject to cross their arms instead. Crossed arms are more formal and work well for business portraits.

man leaning sideways against a wall

9. Upper body with an item in the hand

This one’s a very simple pose for a business portrait. Ask your subject to face the camera with one hand in their pocket and the other dangling freely, an item held in the hand (e.g., a laptop, a book, or even a tool).

(If possible, ensure that the items are clear indicators of the subject’s occupation.)

man posing with laptop under one arm

10. Sitting on a desk

Here, you’ll need a relatively sturdy desk. Ask your subject to sit firmly on the edge; you’ll get a very relaxed, yet professional, result. You can experiment with different hand positions, but hands in the pockets or resting on top of the legs works great.

man sitting on a desk

11. Sitting at a desk

Here’s another simple male pose for a business portrait: A man sitting at a desk.

Ask your subject to sit forward slightly, with his chin resting on his hand. The other arm can sit on the desk surface.

To reveal the subject’s profession, place work-related items around his arms, such as books, charts, or tools.

man posing at a desk

12. Sitting at a desk, one arm up

This is another business-style portrait, but with a little extra flair. Ask your subject to sit at a desk and lean forward slightly – but one arm should come across the desk in a V-shape, while the other should fade back.

When done properly, your subject’s shoulder should tilt toward the camera, and their nose should follow.

man posing at a table with one arm up

13. Turned in a chair (away from a desk)

To show the work environment while removing the distance created by a foreground desk, flip the shot around. Ask your subject to sit in their desk chair, but spin around so that they face the camera.

One hand can go on the desk, while the other arm can dangle off the chair. The result?

Formal and inviting.

male leaning back in a chair in front of a desk

14. Arms crossed on a desk

Continuing with the desk theme, this composition puts the desk off to the side, with your subject leaning forward, arms crossed on the desk surface.

Ask your subject to tilt one shoulder toward the camera, while pointing their nose at the lens. Again, you could place work-related items on the desk to hint at the subject’s profession.

man posing at a desk

15. Standing next to a chair

Chairs are great props, and they can easily make a portrait both engaging and interesting. So ask your subject to stand upright with their legs crossed. Add in the chair, then encourage them to place one hand on its back, the other in their pocket.

Professional looking? Yes. But also fun, eye-catching, and a little bit suave.

man standing next to a chair

16. Relaxed in a chair

If you’re taking corporate portraits and your subject is struggling to get comfortable in front of the lens, why not make them comfortable – literally?

Just ask them to sit in their chair, lean back, smile, and cross one leg. Later, you can move on to more complex poses, but you’re bound to get a good shot or two out of this simple idea!

man relaxing in a chair

17. Sitting on the ground

For business-style portraits, this type of pose is best avoided. But if you’re doing family photo sessions, senior portraits, or another type of informal shot, you’ll love the casual, relaxed images you can capture.

Simply ask your subject to sit on the ground, one arm holding them up from behind and the other dangling over the knee. You might also try a leg cross (as pictured below), as well as other shooting directions and angles.

man sitting on the ground

18. Reclining on the ground

Here’s another variant of a man’s pose while sitting on the ground. Ask your subject to sit, then to lie back while supporting his weight with one arm.

Unlike the male pose displayed above, the subject’s second arm should dangle behind. And make sure the upper arm is completely hidden – otherwise, the shot may turn out a tad awkward.

man posing on the ground

19. Sitting on the ground with arms over knees

This one’s an easy and relaxed pose for a sitting man. It works well for family portraits, senior photoshoots, and other informal purposes, though it’s best avoided for serious corporate photos.

Ask your subject to sit on the ground with one leg out (knee bent!) and the other leg tucked slightly under the opposite calve. Have them bend forward and rest their forearms on their knees.

man with arms over the knees

20. Reclining against a wall

Here’s one final informal male posing idea, and while it may feel overly relaxed for certain situations (even senior portraits), it’s a great fit for more carefree subjects.

Ask your subject to sit on the ground, supporting their back against a wall, a rock, or even a tree. Encourage them to lean back in a resting pose and bring one leg back while leaving the other straight. You can experiment with different hand positions, though I’d recommend using the illustration as a starting point:

leaning back against a wall pose

21. Close-up headshot

This is a male pose that never fails, no matter your intent. Corporate, senior portrait, website shot – the close-up headshot won’t let you down.

Ask your subject to sit forward and rest their elbows on a solid surface such as a desk. The hands should overlap loosely and rest comfortably next to your subject’s chin. Test out different head positions, though begin with a look straight toward the camera.

Oh, and one last tip: Never be afraid to crop around your model’s face!

headshot pose close up male

Male posing ideas: final words

Hopefully, you now have a starting point for your male poses! Remember that there are no absolutes; each sample pose might and should be adjusted depending on your shooting environment and scenario. There is no need to overdo anything.

In reality, all you need for good people portraits is simplicity:

Simple backgrounds, simple clothing, simple poses, and natural expressions.

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App, where more poses and tips about people photography are available.

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