The other week I went out with my friend Alexandre to take some portraits. It came to my attention that people have a harder time directing and posing males than they do females.
Well It could be for a few reasons.
The first I can think of is that the photographer just hasn’t practiced shooting as many males as they have females. Secondly, generally speaking, guys are usually a bit more reserved. They either cross their arms or put their hands by their side, which is actually not a bad start.
Another reason could be that they aren’t used to having a DSLR pointed directly at them. People freeze up when they’re the center of attention. They suddenly don’t know what to do with their hands, where to look, or whether to smile or not.
Although the last reason applies despite gender, I think girls tend to have a better idea of how to pose, position, and work with a camera.
Down below are some photos I took of my friend Alexandre and 4 Tips on How to Direct and Pose your Male Subjects who are NOT Models.
If you like this guide be sure to like and share with your friends.
Have another tip? I’d love to read them in the comments below!
1. Don’t overdirect!
The first thing I like to do after finding a location is simply position my model for the best frame. I don’t tell him what to do, or how to do it. I think it’s super important to allow your subject to do what he does naturally and take pictures as a warm up.
I’m not worrying so much about the composition, shape, or pose of those first few photos. I usually don’t end up using them anyway. They’re just to get the ball rolling so to speak.
Before you even begin to direct I think it’s important to allow your subject to be as they are. This way you can get a better idea of their natural posture, tendencies, and comfortability. I always reassure them to get comfortable and be themselves. People will naturally fall into a pose and from there you can start directing.
2. Make Suggestions
I like to think of directing as making suggestions as to what your model should do.
Ask them to slightly turn, look in a certain direction, or maybe take a step forward with their lead leg. Slight movements can create big differences in the overall photo.
A suggestion could look something like,
“Let’s try a cool, calm face instead of smiling.”
“Can you look slightly to the left and lift your chin a little?”
“Maybe look past the camera instead of directly at the lens.”
“What feels more comfortable, this or that?”
I find that getting your subject’s feedback helps break the ice and allows you to find poses your subject likes doing.
It really helps to have an open conversation the entire time. If something doesn’t work, look flattering, or the subject feels awkward, reset and make a new suggestion.
3. have your subject interact with props & surroundings
To add variety to your shots It’s important to have your subject do something. This can look like a lot of things.
Instead of standing shots, have your subject sit down.
Find a wall, or tree to lean against.
Have them walk back and forth.
If they’re wearing a watch you can have them check the time or adjust it on their wrist. If they’re wearing a hat you can have them put it on and off, adjust it, or just hold the rim of it.
Theres a lot you can do to add movement and interaction. Be creative and look around for things your subject can do.
4. alternative positioning
For the fourth and final tip I like to slightly change the positioning of both the pose of my subject and the angle I’m shooting from.
After you make an initial suggestion you can add to it by having them do slightly different things.
Instead of both hands in the pockets, do one hand in and the other by the side, on the neck, or on the opposite shoulder. Maybe have them place their hands in the back pockets instead of the front.
Experiment with your positioning as well. Maybe you like the pose but it isn’t the right angle. Walk from left to right and see what looks best. Shoot from higher and lower angles to see how it changes the overall composition and feel.
That’s all the tips I have for you guys today. I hope they help on your next photoshoot!
Above all I think the most important thing is to just practice. Find a willing friend and have fun. I’ll see you guys in the next one!