Ep 29: You’ve got male: How to pose men

Episode 29 art

When you’re photographing men, it can be easy to fall into the trap of cliched and “done to death” poses. You want to achieve shots that are natural, flattering and have a “wow” factor that make people take notice. In this episode, Gina and Valerie talk about the one pose that you should NEVER use (but which so many men want to do), the “classic go to” poses you can pull out of your arsenal to get a great shot every time, simple styling and grooming tips that can make all the difference, and the best way to direct men on photo shoots.

This week’s theme for #ginachallenge is – you guessed it – “men”!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show notes


Bokeh (blurry background) shoutouts

Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the last episode about blurry backgrounds. And a big thanks to those of you who tried and out and showcased your pics! We’ve included a small selection of them here.

Teddy bear snuggled up with another bear with a fuzzy background
By Michael Goh
Christmas bauble with colourful fuzzy background
By Brian Becnel
Green berries with a green fuzzy background
By Glen Dube

And check out Mike Hickman’s Instagram @mhickmanphoto for awesome bokeh.

Photo critique

This photo was taken by Ian Hume who wanted some feedback on his shot.

Person standing in middle of the shot as a street scape disappears into a single point behind them

Date taken: 23 June 2015, 8:30 PM
Dimensions: 3648 x 5472File
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Lens: EF50mm f/1.8 IIFocal Length50mm
Exposure: 1/500
F Number: f/1.8
ISO: 250
Camera make: Canon
Flash: Not used

Listen to the podcast for the feedback.

How to pose men

What are the most important factors to consider when planning a male portrait session?

  1. Always have a pre meet or phone call
  2. Email a list of items they need to bring (list everything including grooming items)
  3. I always like to discuss my location choices and show the guys the shots I’m hopping to achieve.
  4. I also tell them I’m going to show them exactly what to do. All they need to do is show up.

What are some general posing rules to consider when working with men?

  • It’s all about the V shape, broad shoulders, small waist
  • Strong jawline
  • Masculine poses/ avoid cute head tilts, feminine poses or awkward fashion poses
  • Men generally look better square on to camera
  • Give them something to do and ask them to repeat it over and over

What are my “classic go to” mens poses

  • The Dirty Harry
  • Lean on me
  • Seated legs spread
  • Straddling a chair (Like Christine Keeler)
  • Sitting on the ground
  • Laying down
  • Dressing himself
  • Sitting down
  • Walking towards camera

What are some poses you should try to avoid and which ones should be banned for life?

  • The soccer goalie pose

Avoid traditional female poses such as:

  • Hands on hips
  • Chin in hands
  • Head tilted to shoulder
  • And do I need to say it… pouting

What are the best ways to direct a man on a portrait shoot?

  • Show them the pose by doing it
  • Praise often and praise sincerely
  • Praise and encourage the good, ignore the bad
  • Find a common ground and chat about that
  • Ask them lots of questions about something you know they are an expert on e.g. a hobby or their job or their car
  • Work quickly

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How to direct and pose like a pro


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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE