MALE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

By SnapSquad - May 11, 2020

You may have hanged a few posters on your bedroom wall and laid down, propped up on a pillow, half-dreaming while staring at one. Whether you were a young girl or a man, male portraits of your then favourite actors or singers probably meant something special to you in one way or another. Beyond the classic show-business, fashion or even sportsmen’s (to name a few) posters, photographing male subjects has become prized art, for collectors of course, but also for the man next door who wants his portrait taken.



The Man who wants to Be Shot
The obvious question I would ask a man walking into my studio to have his solo portrait taken is “Why”. Is it for professional purpose, a CV, a brochure, a multimedia post…? If so, what’s his job? 
Is it going to be a gift for a loved one? A partner, a parent, a child (adult? Grown up?)? Is he going to pose alone or with someone? 
A picture, a portrait are meant to express something, in particular, to tell a story. The portrait of a man is no exception, and if he poses alone, he may not only send a clear message to someone or even a whole audience as he may want to communicate with himself privately or reminds himself about who he really is.

The Visual Message
I recently read about an interesting experiment ran by Canon where several photographers were invited to take a picture of the same man. Beforehand, however, each photographer was told a different story about who the model really was and his background. The results were amazing, with every portrait reflecting what the photographer had been told about the man.
When it comes to the message a photo should be able to express, the key to success will be found in communication running clear and smooth between photographer and client: If you are the photographer don’t be scared to ask questions (even personal ones) about what exactly the picture is meant to achieve. If you are the client, relax and share clearly how you intend to use your portrait, what you want it to reveal and highlight about yourself but also what you don’t want it to show that you feel uncomfortably self-conscious about your nose, your chin, a bald spot… Your photographer will know what to do and how to advise you for pose and even for clothing and colours.
There are magnificent male portraits in magazines and galleries; the array of personality traits they express and the interest they trigger is un-imaginable.  Great portrait pictures have the power to show all kinds of emotions. There is the sensuality, of course, that would touch a love partner but also tenderness, melancholy, strength, toughness, dignity and humour too. As it is, not all men want their portrait to be shared, they may want it just for themselves. A reference, a sort of vision board if you will, a permanent and attractive reflection of themselves that amplifies the traits of their character they want to develop. A way to feel good about themselves and their personal qualities that a good photographer can bring out with talent.

A picture speaks a thousand words. Let a photographer take your portrait; let it speak for you and to you.

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