Male Figure Photography Examples

Kate Miller-Wilson

Male Figure Photography Basics

Although photos of female models tend to gather more attention, male figure photography is an art form on its own. If you're interested in developing your figure photography skills, LoveToKnow Photography has prepared a slideshow featuring tips that may be helpful as you complete your first project. You can learn to take better pictures while keeping a model comfortable and at ease.

Tattoos and Piercings

While some photographers prefer models with no tattoos or piercings, these body modifications can reflect a sense of vibrancy and personality. If you choose to use a model with tattoos, use lighting that highlights the body art.

Photographing a Couple

Photographing a couple together can result in a beautiful and artistic image. To keep the focus on the figure, consider posing the models looking away from the camera.

Shooting in the Nude

If you're shooting your model in the nude, ask him to wear loose fitting clothing and no socks or underwear to the shoot. This will help avoid reddish pressure marks on the body that can take up to an hour to disappear.

A Captivating Expression

When shooting male figure photography, make sure your model understands the importance of a specific point of focus. Staring in a general direction results in a vacant and slightly confused expression. Give him direction about the emotion you want him to portray. Play with off-camera flash and colored gels for even more impact.

Interesting Angles

Close up shots of a specific body part can be just as interesting as traditional full-body poses. The male back can be powerful, and if you light it from the side, you can show off this incredible musculature.

The Beauty of Black and White

Even if you generally prefer shooting in color, consider trying a few black and white or sepia-toned images to give your project a slightly different look. You'll find black and white photography can enhance the emotion in your image and show off the light and shadow as it hits the male figure.

The Grace of Male Dancers

Male dancers make wonderful figure study subjects. Their powerful bodies and inherent grace lead to some amazing poses and beautiful shapes. Consider backlighting the shot to make a near-silhouette of the figure.

Get Inspired by Classical Art

Create an homage to the classical artists with a male figure model. Creative draping of fabric, combined with beautiful lighting, can show off the timeless strength and beauty of the male figure.

Mature Male Figures Are Beautiful

Male figure photography doesn't just have to be about youth. Mature men are beautiful too, and you can highlight the texture of time with gorgeous lighting.

Choose Creative Poses

Photography poses are important for figure studies, as you can highlight various body parts and change the mood with how you position the model. Consider the lines made by the body as you choose a pose. Posing arms and legs in repeating patterns can be pleasing to the eye.

Use Props to Show Strength

Strength is an important part of male figure photography, and you can use props to highlight it. Have a model hold a weight and make your image about the strength of his arm. High contrast lighting can show off the musculature.

Highlight His Abs

If the model has amazing abs, show them off with an image that is closely cropped to focus on them. Light partially from above so the shadows show off the ripples of his muscles.

Figure of Fatherhood

There's a beautiful contrast between the strength of a powerful male figure and the delicate body of a baby. Show how a man's body can be both strong and tender by capturing a male model holding a newborn. You can also do this photo with real families to show the importance of fatherhood.

Play With Angles

Figure photography is all about angles. You'll find that creating strong diagonals can make your image powerful and inspiring.

Whether you create male figure photography as art or use it as inspiration for drawing men, have fun playing with different poses and lighting techniques to create beautiful art from the male body.

Kate Miller-Wilson
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Male Figure Photography Examples