It’s challenging to think of what male model poses actually look good. What looks natural? Where should you start? What options are available? Also, as a photographer you may wonder what equipment you need with you. What's the best camera and lens backpack?
Actually, there are A LOT of great poses for men that look natural. They can work for any type of shoot, from fashion to headshot photography.
In this article, I’ll give you a great practical list of poses for men. Using these male poses you’ll be able to get your subject comfortable and achieve stellar photos.
Let's jump in!
27 Best Male Model Poses for Photoshoots
- The Lean
- Casual Stroll
- Brisk Walk
- Waiting on a Friend
- One Leg Up
- Soft Look Away
- Sitting Relaxed
- Step Up or Down
- Arching Arm
- Over Shoulder Look
- That Interested Look
- Hands in Pockets
- Hand on Face
- The Stretch
- Shouldered Jacket
- Hands over Mouth
- The Glance
- The Jawline
- Squint the Eyes
- Tilt the Head
- Getting Ready
- Crossed Arms
- Hair Swipe
- The Thinker
- The Improv
This is a natural-looking, relaxed pose. Essentially it’s a natural looking pose that does not appear to be contrived. It’s sometimes known as a “Contrapposto” pose.
Tell your model to ignore your camera and relax spontaneously. This posing technique for male models will always look unique because every male poses differently. This is what makes this one of the most popular male model poses for photography.
2. The Lean
A guy poses easily when he leans against something. This is another good pose for a male photoshoot because it produces relaxed looking photos.
This male model pose often works well when combined with his arms folded. Having one led cocked and the tips of his toes against the ground can also have a natural appeal.
Watch you model to see if he understands you when you offer directions. Some guys will pick up what you want more quickly than others.
3. Casual Stroll
A male photoshoot will often include poses for men when they are walking. A casual stroll is another pose that helps guys feel relaxed and confident.
Your male model poses better when he feels comfortable and less aware of your camera so instruct him to walk slowly and with self-assurance.
Photographing male models doing something normal helps you create more stunning images.
His expression should be relaxed to match his gait.
4. Brisk Walk
Ramp up the speed and get him to look more determined for the brisk walk pose. Poses for men when they appear to intentionally convey power.
Again, his expression needs to work with the way he’s walking for this male pose to be most effective.
Having your model walk towards the camera produces a different look than when he’s walking across your field of view. You’ll need to follow the action and be precise with your focus to get nice sharp images.
Communicate clearly with your male model. Ask him to walk a little slower and keep the same composure if you need to.
5. Waiting on a Friend
Here’s another natural, relaxed-looking male model pose. Sitting on a park bench or at a cafe like he’s waiting on a friend. He’s got to be looking natural in his environment, so choose your location for this male model pose carefully.
You may need to give him some direction for what to do with his hands so they look good. Pay attention to the details with male body poses so they don’t look awkward. Look at his hands. What shape do his arms make?
Sometimes to get guy poses looking natural you can ask your model to stand up and walk around a little. Then have him sit back down in a natural manner.
6. One Leg Up
This male standing pose produces a balanced look of relaxed confidence. Like a guy standing at a bar with one leg on the kick rail.
Or on something higher, like a chair. When his leg is high enough, have him lean on it casually.
Try the shot both ways.
Poses for men like this one can often work well from different perspectives. Stand with your camera so you are side on to your model. Then come around a little more in front of him, to about a forty-five-degree angle.
Be careful he still looks good when you move around directly in front of him.
7. Soft Look Away
This is a popular male model pose in the fashion industry. Don’t get your guy so he’s always looking into your camera lens.
The soft look away poses for male models can be used subtly to contrive a thoughtful portrait. You can alter the look of this pose simply by having your model look up or look down.
Male poses like this one are mostly about the direction of the look. It’s still important to pay attention to how he places his hands. If it’s used as a standing pose, take care to position his legs and body well also.
It can be a good idea to tell you male model to imagine what he’s looking at. If there’s nothing interesting around, create some scenario for him to think about. This will help his expression.
8. Sitting Relaxed
When thinking about male body poses, consider a selection of poses where your guy is seated. Sitting relaxed at a table or on the ground in a park makes a man relatable. Communicate well with him so he knows he looks relaxed.
