So you’ve decided you want to become a model! Now—in order to start landing your first modeling jobs and building your modeling portfolio, you’re going to need to learn how to pose like a model. (Looking for female model poses? We’ve recently covered that topic as well!)
First, you’ll need a little inspiration. Browse the portfolios of your fellow models to see how they move their bodies. Portrait photographer portfolios also have a wealth of model pose inspo. Eventually, you’ll need to build an online portfolio website of your own, so it’s good to see what types of male model poses look great and work well.
We’ll lead you through the 10 types of male model poses that you need to master to rule the modeling world. Let’s get posing!
1. The Walk
When it comes to classic modeling poses for beginners, getting your walk right is one thing you absolutely must nail. Every good heist movie features a badass slow-motion walk—and that’s the energy you want to channel for this high-fashion model pose.
When you do your walk, you can either stare at the camera straight-on or look away, like you were caught unaware. A common facial expression is narrowed eyes, looking past the camera.
- For the actual stride itself, this can be anything from a gentle stroll to a power strut. The most common walk pose is to have one leg forward in mid-stride with toes off the ground.
- Extend your neck and push your chin forward and down; this is universally flattering.
- While the leg motion is obviously important, you need to figure out where your arms will go as well. Feel free to experiment with placement: try running a hand through your hair, or stick your mitts in your jacket pockets.
2. The Outdoor Pose
You want to make sure your model poses complement the natural scenery—but you still want to look good, too! Natural light can look amazing, but certain times of day mean less flattering lighting. Sunlight is softest during the golden hour, i.e. the hours just before dawn and just after dusk and before dawn. Overcast days are also great—the clouds act as a filter for the light. The closer to noon and the sunnier the day, the harsher the lighting, because the sun is directly above you and casting dark shadows. If you are standing, only parts of your face may be illuminated. Here’s how to work those outdoor model poses:
- Be sure to position yourself so the light catches on your best facial features. Keeping those contour lines visible makes up for the shadow on the rest of the face.
- Have an arm out to catch any extra light and add definition to the muscles.
- Another option is to lie on the ground, facing up, and make sure your chin is extended to capture all the light.
3. The Action Pose
Are you ready for action? These active male model poses will get you moving!
- Defy gravity. The most common form of this is a jump pose or an elevated arm or leg. Even something as simple as adding a leg up behind you while leaning on a wall adds visual interest.
- Fully extend your limbs or bend them near a ninety-degree angle to create a powerful pose. Softer, looser bends will give the pose a more approachable feeling.
- Draw the viewer’s eyes along your body. Experiment with how you can distribute your weight and extend your limbs in different ways. Your arms can be a part of the motion or held back with a wrist on a hand.
4. The Laid-back Pose
Time to relax and take a break. Or is it? You can’t just plop down anywhere. Here’s how to lounge in style:
- Keep your neck extended and give your limbs a generous amount of space to stretch. You want to look relaxed by letting your hands fall, but you will likely still be getting a mini ab workout pushing your back and shoulders out.
- Make physical contact with the things around you, whether you’re in a chair, by a wall or on a field. You can prop a leg up on a chair, lean back against a wall or touch the grass with your hands.
- Experiment with how you would naturally interact with your environment and draw your pose from there.
5. The Gazing Pose
Your eyes are the window to the soul and they are especially powerful for close-up portrait model poses.
- A powerful smize (smiling with your eyes) adds intensity and intimacy to your pose. For a successful smize, soften your eyes and look at the camera as though you are seducing it. You want to create a connection with the viewer through the lens.
- Make sure you know where the light is, and let your eyes catch it, whether you are looking away or into the camera.
- Be careful not to roll your eyes too far in a certain direction (unless you’re working on a quirkier shoot!). Keep your gaze gentle. The direction you are looking in will create a guiding line in the composition. Keeping your gaze in line with where you are facing creates a casual, familiar pose, while looking the opposite way adds contrast and energy.
6. The Hidden Face Pose
You’ve practiced your gaze, your expressions and all the best angles for your face—but sometimes you just need to hide it! Turning away from the camera or covering your face can actually draw more attention to it, as well as emphasize your body. This easy model pose focuses on how your body is interacting with your clothing and environment.
Some options to try:
- Face away from the camera and look back slightly.
- Use a prop to cover your eyes. Depending on what item you choose, doing this will add an air of mystery or playfulness to your pose.
- Experiment with covering your face with your hands; you can either keep it completely covered, or peek out a little.
7. The Freestyle Pose
Need to come up with some unique, funny model poses? Think playful! Try different things and let happy accidents occur: this pose should be perfectly imperfect. Here are some tips for creating a memorable male model pose.
- Have an unconventional focal point. Emphasize an exaggerated expression or a certain part of your body by moving it closer to the camera.
- Asymmetrical compositions make for intriguing poses, so consider glancing off-camera, bringing one shoulder closer, or taking a step with one leg.
- Maintain a clear silhouette; keep your limbs separated from your body when you can.
- There should be a playfulness in your movement, so make sure you are having fun. Rather than just following each point to the letter, let your photographer capture some candid motions.
- Most professional models will also know how far they can turn their head before their nose extends further than their cheek, but for this pose you can break the rules. For example, raise your head up higher than what might be conventionally attractive.
8. The Dramatic Pose
This one calls for a sense of drama and seriousness. When it comes to high-fashion model poses, you need to push the boundaries.
- Create contrast between the pose and the outfit. Whether it is a confrontational pose paired with a delicate outfit or a soft, sweet pose paired with more hardcore ensemble, the pose should manifest a feeling of uncertainty about what is going on.
- Be aggressive—try a menacing, dead-on gaze.
- Create harsh angles with your body by twisting your torso or bending your limbs. Experiment with body positions that might feel too weird for you to actually do in real life.
- Show vulnerability. Let your limbs fall limp or curve around you. Work a sleepy eye, or lie down in a near-fetal position.
9. The Sexy Pose
Sexy poses should accentuate your body, the curves of your muscles and your jawline. But there’s more to a sexy pose than just taking off your shirt.
- Square your shoulders and extend your neck to exude more presence.
- Add excitement by interacting with your body. You can play with your shirt, or touch a shoulder. Whatever the action is, you want to position yourself so you can flex a little.
- Practice your smize. Any male model pose can become sexy just by adjusting the look in your eye—regardless of how much skin you are actually showing.
10. The Couples Pose
Working with another model? These model poses are built for two!
- Get comfortable with your partner so you can ease into more natural-looking positions.
- Try an arm over around the waist or hold a hand. Perhaps your partner can have their arms around your shoulders.
- For a more casual couple pose, you can look in a different direction than your partner. To increase the intimacy, face your partner and look into their eyes.
- Keep your hands moving and find a comfortable embrace for your pose.
- A tilt of the head can change the mood and accentuate the closeness of your couple.
- Try walking together, with an arm over a shoulder or a hand in a back pocket.
Want more ways to get your modeling career on track?
Everything You Need to Know For a Successful Fashion Shoot
How to Get 20,000 Instagram Followers
How to Become a Model: A Beginner’s Guide