How to Pose Men | Portrait Photography
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I’m Joe. I teach at the School of Visual Arts in New York. I want to talk about posing techniques for men.
Start by talking about posing techniques that are bad for men. Folding your arms. Especially folding your arms with a tilt. Roll your left shoulder back just a tiny bit. Turn your head to your right. This is, it makes you look vain and arrogant.
Try not to photography people from below their eye line. You get a little bit up in the air, lift your head a little bit. Go ahead and smush a little bit. That looks absolutely terrible.
From your waist, turn a little bit to your left. A little more. Turn your head a little more to your right. That looks really bad. Wow.
Hand under the chin. Why do people do this? Your hands are not that interesting. Yes, that’s truly terrible.
Try to have your subject dress nice when they’re having their picture taken. A tee-shirt with a pattern or a logo on it or something like that, you’re not going to look great that way.
There’s no reason to try to look like a fashion model and do this. Nobody looks good
that way. They look good when they’re smiling.
Oh, another one of my favorite bad poses. One hand over the other like this. What are you doing? What are you doing? That’s not good.
If you’re having your portrait taken or you’re taking somebody’s portrait, have them shave when they show up. Clean shaven is better. Of if it’s scruffy, make sure it looks neat and organized, and like a look instead of a morning accident or something you forgot.
Wear decent pants. You wear stuff that’s got a lot of holes in it and what-not, if you end up doing the full length thing, you ain’t going to look great.
Engage with your subject and keep them paying attention to you. Long, long, long silences get very awkward very quickly.
Have them keep their eyes on the lens. People that are looking off into space somewhere are not paying attention to whoever is on the other side of the picture.
Shade and overcast is your friend. Nobody looks great with direct sunlight shining right on their face. It makes them squint. It creates deep shadows where their eyes are and a big shadow across their face from their nose.
A reflector helps bounce a little bit of light back onto the subject so that they’re brighter than the background and stand out from the background.
Keep your eyes on the lens. Right and left. Which is your right and your left? That’s your right and that’s your left. Already not qualified to be a professional model. You know your right from your left.
Keep your eyes on me. Let me see. This is turning your head. This is tilting your head. Let me see you turn your head one inch to the left. Very nice. Very small amounts of movement to do what I’m going to ask you to do.
Try and get above people’s eyes. Nobody’s going to thank you for photographing them from underneath the chin. The chin is always supposed to be singular. I grew this thing on my face to make sure the chin would stay singular.
Keep your eyes on me. You know what? Turn in full profile with your toes pointing that way. Good. Now, from your waist, turn to your right. Well played. It’s so nice to work with a pro.
You can look a little happier about it than that. Come on. Let the happy out. Is it, there you go. There’s the stuff. Fabulous.
For a second I thought it was going to be tinkle time.
Roll your left shoulder back just a little bit. Terrific.
Everybody looks better when you shoot them across their shoulders like this. From your waist, lean towards me a little.
Your subject may complain that this feels incredibly awkward but it doesn’t matter how awkward it feels. All that matters is that it looks great. When people are leaning towards you it looks like they’re more connected to you.
Where did the happy face go? There you go. I knew that there was some happy in there.
You want to be at a shutter speed that’s high enough to keep your hand steady, like 1/125th or better. You want to be at F-4 or F-5 or F-6 so that your depth of field is shallow and your background doesn’t standout and distract.
Arrrrrrrrrr. There you go. Turn your head a little bit to your right. A little more. Good. Tilt your head a little bit to the left. You don’t have to look like that so hard, it’s really not that hard. There you go.
Happy, happy, joy, joy.
You’ve done this before. I can tell.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re rock stars or fashion models or not. If they’re happy, they look good. So be happy. Get them laughing if you need to get them laughing.
And those are a few posing techniques for men.