Portrait Posing Tips for Men

September 8, 2022

As someone who’s been photographing people for over a decade, I’ve encountered a LOT of people who hate being in front of the camera and insist that they are not photogenic. For some reason, this seems to be particularly so when it comes to men. What I’ve learned, however, is that a lot of people have just had some really bad experiences being photographed. My biggest lesson when it comes to photographing men boils down to one simple thing: Guys just wanna look cool. So in this article, we’re gonna talk about some of my best posting tips for men so you can look both cool and masculine in pictures.

Doesn’t matter if it’s your wedding day or a headshot for work, we’ll explore some simple posing rules that can help you look your best. So if you’re a male or someone who wants to look more masculine in photos, these are the posing tips for you!

Let’s dive in!

Feet Apart, Toes Out

As with most things, the foundation is key! Your stance should be wide, feet about shoulder width apart, but not uncomfortable. In female posing we’re going for a lot of curves so we often think of the letter S. In contrast, we want to think about the letter A when it comes to posing for men. On the same note, you’ll also want to make sure that your toes never point inward. Inward pointing toes create more of a curve in the body and will make you appear more feminine.

Bonus tip: Shift your weight onto the foot furthest away from the camera. Your front knee may have a very slight bend and the back leg will be straight.

A groom stands with his hand in his pocket awaiting his new bride. Orange County wedding photographer shares her best posing tips for men in photographs.

Stand Tall – Head, Shoulders, Spine, and Chest

As I mentioned, curves are typically associated with feminine posing so in this case, you’ll want to make sure you keep your spine straight. As you straighten your spine, you’ll notice that your chest extends forward a little, and your shoulders move slightly back. This is great! An expanded chest can give the feeling of strength but allow your shoulders to stay somewhat relaxed to avoid looking stiff.

Once you’ve got your torso in the right position, the next step will be head and chin placement. I’ve got some specific instructions for you about chin placement coming, but when it comes to your head in general, you don’t want it to tilt too much. I see this happen a lot when I’m posing a newlywed couple on a wedding day, or when posing with a groom with his mom.

When men tilt their heads too much, it creates a curve and the position starts looking feminine or childlike. This might be fine for everyday expressions of affection, but it doesn’t look as flattering in photos. If you want to appear masculine and assertive, it’s best to keep the head either straight up or slightly tilted toward your lower shoulder (if shoulders are not positioned at the same height).

A man poses for a photo before his wedding in Los Angeles, CA. Belinda Philleo, a Southern California wedding photographer shares her best posing tips for men.

Chin Forward

Now don’t confuse this with chin up. An upward-facing chin gives the camera an angle of the underside of your jaw, and a straight shot into your nostrils. Not flattering at all! This is especially important if you’re taller than or on a higher ground than your photographer. Chin forward is done by simply extending your neck forward just a touch. My husband says it’s kind of like you’re pretending to be a turtle. Of all the posing tips, this one will probably feel the weirdest because it’s not something we normally do. Remember though, this is to make sure that you look good in a photograph, so this will help extend your neck, get your face at the right angle, and give a nice shape to your jawline. Your photographer can help you fine-tune the proper placement, so don’t worry if it’s a little tricky for you to get it right at first!

Posing tips for men from Southern California wedding photographer Belinda Philleo. A photograph of a man in a suit.

Hands Can Make or Break

Believe it or not, hands have a huge impact on the mood in a photograph. Stiff hands can make the entire photo look uncomfortable and where the hands are positioned can even have an impact on the visual focus of an image. This is why sometimes you’ll see ads for beauty products that show women with hands positioned weirdly on or around their faces – Where the fingers point, our eyes want to look.

The easiest way to keep hands looking natural in a photograph is to give them something to do. In a lot of cases, you really only have to have one hand doing something, the other can remain at rest. This can mean resting one hand on a railing, putting a hand in your pocket, or holding the lapel of your jacket. If you’re posing with your significant other, holding hands, or a placing your hand around their waist/back can be a perfect positioning for a natural look that also creates connection between you and your S.O.

Southern California wedding photographer Belinda Philleo shares her best posing tips for men. A groom buttons his tuxedo jacket before heading down the aisle to get married.

Things NOT  to do with your hands…

If you take nothing else away from this post, please, please don’t hold your hands together over your crotch. You know what I’m talking about, that groomsmen pose that everyone seems to know. Please don’t. This is the fastest way to make yourself look defensive and vulnerable – the literal opposite of cool and masculine. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why… If you’re ever being photographed and the photographer tells you to do this, Just. Say. No. You’ll have a way more flattering photo, the photographer’s portfolio will benefit, and maybe we can kill this unflattering groomsmen trend once and for all.

Similarly, when putting your hands in or around your pockets, you’ll want to be conscious of what you’re “framing.” Go ahead, have a giggle if you want, but as previously stated, what our fingers are aimed at in a photo is where the viewer’s eye will be drawn. Putting your hands fully in a pocket, and making sure any exposed thumbs are pointing downward ensures that the viewer’s eyes will stay on your face.

Posing tips for men shared by Southern California wedding photographer Belinda Philleo. A groom sits in a chair while three groomsmen pose looking tough behind him.

Trust Your Photographer

I hope that the tips I’ve shared so far have been helpful for you and that you’ll feel more relaxed during your next photo op! While I definitely believe that having a few posing tips up your sleeve can help, don’t forget that it’s quite literally your photographer’s job. to pose you and create great photos of you. Camera angles and the intended message of a particular portrait can mean variations to the poses and tips we’ve reviewed here. Even with these tips, the photographer will need to adjust your positioning and really bring out your best features. Hiring a professional will be worth it!

I hope you enjoyed these posing tips for men! If you or someone you know is looking for a more feminine look in photographs, be sure to check out my other article on posing tips for women!

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