23 Tips for Stunning Man Portrait Photography: Expert Tips

Daniel • updated May 28, 2023 • 12 min read

Tips for Stunning Man Portrait Photography. Capture the essence of masculinity

Photography is a powerful medium for capturing the essence of individuals, and when it comes to photographing men, there are unique considerations to keep in mind. From highlighting strength and masculinity to capturing emotions and expressions, photographing men can be a rewarding endeavor.

In this guide we’ll explore essential tips, techniques, and insights to elevate your male portraits. We’ll delve into angles, lighting, and composition, while emphasizing the importance of establishing a connection with your subject. Get ready to embark on a journey to master the art of photographing men and bring out their unique stories and personalities.


 

A. What’s the purpose of the Man Photos?

You should know whom you are photographing and also how he perceives the pictures before you begin. This is essentially true for every photo session with humans. The secret to taking amazing pictures is to relax, which is facilitated by a little talking.

Does he want to come across as nice, approachable, tough, seductive, or professional? What does he intend to do with the pictures?

Put him in positions that will contribute to the desired appearance and feel, and pair them with the appropriate expressions.

B. Man Portrait Photography Essentials

When photographing a man, several essential factors come into play to capture compelling and impactful images. Establishing a connection and creating a comfortable environment with your subject is paramount.

Building trust and rapport allows the man to relax, be himself, and showcase his authentic personality in front of the camera. This genuine connection enables you to capture captivating and natural photographs that truly reflect his character. Learn also how to interact with camera shy models.

1. Connection and Comfort

Establishing a strong connection and creating a comfortable environment with your subject is essential. Engage in conversation, provide clear directions, and offer positive feedback to build trust and confidence.

This allows the man to relax, be himself, and showcase his authentic personality in front of the camera. A genuine connection will result in more captivating and natural photographs that truly reflect his character.

2. Find Strong Angles and Jawlines

Highlight masculine features by capturing strong angles and well-defined jawlines. Experiment with different camera angles to evoke a sense of dominance or approachability.

Shooting from a lower angle can enhance the subject’s sense of power, making them appear larger-than-life and exuding confidence. It emphasizes their facial structure and sharpens their jawline, resulting in a more masculine and impactful image.

On the other hand, shooting from above can create a more vulnerable and relatable look, making the subject appear approachable and engaging. It softens their features and showcases a different side of their personality, allowing for a more intimate and inclusive portrayal.

3. Capture Candid Moments

While posed portraits have their charm, capturing candid moments can provide a glimpse into the subject’s authentic self. Encourage the subject to engage in activities or conversations that elicit natural reactions.

Candid shots often capture genuine emotions, expressions, and interactions, resulting in photographs that feel alive and spontaneous. Be observant and ready to capture these fleeting moments, as they can provide a refreshing and dynamic perspective to your body of work.

4. Composition and Background

Pay attention to the composition and background to create visually pleasing and balanced images. Use the rule of thirds, leading lines, and symmetry to guide your composition. Ensure the background complements the subject and doesn’t distract from the main focus.

Consider natural settings, urban environments, or architectural elements that enhance the narrative and add visual interest to the photograph.

5. Experiment with Composition and Framing

Explore various composition techniques to create visually appealing and dynamic photographs. Consider the rule of thirds, leading lines, or symmetry to compose your shots. Play with different perspectives, angles, and distances to capture unique and intriguing images.

Don’t be afraid to try unconventional framing or experiment with negative space to add a sense of mystery or focus on the subject. Remember that composition can greatly influence the overall impact and story conveyed in the photograph, so be mindful of the elements within the frame and how they contribute to the narrative.

6. Incorporate the Environment

The environment in which a photograph is taken can play a crucial role in enhancing the storytelling and visual impact. Consider the surroundings and select a location that complements the subject’s personality or the desired mood of the image.

Urban settings can add a dynamic and edgy feel, while natural landscapes can evoke a sense of serenity and connection with nature. Architectural backdrops can provide a visually striking and sophisticated element.

By incorporating the environment, you can create a contextual backdrop that adds depth and interest to the photograph, capturing the subject in their element.

7. Experiment with Black and White Photography

Black and white photography can evoke a sense of timelessness and focus on the subject’s essence. Explore the play of light and shadows, textures, and contrasts in monochrome.

Removing the distraction of color allows the viewer to focus on the subject’s features, expressions, and the mood of the photograph. Experiment with different editing techniques and tones to achieve the desired aesthetic and emotional impact in your black and white images.


