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How to Take a Man's Portrait

Men tend to be a little easier to take a portrait of than women, but they need their own brand of reassurance.


  • Step 1: Choose his good side While introducing yourself to your subject, take a good look at his facial characteristics from all sides--discreetly. Identify his 'good side,' but don’t tell him.
  • Step 2: Pick what to enhance or minimize Quickly decide on what features you want to minimize or enhance.
  • Step 3: Reassure him Inform your subject that you only want to do a few distinct setups and you won’t take up much of his time. While men probably won’t feel comfortable being flattered, they’ll appreciate it if you’re as casually efficient as possible.
  • Step 4: Select your backdrop Select your backdrop. While you do so, strike up a conversation about sports, or ask him what he does for a living.
  • TIP: To isolate the subject from the background, use a long telephoto lens at a widest aperture possible, and stand a minimum of 10 to 15 feet in front of the subject making sure he fills the frame.
  • Step 5: Explain your plan Pick up your camera and explain to your subject how you intend to work.
  • Step 6: Set up your camera Select the appropriate film, aperture and shutter speed for your lighting conditions.
  • Step 7: Compose your shot Compose your shot and meter on the subject.
  • TIP: Compose your subject by using the rule of thirds, where your subject is either in the left or right third, not the direct middle, for the most interesting pictures.
  • Step 8: Shoot quickly Shoot as fast as humanly possible, from a variety of distances and angles. Keep talking to keep him loose, and shoot in between his responses. Act like you’re more interested in his opinion than in scrutinizing his face and he’ll show his true colors to the camera.
  • FACT: Sports photographers typically have cameras that can take at least five pictures per second.

You Will Need

  • A single-lens reflex camera
  • A male subject
  • Photographic lighting

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