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Posing Basics for Men


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BY Michelle Perkins September 10, 2014 · Published by Amherst Media

Looking for new ideas to use when you're photographing men? View a selection of poses from Michelle Perkins's Amherst Media book 500 Poses for Photographing Men.

This excerpt from 500 Poses for Photographing Men is provided courtesy of Amherst Media. To purchase the book and learn more about the publisher, visit the Amherst Media website.





View a slideshow of poses from the sourcebook at the top of this page.


Determining the best way to pose your subject—a way that flatters the individual, reflects the subject’s personality, and is visually appealing in the overall composition—can be one of the biggest challenges in creating a successful portrait.

This is especially true when creating portraits of male subjects. For males, the posing "rules" tend to be more stringently applied, meaning that a very nuanced approach will be required to create a variety of looks. Additionally, men are often more reluctant than women to have their portraits taken. This leads to two issues. First, most portrait photographers have fewer opportunities to work with male subjects; as a result, when confronted with posing challenges they have fewer past experiences to draw on. Second, many photographers report that their sessions with male subjects are often much shorter than those with female subjects—most guys just don’t have the interest in or patience for a fussy portrait sitting. This means the photographer must be prepared to get all of the required images in a limited time frame.

This collection is designed to address these problems. Filled with images by accomplished portrait, fashion, and commercial photographers, it provides a resource for photographers seeking inspiration for their own work. Stuck on what to do with a particular client or unsure how to use a given prop? Flip through the sample portraits, pick something you like, then adapt it as needed to suit your tastes. Looking to spice up your work with some new poses? Find a sample that appeals to you and look for ways to implement it (or some element of it) with one of your subjects.

For ease of use, the portraits are grouped according to how much of the subject is shown in the frame. Thus, the book begins with head-and-shoulders portraits, followed by portraits that introduce one or both hands into the head-and-shoulders look. Next are waist-up portraits, featuring images that include the head and shoulders, arms and hands, and at least some of the subject’s torso. Moving on to three-quarter-length portraits, the examples feature subjects shown from the head down to mid-thigh or mid-calf. The balance of the book features full-length images—the most complex portraits to pose, because they include the entire body. Both the three-quarter-and full-length portraits are subdivided into poses for standing subjects and seated subjects.

It can be difficult to remain creative day after day, year after year, but sometimes all you need to break through a slump is a little spark. In this book, you’ll find a plethora of images designed to provide just that.

Composition and Posing

Featured photographer: Hernan Rodriguez, Don Marr, Brett Florens, J.D. Wacker, Paul Van Hoy, Allison Earnest

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