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C. The Importance of Light for Man Photos

The most crucial element in photography is light, and you can do a lot with it. On guys, angular lighting and deep shadows look fantastic. When taking a man’s picture, draw attention to his muscles.

On the other hand, it is preferable to make a somewhat more corpulent man appear slimmer in the photographs if you are photographing him. All of this is possible with the appropriate illumination.

In contrast to natural light, you have total control over the direction, distance, and intensity in a studio. So don’t be reluctant to capitalize on that. You only need one or two light sources to begin going.

Since you don’t need to make any adjustments, working outside feels more natural and is frequently simpler. Remember: strong shadows are cast by a sunny day’s strong light, and soft shadows are cast by a cloudy day’s soft light. Read also about how to Take Good Portraits with Common Light Sources.

8. Shadows, light direction & flash

The “masculine image effect” is significantly influenced by the lighting used. It is a common belief that hard light draws shapes. In addition to facial characteristics, these include cheekbones, beards, the depth of eye sockets, wrinkles, skin imperfections, and lumps.

A certain amount of “roughness” is wanted in men’s photography; therefore, harsher lighting may be used. This is thought to be a significant artistic tool when taking pictures of males. 

Generally speaking, though, you won’t go overboard and will opt to use a striplight or a small softbox as the primary light source rather than a reflector. also a ring light can be used.

9. How does the direction of the light impact a man’s portrait?

The effect of the image may be affected even more by the primary light’s direction: sidelights highlight contours, while backlights provide dramatic effects.

Therefore, backlight, which can be natural or artificial light, produces particularly good results for outdoor photographs and headshots.

Make sure to bring a reflector with you while taking men’s photographs outside—this is very crucial! Professional photographers prefer to utilize an off-camera flash, although if placed close enough, a system flash can also work.

10. Play with Light and Shadows

Experiment with different lighting techniques to create mood and dimension in your photographs. Use natural light to your advantage, whether it’s the soft, diffused light during the golden hour or the dramatic shadows created by direct sunlight.

Play with side lighting to enhance the subject’s facial features, bringing out textures and adding depth. Alternatively, explore backlighting to create silhouettes or rim lighting that accentuates the outline of the subject.

Remember to also experiment with artificial lighting sources, such as studio lights or off-camera flashes, to control and manipulate the lighting to your desired effect. The interplay of light and shadows can add a captivating visual element and evoke specific emotions in your photographs.

 

Tools to bring your portrait photography to life

 

D. How Should a Man Pose?

Men prefer to concentrate on the upper body, while women frequently look at the legs and abdomen. It is thought that broad shoulders are “masculine”.

A little advice: if the man is sporty, only position the arms in a half- or full-body picture. This is due to the fact that, at least superficially, a space between the arms and the belly seems to make the latter considerably flatter. 

If you male model is introvert, take your time and create a relaxed atmosphere, read more about how to photograph she persons here.

11. Pay Attention to Wardrobe and Styling

Choosing the right wardrobe and styling can significantly enhance the impact of a photograph. Consider the subject’s personality and the intended message of the image when selecting outfits.

Opt for clothing that reflects their style and character, whether it’s casual, formal, or somewhere in between. The wardrobe should align with the overall composition and narrative, adding depth and visual interest to the photograph.

Additionally, pay attention to details such as accessories, grooming, and grooming styles that complement the subject’s features. These elements can elevate the overall aesthetic and create a cohesive look.

Experimenting with different styles and combinations can also help to achieve a variety of moods and visual effects. From classic and timeless looks to trendy and contemporary ensembles, the choice of wardrobe can convey different facets of the subject’s personality and help to tell a compelling visual story.

Collaborate with the subject to ensure their comfort and confidence in their chosen outfits, as this will greatly contribute to the success of the photograph.

For more about attire Men’s Fashion, Style, Grooming and  Men’s Fashion, Style & Latest Trends

12. To hold anything, use your arms

Poses where the man uses his arms to perform anything generally have a more manly appearance. Tools, sports gear, and musical instruments are essential props in men’s photography because of this.

Even if the picture is more for commercial purposes, the subject can nevertheless strike an “explanatory” position with his arms. 

13. Choose appropriate poses for a man

Posing properly is crucial while taking portraits. For the most part, guys value having a strong appearance in photographs. They accomplish this by raising their chest, drawing them, and tightening their abdominal muscles. But it matters that the man is comfortable. If he is uneasy, it will be evident in the position.

14. Arms crossed

Where do you put your hands? It is a common question asked when taking photographs, not just of guys. Take the risk of including body language in your photographs.

