One of the really common threads you'll find in photography forums is "How do I photograph males?" or "I'm shooting a senior guy this weekend. Can anyone give me some inspiration?" For some reason, photographing men (without their significant other) tends to be this whole other genre of photography that a lot of self-taught photographers rarely dapple in. Well folks, never fear, here are some quick tips I've put together for your next shoot:
1. "What do I do with my hands?"
In many photos featuring women, you'll see the delicate touch of their hands to their faces or hair. Sometimes even crossed, holding each arm.
*Pulls out Blue Steel pose*
"Give me cold! You're cold! Brrrr"
With men, these delicate poses just don't seem to look quite right. My first tip is to give their hands some purpose! Have them adjust their watch, sun glasses, take their jacket off/on, etc. This will also add some movement to your photos which creates a lot more interest.
Another thing we do when we photograph women is that we tend to pull out the big doe eyes to evoke a type of innocence or vulnerability. Buuut those big, sad eyes just don't tend to photograph well on men. Sorry guys. Would it be appropriate to throw out another Zoolander reference? Sure let's do it.
A look you will find a lot in media are slightly squinted eyes and sometimes the models even look a little angry. I catch myself sometimes saying "Give me a slight scowl... woah! Not that angry!" lol You do not want to go overboard on this look.
2. Tilt & Contour
One thing many men have over us women (which I am super jealous of) is amazing bone structure. What really stands out in a lot of men are strong jaw lines, brow bones, or cheek bones. To accentuate these facial features, all you need to do is have your model slightly tilt their head. Turning their jaws slightly up towards the camera. Or in some cases titling their foreheads towards the camera. This all depends on the face structure of the person you are working with. Also use your shadows to contour (who needs that new $80 make up pallet) the areas on the face that you want to showcase.
3. Personal Style
Every single person I shoot is completely different. Use your model/clients personal style to direct your shoot and where you want it to go. And so your question now might be "okay... well how do I know where to go or what to do based off of their 'style'?" The real answer to that is you have to get to know your client. I always suggest meeting with your client or model beforehand or spending the first few minutes of your shoot getting to know each other. Once you get a feel for who they are, you will start to understand the type of environment they feel most comfortable in and naturally where they will look the best in.
4. Rules were meant to be broken
I feel my purpose as a photographer is to capture the beauty I find in life through MY eyes. This means if I want to embody Derek Zoolander in my photos well doggonit, I can! (Last one I swear)
These tips are not to put you or your models in any type of box. Let your freak flag fly, let your creativity take you to new heights and break the molds of standard expectations for male models. Because at the end of the day we as photographers are all unique and each of us bring something completely different to the table.
Do you have any of your own do's & don'ts when photographing males? Let me know if you found these tips helpful. I'd love to see you guys use these tips on your next shoot! Feel free to share your images with me, I'd love to check them out.