September 26, 2019
Posing for Senior Guys
When someone asked me about posing for senior guys, I knew I needed to blog about it. Because there is one word that often makes senior photographers nervous, and that word is “GUYS”. I’m talking senior guys. I will find myself scrolling Facebook and see a post in one of my photography groups, asking for advice on senior guys. And I get it! They’re usually not super excited to have their pictures taken, usually aren’t giggly or silly like girls, and sometimes they don’t even want to be there. But that shouldn’t make you nervous! I’m going to walk you through my steps to posing a senior guy, and providing them with an elevated experience.
We will get through this. Senior boys are super fun and you should not be afraid of them. I love the senior guys that I’ve worked with. I think having a brother in high school has helped me with understanding what they want out of their experience when they have pictures taken. Once you can understand their mindset, this will help you understand how to make the experience you provide for them much more fun.
Start off strong with a fun tone and make things light for them. They just want to have a good time and be understood that this is not their favorite thing to do, probably. Senior girls are taking selfies all the time. They like posing with their friends and pictures. I’m telling you, my brother would never pull out his cell phone and ask me for a selfie. That is just not going to happen.
First of all, I think that it’s really important to set expectations for yourself. Your senior boy is not going to show up to his session bubbly, giggly and excited like your girls are. That is just not going to happen. For the boys, a lot of them are probably being dragged there by their mothers and that is just okay. I think if you approach your session with the mindset that they are probably going to be a little more casual and a little more relaxed, you’re not going to feel down about yourself later when you’re thinking about how your pictures went. You’re not going to find yourself feeling sad, or thinking, “Oh, he wasn’t so into it.” He totally might have been into it, but they’re just not super expressive at that age. That’s just not how they work, and that’s okay! That’s just their brains at that point in life. Go in knowing that they’re not going to react the same way that girls do. They’re probably not going to giggle at the back of the camera when you show them their pictures, like a girl would. They might say, “That’s cool,” if you show them the back of your camera. Just go in with the right mindset and I think you’re already preparing yourself for success.
Make Them Laugh
That being said, I would still try really hard to make them laugh when you’re working with them. Say a prompt like, “Oh, okay. Go ahead and look away from the camera,” and then make a joke about it! Like, “Oh, this is so natural standing out in the field here, with a camera, we’re doing something totally normal. Nothing to see here.” Just by making jokes and goofing around, they’re going to think, “Yeah, this is pretty silly.” And they’re going to laugh at you and you’re going to be able to get that nice natural reaction.
Also, self-deprecating humor works really well for senior boys. Such as, “Oh, my photographer is crazy. She’s asking me to smile at nothing out here in the middle of the field.” Things like that are going to make your senior laugh, and he’s going to react a lot better rather than just being like, “Look off that way.” And that’s all you leave them with. It’s okay to say, “Oh my photographer is crazy. She’s asking me to do the weirdest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Nothing to see here. Everything’s natural.” They love things like that. They think that it’s funny. Keep the energy positive and you’ll have a fan!
One More Tip: They Like Cool Backgrounds
Find a cool background. Whether it’s really good framing of a picture, a really cool graffiti wall, or some sort of cool industrial background. They really like different backgrounds, with fun textures! This is another reason why senior guys are so much fun. It’s your chance to get creative with them! They love cool, fun colors, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little!
My first tip for posing senior guys is don’t over analyze their posing. Just give them a nice quick prompt, let them pose themselves, and then fine-tune it from there.
For example, if I wanted my guy to cross his arms across his chest, I would tell him to do exactly that (Instead of strategically placing everything, like we would typically pose girls!). He’s going to do what feels natural to him and that’s what looks best on camera.
Once they do get the pose right, praise them. Make sure that they know what they did was right because guys love hearing that! Positive reinforcement works really well for guys!
Also, notice how in the picture above the senior literally did not move! I did all the moving here. Me!! I just walked to a different angle and got a completely different view! Use your creativity with guys. Once you start to learn to be creative, they become so much more fun!!
And now without further ado, these are my five favorite posing for senior guys!
I’ll have them stand feet shoulder width apart, and then I’ll add different poses for their arms and tweak things from there. One example is crossing their arms. Hands in pockets also looks really nice for guys. You can do two hands in both pockets or you can do one hand in a pocket. Basically just make sure that they have something to do with their hands or arms!
Find something for them to lean against, whether it’s a wall or a fence, a fence post or a tree. Again, you can do the arms crossed with leaning. You can do hands in pockets while they’re leaning. Get different angles! You can shoot them straight on or from 45 or 90 degrees!
When it comes to posing for senior guys, there is an art to squatting. You do not want this to look suggestive of them using the bathroom! (LOL) so you need to be very careful about this one, but when executed correctly it turns out to be some of my favorite images in their gallery! Have them face directly toward you, and then turn them 90 degrees for a different look!
You can have them sit criss-cross applesauce style on the ground or you can have them with one knee up. If you’re going to have them sit, you can’t do hands and pockets anymore or arms crossed, so keep their hands natural. For example, hang on to the knee, leaning on the elbow. Find something natural in their element so that things don’t look strange or out of place.
I like to have the guy sit sideways for their senior session! That can be leaning against a wall or with nothing to lean on. It works anywhere! A lot of the times I’ll have them put their hands around the knee for this one too.
I hope that these tips for posing for senior guys are helpful for you, friend! If you found them helpful and want more tips like this, join my free Facebook group for photographers. It’s full of hundreds of photographers just like you that want to learn more about senior photography! Or check out my blog posts for photographers here!