He might be thinking, ‘How do I make myself look photogenic?’ As a photographer, this is part of your job. When you arrange male model poses you must assure him that he looks great.
When you do, he will become more relaxed and confident.
This alone will mean your photos are more impactful and realistic looking.
9. Step Up or Down
Position yourself at the top of a flight of stairs when you arrange poses for men like the step-up pose. Have him hold his gaze high and straight ahead as he walks towards you. Or have him pose in a freeze-frame. This will make it easier for you to focus on him.
Alternatively, stand below and photograph him as he walks away from your camera.
Once you have a couple of frames with his best foot forward looking like he’s in motion, get him to actually move. Capturing the real action it’s more challenging. Shoot a lot of frames and pick the sharpest one – where he’s in focus and looking great.
The step down is a pose for men with a different feel than the step-up pose. Have you man walking down the stairs towards you, or away from you. This creates an alternative appearance than when he’s walking up the stairs.
As he comes down towards you have him look more pensive. Maybe he has one hand in a pocket, looking thoughtful. Naturally, his eyes will be looking at where he’s walking. Don’t forget this when you take a freeze-frame shot or two of him in this pose.
10. Arching Arm
The arching arm is another one of the popular male model poses. Think, how do I pose like a male model, and you’re likely to imagine a guy with an arching arm.
This pose is simple. You make sure one or both of his arms are not straight. This creates a more dynamic shape than when his arms are both by his side.
Add a slight lean to this pose and he’ll appear like a movie star. Combined with the right expression, the arching arm poses for male models can convey the image of a powerful man.
This can be one of the best male model poses.
11. Over Shoulder Look
As you guy poses standing square to your camera, have him glance back over his shoulder. Like someone just called his name. If you get his partner to actually do that you may catch a nice, natural smile.
Male photography poses such as this one show a strong profile view of his face. Pay attention to his neck. This must look good too. Ask him not to stretch too far around otherwise you’ll not see enough of his face.
Male poses where you are photographing him from behind are very effective. Get him to look back over his shoulder at you. This can be coupled with a fun expression or a more sullen one. Make sure to let him know the look you want.
If you want him looking directly at the camera, ask him to turn from his hips, not only his neck. This will make the look more natural and easy.
Asking him to look off to one side and not directly at you creates a similarly effective male model pose.
12. That Interested Look
When you’re directing a man how to pose for a photoshoot, you’ll want to ask him for one pose in particular.
That’s the interested look pose.
This is often used when a male model poses sitting. Have him lean forward, looking directly into your lens. His elbows can be resting on his knees to add emphasis to this look. It must be accompanied by an intense expression of interest.
Direct him not to put his full weight on his elbows so his shoulders don’t come too far forward.
13. Hands in Pockets
Male poses calling for the guy to have his hands in his pockets convey a sense of casual confidence. He appears relaxed and content.
This male model pose is useful in business or casual settings.
Have your guy position his hands so they look good. If he’s plunged his hands deep into his pockets the look will be very different than if he just has his fingers in.
You decide the look you want.
14. Hand on Face
One or both hands placed open on the cheeks creates an interesting look, especially for a tightly cropped portrait.
Have you model lean with his elbows on a table and place his chin in the ball of his hand. How does this look with his fingers closed together? Or spread apart a little.
Whether you have him place one hand or two on his face will result in a couple of quite different looking pictures.
Consider how your guy looks when he leans hard on his hand and when he justs rest his chin lightly.
When a guy poses with his chin resting on a fist it creates a strong portrait. When he rests his cheek against the same fist, the look is a lot different.
Both fist side by side with knuckles together is another worthy variation on this pose to try.
As with the open hands on face pose, this one works best when he’s leaning with his elbow on a table or some other surface. Like this, it looks more natural.
The ‘creative hand on face’ is a variation on this pose. It was mastered by the late, great Irving Penn in his portrait of Truman Capote, (and others.) Be creative with your male model poses. Get a little unconventional.
Study the shape of your model’s face and hands. Arrange them together for the look you want.
The creative combination of hands used in male poses can produce unique photographs.
