Taking pictures of males can be an art all to itself. In general, females are more apt to enjoy a photo shoot, posing in an infinite number of ways for the camera. Guys, on the other hand, tend to feel more awkward and unsure around a camera’s lens (at least for more serious portrait-type photographs). If you have found yourself in the position of taking portraits of a male in your life (perhaps a brother or son for his senior pictures for the high school yearbook), here is a bit of advice on how to make your portraits look best.
When taking pictures of guys, always keep your camera lens level or beneath your subject. Pictures taken from above tend to look more feminine in nature, and this typically is not the affect that you will want to give you man’s portraits. Photographs taken at eye level with a subject show a certain intensity in the portrait that cannot be achieved from a higher angle. Pictures taken from beneath a subject’s face will give the impression of power-an impression often desired by male subjects. When taking pictures from beneath your subject, make sure that you are a decent distance from him, however, as being too close will usually result in rather awkward and unflattering photographs because of the steepness of the angle.
Keep the colors solid. Solid colored shirts tend to look best for such portraits, as they allow the focus of the photograph to be the individual being photographed instead of their attire. The background for such photos should also be kept fairly simple, perhaps in darker colors. Faded bricks, classic looking couches/chairs, old buildings, or even a plain dark black sheet are all good options for backdrops for your male subject.
Take the time to position your subject’s arms and shoulders. Most guys won’t have any idea of what to do on their own, so it will probably be up to you, the photographer, to direct them very specifically. Typically, male shots look good with the guy’s arms crossed. Another pose that looks good is having your subject lean forward with his arms on his knees/legs (and his hands folded); this leaning forward towards the camera can add to the intensity of the photograph. If your subject is posing with a favorite object (such as a book, a pipe, or a soccer ball), you may wish to have them in a more relaxed pose, perhaps evening leaning back against a wall (make sure that they still maintain relatively good posture for any leaning back portraits).
Finally, take both serious and “happy” pictures of your subject. Guys tend to have more serious expressions in their portraits, and it’s a good idea to include a few of these in your photo session. Make sure that you direct your subject exactly where to look, both with their eyes and head position. For more relaxed and happy shots, try to get your subject to loosen up and capture them in a laugh (or at the beginning of a spell of laughter). Many guys think that their smiles are awkward and funny looking when forced; capturing them while laughing usually results in a genuinely happy looking portrait.