Your figure will appear strong and independent in a cross-legged position. It is one of the easiest postures and is particularly appropriate for men who are not accustomed to posing for a living.

15. How to handle the hands

Even while standing, hands in pockets seem fantastic. This will ensure that your posture is natural and at ease.

You can lean on your thighs or the chair while sitting, join your fingers, or interlock your hands. When a man is first getting acclimated to being shot, sitting positions work well. His postures while standing after this appear more at ease.

16. Leaning against a wall.

Lean the model against the wall for a more at-ease portrait. Walls are a useful tool. Alternately, have him stand with one leg bent and lean on the wall with the other.

Any angle can be used to take such a picture. He might also rest one arm against the wall as an alternative. That’s a really cool image, don’t forget to use proper portrait photography quotes when posting.

17. Focus on Details and Hands

Capture the finer details and gestures that can reveal a lot about the subject’s character and story. Pay attention to their hands, as they can express strength, vulnerability, or convey a sense of purpose.

Encourage natural and relaxed hand positions that complement the overall composition. Additionally, focus on other details like facial expressions, accessories, or unique features that make the subject stand out.

These subtle details can add personality and visual interest to your photographs, allowing the viewer to connect with the subject on a deeper level.

18. Use men’s toys as props.

It also blends quite well with a motorcycle or automobile. particularly if the man is close to his machine. The fact that he can lean here gives you an edge because it makes posing simpler and more enjoyable.

A man will take more photos with his automobile or motorcycle than without it if taking photos is more of a necessary sacrifice for him.

If you want to learn more about props, read our guide about how to take portrait photos with props.

19. Capture Emotion and Expression

Encouraging authentic emotions and capturing genuine expressions is key to capturing the subject’s true personality. Prompt them to evoke various emotions, such as genuine laughter, intense gazes, or reflective moods.

These raw and unfiltered emotions create a deeper connection between the viewer and the subject, as they allow a glimpse into their inner world. Engage in meaningful conversations, share anecdotes, or play music that resonates with their emotions to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

Capturing these genuine expressions adds depth and intrigue to the photograph, making it more captivating and memorable for the viewers. It humanizes the subject and creates a visual narrative that resonates on a deeper level.

E. How to Take Outdoor Portraits of a Man

Inclement weather, including snow or rain, doesn’t affect the outdoor portrait at all. The key component is the accumulation of ice or water that exudes a “wild” feeling on the skin or beard.

Here’s the easiest way to go about it: Just enough of the aperture should be open to see the surrounding area. If feasible, a picture without a flash, or else the photo could look overly staged. So having daylight would undoubtedly be beneficial. The light changes constantly during the day, learn about the best time of the day for portraits.

The image of a guy at work is another appealing choice that frequently works well because machinery and automobiles have traditionally been associated with men and are frequently used in news reporting. Men can be posed against the light to avoid the images appearing overly somber.

20. Utilize Golden Hour Lighting

Take advantage of the magical lighting conditions during the golden hour, which occurs shortly after sunrise or before sunset. The soft, warm, and diffused light during this time of day creates a flattering and gentle illumination.

It enhances the natural features of the subject, casting a warm glow and creating a pleasing overall ambiance. Plan your outdoor shoot during these times to capture stunning portraits with beautiful lighting.

21. Consider the Background and Environment

Pay attention to the background and environment when shooting outdoors. Look for interesting and complementary elements that enhance the composition and tell a visual story. Consider incorporating natural elements such as trees, fields, or water to add depth and context to the photograph.

Ensure that the background does not distract from the main subject and that it harmonizes with the overall mood and theme of the image. A well-chosen and well-composed background can elevate the impact of the photograph and provide a visually appealing setting for the man.

22. Embrace the Natural Surroundings

When photographing a man outdoors, encourage interaction and engagement with the natural surroundings. Incorporate movement, such as walking, running, or even simply leaning against a tree or wall, to add dynamism and energy to the photograph.

Encourage the subject to explore the environment, interact with elements like leaves or flowers, or even incorporate props that harmonize with the outdoor setting.

By embracing the natural surroundings, you can create a more authentic and visually captivating photograph that showcases the man’s connection with nature.

23. Consider the proper processing

Regarding skin flaws, it depends on the individual’s fashion sense. Certainly, we support the removal of transient flaws like pimples.

It all depends on your goals for reducing wrinkles, scars, and birthmarks. It is advised to speak with the model if necessary.

In general, less editing is advised for male pictures compared to female pictures. In the final image, men’s skin shouldn’t look any softer than it does in images of women and kids.

