It was a busy end to 2019 shooting lots of high school senior sessions and wedding related shoots. You might think that all of those senior sessions were with girls, but I actually had the pleasure of working with some really cool guys. Photographing boys for their senior pictures is in some ways easier than working with girls simply because there’s usually not a lot of wardrobe changes, except for a shirt change here and there. It can be more of a challenge to help them relax and to be themselves on camera. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, so here are some examples of senior picture poses for boys that work and why they do.
Bring their Gear
Bringing real items to their session from their high school life, such as sports gear, helps most guys really loosen up and become more themselves. There is something about having an object like a baseball or mitt to fiddle with that makes boys forget about that they’re being photographed. You can see how this worked for Ryan. In the first picture, he was ok. It’s a great picture of him and I worked with the white fence to create a nice background, but it’s a pretty “posed” picture. You’ll want a few of these to frame for sure and to use on graduation announcement cards for sure. In the following picture though, watch how his personality really comes through as he tosses his baseball.
Once I saw that he was feeling more comfortable, we were able to mix things up and get creative with some different close-up poses like this one.
Sitting or Leaning Helps
Another great way to get guys to relax is to have them sit or lean against something. When a boy just stands there, they feel self conscious and unsure of their own body language. They never know what to do with their hands. What I’ve found is that the moment I ask them to sit down, they instinctively know how to pose more naturally. You can see in this next picture of Luc how sitting against the tree helped him position his hands around his knees, just as he would if he was hanging out with his friends. I also love the blue flannel shirt and jeans work in this shot with this natural woodsy background.
In the next pose, I had Luc sit on my ladder which created a great way for him to relax and lean into the shot. I always bring props like small ladders or stools to my sessions so I’m free to shoot where the best light is.
In this next picture, we used the dock railing for him to lean on and I was able to capture this authentic expression as he looked away.
Family Members Are Always Welcome
We finished Luc’s session with a few pictures with his Mom and brother. I’m always willing to photograph other family members during my senior sessions because it’s a perfect time to get everyone together for portraits before your senior goes off to college. After that, it definitely gets harder to get everyone together.