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Whether you’re shooting fashion, commercial or portraits working with an male model can be as equally challenging and rewarding as working with a female model.
You’re still dealing with a person who has an ego that at times might be fragile. You could be asking them to be extremely vulnerable and to take up poses and positions they might not have tried before. As you prepare for your next male model shoot consider these helpful tips:
Hopefully you’ll have a chance to interview the model before you start shooting to develop some level of report with your subject. It might be that you’re among the first photographer to shoot them. Don’t be distracted by their lack of experience and instead focus on why they were hired: the look. Let the model know you’ll be snapping hundreds of pictures but only the best will be used. In other words, they don’t have to make every shot “the one.”
Sometimes a male model won’t be the least bit self-conscious about what they are wearing or how they are posing. Others might feel inhibited if they have a room full of strangers watching them work. Create a safe space for the model. You could also have them invite a friend if it would put them at ease.
Don’t get lost in your amazing technique and lighting skills. Remember you’re shooting a model who wants to be told they are doing a good job even if they aren’t. Let them know what works and what doesn’t work in a confidence building way.
Naturally, changing outfits or looks is one way to take a break but if your model is constantly being primped and pulled out it’s not really a break. Make sure they have time to relax in between sets. You can even go over some of your selects with them. They will appreciate being let in on the editing process and every model loves looking at pictures of themselves!
If you’re trying to capture the essence of masculinity of a male model then try to frame the shot with their shoulders squared to the camera. The head can be turned by let the broad shoulders speak for themselves.
Depending on the theme of the shoot, you might be featuring different muscle groups of a male model. While lighting and make-up (oil) will accent those muscles, nothing beats some good old-fashioned flexing. Just be sure the model is flexing the muscles without flexing their face. Those same muscle groups could pop out with direct, harsher lighting where shadows can bring out the definition.
Whereas your female models will be accenting curves, your male models are all about sharp lines. This should be reflected in the clothes they wear and in the sets and props you choose.