Posing men is simpler than women, only in the sheer numbers of poses that a woman can be posed in.  Men tend to be more rigid in their posing and much more intolerant of anything outside their comfort zone.  Men want to look manly and not be embarrassed.  I always say that men have no idea of how much a woman worries about in their appearance, unless they have a job like mine or are a plastic surgeon.  For you lady photographers, you will never understand how much a man doesn’t want to be publicly embarrassed and you never will be you are not a man.

Dancing is an excellent example to see the differences in women and men.  You look out on any dance floor and you will see women dancing with other women, women dancing in groups, women dancing by themselves, and of course a few dancing with men.  The skill level of these women dances ranges from excellent to woman that dance the Elaine character in Seinfeld (she appeared to be having spasms to the music, while not really keeping to the beat!)  Women have a greater fear of not fitting in then they do of doing something poorly in front of people.  Women have less inhibition about new experiences in public than men.

Now you look at the men on the dance floor.  You see the guys that are great at dancing and those men that are afraid enough of the woman they are with risk public embarrassment and do something they don’t know how to do in public.  Men are also taught that things like dancing and being photographed are for “girls” and cool guys don’t do either one.

I am not making fun of woman or men, just point out the difference in the majority of each gender so you can make everyone comfortable in front of the camera.  There is much more to posing than memorizing the poses.

Men are very uncomfortable when they have to do something new.  They are downright “freak out” when having to do something new in front of people.  So the first rule for pose men is to have them be photographed in a place that is comfortable to them.  I am not suggesting you go to their home and photographing them in their sweats, sitting on the recliner watching TV.  I am saying that you keep the tendency of a male in mind when you book a session.

In the studio, make sure that other people are not around when you photograph any man.  I work with assistants, but I only have one with me when I photograph a male and I try to make sure it is a male, as men get more self-conscious in front of women and especially younger woman like I have work for me (not sexist, or preference of age on my behalf, just makes sense working with seniors all day!)  When I am photographing anyone, I make sure that no other clients are watching or coming through the camera room, but I am especially conscious of this when photographing a man.

When I photograph a man or men as part of a group outdoors, I select a more secluded location to avoid on lookers and passersby.  In a larger family portrait session, where we will photograph smaller family groups, I ask additional family members not being photographed to relax in an area out of sight from the family I am photographing.  The other problem with multiple men in a family location is the dumb-assed need for the man not being photographed to try and embarrass the man that is being photographed into smiling.  Good smile, red face!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on July 5, 2011.

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