We’ve compiled our favorite senior picture ideas for guys—even the ones who aren’t that into being photographed.
Easy senior photo poses for guys
Shy guys, sweet guys, smart guys, silly guys, and tough guys: with so many great dudes in the world, you’d think their senior portrait photography would be a breeze! Yet professional photographers regularly struggle to find senior boy poses that please both the high schooler and his parents.
For your average, awkward/awesome high school senior guy, you might need a bit of help. So we’ve curated some of our favoring senior picture posing ideas for your great guy clients…
#1: Something to lean on
Basically, nobody likes to stand in front of a camera with no clue what to do with their hands, feet, or face. Everyone and their mama knows how to lean, though. Give your client something to lean on, and you’ll quickly get a sense of how their body naturally settles.
Shaw Photography Co.’s affirmations
“I use encouraging words and affirmations throughout the senior session, telling them, Wow, you are so natural at this! or Ahh, this last one was really good!—and I never show the back of the camera.
#ShootProof PRO Tip
Everything in a photo should reflect your client’s story, from the scenery to the props to the wardrobe. If your senior guy is a theater fanatic who bikes to school, photographing him leaning against his car won’t be meaningful. Likewise, if you’re photographing a rough-and-tumble country guy, don’t use the big city skyline as his senior picture backdrop.
#2: Add movement to his senior year pictures
The further away you are from your high school years, the more likely you’ll be to forget how much energy those young whippersnappers have. Don’t overlook opportunities to get some motion out of each senior picture session!
Bump up your shutter speed
From riding a four-wheeler to kicking a soccer ball, any sort of physical sport can make for great images that highlight a teen’s passion. Just remember: big motion requires a fast shutter if you don’t want a blurry mess.
A shutter speed of 1/250″ or faster will work in most daylight conditions. If you’re using a flash, you will be able to slow your shutter speed down some and rely on the strobe light to “freeze” the photo.
#3: Test new ideas with eager seniors
Even the simple act of moving from sitting to standing can make for a moody moment. Senior picture sessions are often a teen’s first experience with professional photography. This makes senior girls and guys the perfect test subjects for creative posing ideas and lighting setups.
#4: Sit, squat, kneel, chill
It’s next-to-impossible to sit suavely with both knees clutched to your chest. Let your client relax by telling him to relax one leg out in front of him or curled under his other leg. When photographing guys, posing that feels natural will always photograph better than a stiff stance.
Source some super-cool seating
You don’t need to drag an armchair all over town to get seated images (but 10 points to you if you do!) Look for stairs, ledges, curbs, tree stumps… Wherever your client sits, make sure the area is sturdy and safe—especially with outdoor senior pictures where you don’t have total control over the environment.
#5: Eye contact is overrated
Some of your clients may find eye contact difficult due to their sensory processing style. Others may simply feel nervous gazing directly into your lens. The good news? Senior picture sessions no longer demand big cheesy grins directed toward the camera.
#6: “But what do I do with my hands?!”
Hands can be nearly as expressive as faces. We clench them when we’re nervous, rub them together when we’re thinking, and tuck them into pockets when we’re feeling shy—or exceptionally relaxed. Give hands a role in your senior photo sessions with posing ideas even uncoordinated teens can master.
Loose and limber
If your client is a fist-clencher, ask them to relax their hands so their fingers fall naturally. Watch out for hands that land in awkward places, though.
Pockets are there for a reason
“Tuck your thumbs in your pockets.” That’s the simplest way to get your clients hands relaxed at hip-height. If your client tucks their whole hand into a pocket, make sure their thumb and a bit of their hand is exposed so they don’t appear one-handed when they’re not.
#7: Sometimes a simple stance is best
Once your client is comfortable with you, you can usually get them to relax into a simple standing pose. If your senior still seems stiff, encourage them to widen their stance a little, and rock forward on the balls of their feet. The subtle lean will help highlight the face.
#8: Elbows to knees
Everyone on the planet knows how to lean forward and rest their elbows on their knees. It’s simple, comfortable, and does a great job of minimizing the waistline while accentuating the face.
#9: Get a “Grandma Photo”
The park bench, elbow-to-knees look is the easiest way to get a great Grandma Photo. What’s a Grandma Photo? It’s a photo a teen’s grandma will love because their sweet angel looks engaged, friendly, and natural—all in one great frame.
#10: Step into the studio
Whether you own your own studio or rent one from a fellow photographer, studio senior portrait sessions are perfect for clean, client-centric images. Bonus: you can take them rain or shine!
High key vs. low key
High key portraits have a white or bright background. Low key portraits have a black or dim background. Consider the mood your client brings into the studio, their clothing style, and their overall comfort level when selecting a light or dark backdrop.
Remember: light colors reflect light, while dark tones absorb light. Make sure your client’s dark hair or skin don’t disappear into an under-lit scene. Likewise, don’t blow out the highlights in a client’s light hair or skin!
No studio? No problem.
You don’t need a proper studio to create a dramatically-lit senior picture. You simply need flashes or strobes that are more powerful than the ambient light!
#11: Seek out slices of life
You don’t always need to photograph a client’s full face to make a beautiful portrait. Close crops, silhouettes, and reflections all offer opportunities for a fresh perspective.
Get into their world
When you take the time to build a relationship with your clients, they’re more likely to open up to you and share what matters most to them. Instead of insisting on locations you’ve used over and over again, try to join your client’s world. You’ll be rewarded with fresh posing ideas galore!
#12: Design a photo-worthy wardrobe
Your client’s wardrobe has a major impact on the success of a shoot. Any brilliant posing ideas will go out the window if your client is uncomfortable in their senior picture outfit, or if their clothing choice doesn’t complement the location.
Are your seniors a little shy? Here’s a great way to implement privacy settings in your ShootProof gallery!
Did you know that ShootProof offers many ways to empower your senior clients (both guys and girls), and make them feel comfortable every step of the way?
#1: Custom privacy settings
Ensure your client galleries are protected from the public eye by requiring your clients to input a password before being able to view and download their images.
This allows your client to only share what they are comfortable sharing. Try it out »
With the “Hide” feature, your seniors can decide how much they want to reveal when they share their gallery with friends and family.
#2: Hide specific photos
The “Hide” feature allows your senior client to control which photos are for their eyes only. This means when anyone else sees the images, they will NOT see the images that the client has hidden from view.
#3: Senior portrait contracts
ShootProof’s Contracts tool empowers photographers to run their most efficient photography business yet! In fact, we have pre-built, lawyer-approved senior portrait contracts ready for you to send to your senior portrait clients today!
You can also print with ShootProof
Printing with ShootProof is easier than ever with our professional partner labs!
You have options to self-fulfill, where your clients order through you and then you place the order with your favorite lab, OR your clients can order directly with one of our integrated labs, including:
- Miller’s Professional Imaging
- Black River Imaging
- Richard Photo Lab
- Loxley Color (UK, Europe and Mexico)
- Atkins Pro Lab (Australia and New Zealand)
- HC Pro (Australia and New Zealand)
- GTA Imaging (Canada)
- Print Refinery (Canada)
- Technicare (Canada)
Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by THE CARRS | JASMINE WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY | KENDRA LYNECE | LAVENDER BOUQUET PHOTOGRAPHY | LYNSEY LUE PHOTOGRAPHY |PRESTON LUKE | ROSS KYKER PHOTOGRAPHY | SHAW PHOTOGRAPHY CO.