Reclining by the pool or on a bed. Poses for men relaxing in this way add a new dimension to your male photoshoot.
Get him laying on his side, propping his head up with this hand. Or resting on his back with both hands behind his head. Have him bend one knee, or both.
Work with the environment where the male model poses for the photoshoot. Get him to genuinely relax as he would naturally.
This may be different if you’re photographing him laying on the beach or in a deck chair.
16. The Stretch
Is it an early morning stretch or a late at night one? Maybe it’s a warm-up stretch before some serious exercise. What do you want to communicate with these male model poses?
Look at the shape of his body and what he’s doing with his arms. You want him to stretch naturally, but the pose must also look good in your photograph.
His arms can both be extended upwards. Or you can have him place his hands behind his head.
17. Shouldered Jacket
For the last of our male model poses I give you the classic.
The shouldered jacket.
Clean and confident.
This is a staple for any photographer wanting to create a more relaxed feel to a business photoshoot. With his jacket off and slung over his shoulder, it might be the end of the workday, but he’s still in charge.
This is a feel-good shot. Have him roll his shirt sleeves up and put a big smile on his face. He’s closed the deal and looking forward to his vacation.
18. Hands over Mouth
When you're pushing in for a closeup of your model, try one with their mouth covered. This can draw a lot of visual interest to the photo especially if you crop it tightly.
Experiment with different variations on this with your male model. Just have them cover their mouth with one hand, then two.
Get creative with these shots and don't delete any images until you're in Capture One (or Lightroom).
19. The glance
This male model pose is extremely popular and similar to the soft look away, however, this one features a more intentional and focused off-camera glance.
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20. Highlighting the Jawline
Many believe that a strong jawline is a way to present masculinity in male model poses. As a photographer, you will want to make sure your subject will push their chin out and down slightly. By making the jawline well-defined and sharp you will accentuate that side of your model’s face.
Another clever tactic that photographers use to highlight the jawline is by using shadows from the lighting around them. When taking the photos, you want to make sure that the jawline isn’t blending into the neck.
21. Squinting the eyes
Have you seen that look that male models do when posing where they look a bit playful and mischievous all in one? It’s the squint in their eyes. It makes the model look like they have something up their sleeves.
This tends to be a common trend among male model poses. They will do a squint where they raise their eyelids a bit to narrow the eyes giving them a more attractive pose in their pictures.
22. Tilt the head away from the camera
One note that male models should keep in mind is that when they are posing for a picture, they should tilt their head away from the camera. It should be a slight tilt so that it makes the subject look slightly mysterious and interesting. If tilted too much, it may make the male model’s pose seem more angry and aggressive.
23. Getting Ready
This is a very easy one to add to the repertoire of male model poses. The subject should be posing when they are in movement while getting ready. For example, they can grab the lapels of their jacket as they put it on and walk towards the camera.
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Male model poses don’t need to be complicated, but rather could be as simple as one that is on the go.
24. Crossed Arms
This male model pose is a great one even for the most inexperienced model. It gives the model a stance of authority or can even be seen to be “airy” depending on the facial expressions that the model is also expressing.
It can be used when the model is both standing and sitting and it helps solve the awkwardness that some people feel when they don’t know what to do with their arms.
25. Hair swipe
A go-to for many fashion photographers is the hair swipe. This male model pose gives off a vibe that is sultry and relaxed. It helps to also accentuate the model’s upper body strength.
26. The Thinker
The Thinker is a male model pose that has been taken from the famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin. This pose is a classic where the model is in a sitting pose with their chin resting on their hand which is turned inward.
27. The Improv
This isn’t necessarily a conventional pose. It’s a pose that is usually captured spontaneously. It’s the movement that the male model expresses between his formal poses.
This male model pose can be one that happens during a dance break. It’s just a little bit of improv and can help keep the direction of the shoot in a positive and fun environment.
Pin this article for your next shoot
Keep this on your phone and reference it during your next photoshoot.
Having a visual reference to work from makes a photoshoot run more smoothly. Male model poses can be challenging to think of on the fly when you’re in the midst of a shoot.
Using these examples of the best male model poses for photoshoots will ensure your next one will be a real winner.