F. Tips to Photograph Men, Posing Ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I pose as a man?

Pose where the man moves his arms generally appear more masculine. Tools, sporting goods, or musical instruments are great accessories in men’s photography.

If the photo is for business purposes, he can make an “informative” pose with his arms. In men’s photography, the focus is typically on the model’s upper body.

Check also out this detailed article, explaining portrait vs landscape format.

How can I appear more relaxed for a photo?

When posing for a photo, urge them to turn their heads just a little bit in your direction; this will not only make them look more relaxed and involved overall, but also more appealing. He is supported in a corner, leaning in with his hand in his pocket.

What is the appropriate male smile?

Maintain a downward chin and move your head just a little bit away from the camera. Your jaw will be highlighted and appear stronger because of the angle. A sincere grin involves more than just puffing up your cheeks and showing off your teeth.

What shall I do, I always look fat in Photos?

If you always look fat in photos, you can try a few tricks to create a more flattering appearance. First, stand up straight with your chin up and shoulders back. This will help elongate your figure and give you a slimmer appearance. You can also try angling your body to the side, instead of facing the camera head-on.

Additionally, avoid wearing tight-fitting or bulky clothing, and opt for well-fitted pieces that flatter your shape. Experiment with different poses and outfits to find what works best for you. Remember that confidence is key, so try to relax and have fun in front of the camera.

How to pose for school pictures?

To pose for school pictures, stand up straight with your chin up and shoulders back. This will help elongate your figure and create a more flattering appearance. Avoid crossing your arms or legs, as this can make you look stiff and uncomfortable. Instead, you can try placing one hand on your hip or resting both hands on a chair or table.

If you're taking a full-body shot, you can angle your body to the side or place one foot slightly in front of the other. Smile naturally and try to look confident and relaxed. Remember to choose an outfit that is appropriate and makes you feel comfortable, as this will show in your photos.

How to take a photo of myself with a selfie stick?

Taking a good pictures of yourself with a selfie stick is easy. First, extend the stick to the desired length and secure your phone in the holder. Make sure that the camera lens is centered and facing you. Stand in a well-lit area and find an interesting background. To avoid taking a photo with the stick visible, angle the stick upwards and hold it slightly above your head.

Use your other hand to adjust the camera angle and focus. Smile naturally and try to look confident and relaxed. Take a few test shots to find the best angle and lighting, then take the final photo by pressing the camera button on your phone or using a remote control.

Conclusion

Taking great photos of men can be a bit challenging due to the common nervousness that guys feel about being photographed. However, by understanding the purpose of the photo, lighting, shadows and light direction, appropriate poses, and hand placement, you can take great photos of men with ease.

By knowing what to focus on, like angular lighting and hard shadows for a masculine look, and by being conscious of the subject’s comfort, you can create photographs that capture their desired appearance and feel.

Remember, the key to success is to relax and have fun with the photoshoot, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it!

More about how men look good in photos:
Some examples of how power posing can actually boost your confidence
Motion – Male Adult Poses
How to Pose in Photos like a Fashion Blogger
ONE LEG UP
Posing Tips for Couples

Keep reading: How to Take Photos of People Wearing Glasses »

Tools to bring your portrait photography to life:

What are your tips to Man Portrait Photography? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Daniel
Daniel has been supporting the editorial team as a content creator since the end of 2021 and is mainly responsible for portrait photography and related practical topics around cameras, lenses as well as accessories.

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Your thoughts and questions

2 thoughts on “23 Tips for Stunning Man Portrait Photography: Expert Tips

  1. Ahmed says:

    Hello! I just read the “16 Tips to Photograph Men and Pose Ideas” article and I think it’s really helpful for someone like me who loves photography. As I am 16 years old, I find it important to understand that photography is all about capturing the essence of the person in front of the camera. I learned a lot from this article, especially the tip about using natural light and finding a good background. I also found the section on posing ideas to be very useful. It’s important to know that different poses can change the overall feel of a photo, and the article provided a lot of great suggestions to experiment with.

    One thing that I think would be helpful for someone my age to understand is that it takes time and practice to get the perfect shot. I appreciate the tips in this article and I’m sure that with time and a little bit of patience, I’ll be able to create amazing photos of the people in my life. Thank you for sharing this information, it’s a great resource for anyone interested in photography!

    • @Michael says:

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you found the tips photograph men and pose ideas helpful. Photography can be a lot of fun and a great way to capture memories. It’s great to hear that you’re already starting to think about different ways to take photos and experiment with different poses. Keep practicing and you’ll be a pro in no time!

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