Male Action Poses and Stances for Portrait Photography

Written by Kathy Patricia

February 21, 2020

We usually know male subjects to be reluctant and indifferent to photoshoots mostly. Most of the time, their poses are all too similar, but you know what – they don’t have to be. On the contrary to the stereotypes, there are so many male action poses in trend nowadays that you can rarely run out of them. And the varieties are never-ending, regardless of your model being in whatever the age or profession group. From professional models to your average joe, anyone try out these poses and get stunning results. 

This article is about such ideas and tips for male action photography, here you can learn about shooting and posing for portraits while not being a bore about it. Photography is an art, and posing for it is just the same.

Ideas on male action pose for photography 

1.Classic Headshots

Such types of headshots are pretty mainstream, and for the most cases – this is what we first think about when we hear the word “headshot.” While being very common, it is also one of the most challenging shots to take. Since the focus is solely on your face, you have to become creative with the facial expression. The trick is to look interested and interacting with the camera, making natural expressions look more appealing in classical headshots.

2.Crossing Arms to Pose

When you’re considering a full-length shot, a crossed arms pose might suit better for you. This one is among the most popular poses for corporate and business photo shoots. This also answers the dilemmas of the model about what they should do with their hands. Although while posing remember to angle the body accordingly so that you don’t appear to unwelcoming and closed, posing right can convey gestures such as strength, welcoming, and open.

3.Crossing Legs

Crossed legs are another classic example of a full-body shot for males. Want to appear confident? By all means, try the crossed leg pose; this pose comes off as bright and confident. Also, when you’re trying this pose while sitting, you’re going to appear more comfortable, and that is interpreted as natural in photos. So it is a win-win situation both ways, the photograph will be oozing with masculinity also with the right kind of outfits you can nail the confident look too.

4.Proceeding with your Best Side

As the name suggests, this pose is about showing off your best side on the photograph. So, you get an advantage with the posture and the possible outcome of the photo. The aim of the photographer should be capturing the full face, but at an angle, so the best look of the model comes to the surface – making his face appear thinner. Also, it is one of the most used male poses for drawing.

5.Looking at the Camera

So in this pose, you have to look at the camera to get a frontal shot of you. The requirements are pretty straight forward yet hard to follow. Since you have to face the camera, the sole focus remains on your face. And male models often have a hard time relaxing for a full-face front shot and end up having a stern expression. So while taking close up shots, have the model try different facial expressions and go with one he’s more comfortable with.

6.Putting Hands in Pockets

Male models love this pose, not only because their physique looks good this way, but also because they come off as relaxed and super confident. When they keep their hands in pocket, their shoulder comes off as broader, and they look comfortable in the pose too. But while pulling this pose, remember that you shouldn’t put your whole wrist inside the pocket, which will make the photo look awkward – just the fingers or keep the thumb out to get a more fresh and welcoming look.

7.Capturing Man in Motion

If you want to capture your model in motion, several measures are necessary on the contrary to the still, regular photography. For formal or business purpose, you’re going to need a skilled model first. You can ask the model to walk or run toward the camera or pretend to fix anything of the outfit, kick a football, etc. anything that adds a sense of motion to the photograph. Such sort of action poses male models that prefer much in sports photography and magazines.

8.Leaning to Pose

Another popular male poses reference for models. For such poses reference male models tend to follow the canon practice of slightly leaning toward the wall, shelves, tables, pillars, etc. to give the body a sense of support. You can use your back or shoulder to form a connection with the object you’re leaning on and begin with the pose. You can also make the photo more unique by using additional props, putting your hands in pocket, or looking away from the camera – mixing other male reference poses. 

9.Posing on Stairs

Posing while sitting on stairs is a pretty famous pose for outdoor male photoshoots. Posing in stairs gives you the liberty to express yourself; however, you want and still look vibrant. You can give off a strong, cute, casual vibe depending on your choice of outfits. Remember, while posing with both legs in different steps, don’t keep them too close to the body, which will make the legs look disproportionate to each other.

10. Posing on the Floor

When you’re sitting on the floor for a photograph, there are many things to pay attention to; first is the posture; in this sort of shot, your full body will be on camera, so you have to put effort not to look uncomfortable. Also, outfits play a significant role here; since you’ll be sitting on the floor, you have to check that your clothes don’t appear as wrinkled. Finally, the landscape, such shots tend to allow a fair portion of background in the frame, so getting creative with the surroundings while keeping it in rhythm of the theme will make the shot more attractive.

11.Focusing on Tattoos

If the theme of your photography is tattoo, then you’ll have to fix the concentration of your photograph. You can choose to take the shot by focusing on the individual part of the body where the tattoo is located, or you can do a full-length shot but still keeping the tattoo in a keen focus. Tattoos tell untold stories of background and is a sign of a bold personality. According to the consent of the model, you can choose to have the tattoo on camera or get the model a temporary one.

12.Capturing Full-Length Photo

A much-preferred pose for formal photoshoots.  The job of the photographer is to make the portrait look professional since you’re going to present a full-body shot. However, the theme of the photoshoot is formal or casual, put effort into shoes and outfits. For body language, try something you’re comfortable with, smile, or intimidating; whatever your facial expression is, keep your body relaxed to make it look more natural. Decide on a background that goes with the theme.

13.Holding a Cigarette

As we’ve discussed before, props can make the story of the photograph more vibrant. Using cigarettes can also prove to be able to put a more diverse effect on the picture. Ask the model to hold a cigarette in his hand. As far as the stereotype goes, smoking can give one from a bad boy look to a meditative posture. Lit cigarette with smokes makes a man look mysterious and which could be a simple yet intriguing pose for male.

14.Wearing Glasses

When shooting male photography, using props adds more layers and variety to the photograph. You can convey more rich emotions through the body language that requires the accessory. Such an effect also takes place while the model uses glasses. Spectacles make the model look more smart and expressive. You can also attempt to look more attentive by pretending to fix the glasses. The pose works even if you are not wearing the glasses, but holding it on your hand is also expressive for a shot.

15.Elegant Poses with Car

Posing with a vehicle is a great outdoor shooting idea. A classy car makes the photo more sophisticated. It is an excellent suggestion for photoshoots, such as in business magazines. A car levels up a man’s confidence and glamour many times. You can either choose to pose with the car or in the car – choose outfits resonating with the color or type of the car. Also, since landscapes go better with such poses, remember to shoot on a place with a beautiful background.

If you are interested, you can also read about hand poses  photography by clicking here.



We have reached the end of this article. The aim was to introduce you to the vast types of classy male action poses. Although following a theme is essential, keep in mind the purpose of this photograph and what story you want to tell through it, the poses will be different depending on your answers. Lastly, don’t pressurize the model, find something you’re both comfortable about.

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