Photographing Men or “How to Shoot a Man – Legally, That Is”

Let’s say that you’d like to take some photos of a relative, friend or partner, and you’d like a look that’s masculine, comfortable yet strong, confident and cool. How do you do this? Where do you start?
Here are a few ideas to get you going.

As your subject to

  • Push their chin out and down just a little (to define and highlight the jawline, making it as angular and sharp as possible) (Yes, it feels unnatural, but it works:)
  • ‘Squinch’ or ‘half squint’ – i.e., raise their lower eyelids just a tad, while not moving their upper ones (to show mischievousness, playfulness and character)
  • Tilt their head away from the camera just a bit (to convey … Well, what do you think this conveys?)
  • Turn their waist and hips away from the camera (to slim the body) while squaring their upper body to it (to show broad shoulders and create a pleasing V-shape)
  • Stand tall, with good posture, with relaxed shoulders and a tight core
  • Stand with one leg bent at the knee and a bit forward while keeping their weight on the back leg
  • Alternatively, stand with one foot on a step or stool to create a natural, relaxed pose
  • Sit with the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other

Give your subject something to do with their hands:

  • Fix their tie, watch, or coat collar without – or while – looking at it
  • Hold a newspaper in one hand
  • Hook a jacket over their shoulder
  • Hold a prop – e.g., a book, a guitar, a basketball
  • Rest their hands – one or both – on a tall chair or desk
  • Put the fingers (but not thumb) of one hand (not both) in a pocket or belt loop (go for asymmetrical)

If you try some of the suggestions above, I’d love to hear what you think of the results.

But remember, please, that a ‘pose’ is just a beginning; while it can lead to a great photo, it’s also a jumping off point and it’s often the authentic ‘pics between poses’ that we cherish the most.
Happy shooting!

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.

What you have caught on film is captured forever.

Aaron Siskind