I hear so often from fellow photographers how difficult it is to photograph senior guys. I believe that statement is a myth. And I must say it's a problem that I'd really like to fix. I LOVE to photograph senior guys! They are some of the most fun shoots I've ever had! Of course the camera is uncomfortable to some people. And we all know posing can be awkward. But even quiet and reserved people deserve to have their photos taken and that's why we do what we do.
But here's the thing. Guy's don't have long twirly dresses to spin and long shiny hair to shake. Guy's are also naturally more stiff in posture. But that's no reason to have anxiety the day of your next senior guy shoot! If you're tense he'll be tense. So you need to be prepared and learn the loopholes to photographing senior guys.
Here are some tips on how to rock your next senior guy photo shoot!!
No. 1 Communicate with them.
- Tell them at the beginning "Hey man! if I become quiet it's because I'm thinking or looking for the best light." Boom. You just demolished 37 awkward moments from his shoot. And it's a great way to capture a candid shot or two while you're "testing light".
- If he's skeptical of something you want to try, but you're confident will work out for an awesome shot say "Hey man! We're making killer art here and I think this could be an awesome shot! If we fail, we tried. If we win, we hit gold!" If he's not into it don't pursue it. Confidence is key!
- The next tip is obvious. We all know it but I will say it again. Compliment! Compliment! Compliment! After every single thing you tell them to do! Confidence is what? Key. Yes. You're good at this.
No. 2 Clothing!!
- Everyone likes to look good! It would kinda be weird if you didn't. I've created a style guide board on Pinterest that is everything fashion related and fits into my style preferences. I've also chosen pictures that are similar to my shooting style or just really well taken so that my senior will want to look as good as what they're seeing. Sending this board to them after they've booked you will get them pumped about wanting to look great and excited to see the finished product. And it will keep you two on the same page about the vision for the shoot.
- It's important that you have your senior lay his chosen outfits on the floor and email you a photo. If you see anything you know could be a simple change to make a much bigger statement don't be afraid to politely let them know. For example; if he sends you a photo of dark jeans and a navy T-shirt suggest that a lighter colored shirt will show up better in photos.
Tip Time! I tell all of my seniors to bring 4-5 outfits to the shoot just incase we change our minds and to have back ups in the event of a wardrobe malfunction.
If you have enough time to change and give them more outfits than planned you'll get so much more variety and they will think of your package at a higher value!
Read my mini post about why I love this outfit on my Instagram here!
No. 3 Posing.
This one is often a big concern for photographers because the ratio of senior girls and guys getting their portraits done is about 65 to 1.
Girls are what we are most used to shooting and I think we've just convinced ourselves that guys are way more difficult. But guys are simple. Very simple. And that's the mindset you want to have going into a shoot.
Most likely the parents, and even more specifically the mom, are the ones wanting their sons photos taken. But it's the guy who has to do the work and he's trusting you to get him through it smoothly. However, when a guy has FUN at his shoot(yes, that is a thing!) suddenly your senior market has just doubled because he's on social media and loved his experience!
When it comes to shooting senior guys you have two options.
- Option 1: You pull poses from your senior guy posing guide. No shame. These are especially great with the quieter bros because they have comfort in the fact that you can continuously keep shooting without stopping to think too much. They're also great to start off the shoot with so that the senior can warm up with easy poses(remember to compliment! Especially at the beginning!). Plus they are classy and always timeless.
Put together a list of photos that are your go-to poses for guys. Then try doing the poses yourself at home to get a feel for what you'll be asking them to do.
Tip Time!! Posing is awkward. Period. When I pose my seniors I often have to say "I know it feels weird but you look amazing!!". And 90% it's their favorite shots! Communicate!
- Option 2: You take risks. Let's face it. Most guys are willing to try things and they crave a fun time. If your senior is chatting with you or even let's out a laugh you're in. You've got an opportunity to create something rad and artistic. They will love the end result! And the first time he posts that photo all of his friends will ask him about you.
- Guy's take challenges well and they love proof of a challenge well completed. It's helpful to send a questionnaire to your senior guy so that you can become aware of his interests. I once had a senior guy who I knew did a lot of skateboarding so we did some sweet one handed handstands in front of a graffiti wall. It was rad.
- It's so important to try things out. And my point still stands about having your senior guys be comfortable. But there are so many ways to get awesome shots with little effort from the guy. Notice the photo above. The classic bench, folded hands, and semi dress clothes. Clean, crisp and classy. Now this!
Modern, moody and sleek. Use your surroundings as leverage. Ben isn't doing anything crazy at all in this photo. He probably took 4 steps from the bench to get here. But the photo is a lot more interesting because of where he was placed and how the deck was used.
Here's another example!
Easy, classic and traditional.
Tip Time! David has a great smile in this photo. It's because he's laughing.
I told him "say moommyyyy!!" and this was the result. David actually said it too!
But no matter what I always find a time to make them say mommy. I've always gotten a good photo(even if they just roll their eyes or stare me down).
And now for the non-traditional!
Modern, interesting and artistic.
I love to experiment with my surroundings to create symmetry. Here's another!
And here are more comfortable poses where I used background or nature to enhance my subject!
Now the fun and "risky" stuff! Running and jumping and just plain goofing off!
And sometimes they do this without you saying a word of instruction while you're setting your camera up.. #cryingemoji
Most importantly you need to have confidence in yourself! And have FUN! The majority of my clients have been senior guys! Isn't that crazy?? I've heard people swear that they'd never shoot a senior guy in their entire life. But here's the thing, once you nail a senior shoot for a guy you'll have their friends lining up and their parents loving you!!
One last thing that I've noticed on many photographers websites is promoting for senior girls almost exclusively. If you want senior guys as clients I highly suggest wording things in a gender mutual way. Cater to the clients you want.
I have seen websites of photographers who do photograph ladies only and saying things like "you'll be pampered by my amazing MUA" or "you get to pick out 3 outfits from so-and-so boutique" is perfect and having those goodies in their package is such a great offering if you are exclusive! But boys don't need nor want pampering. Perhaps consider creating a senior guy package that's more minimalist if you don't want to sacrifice a pampered package. Or instead use the amount you'd pay the MUA and buy the guy a cheeseburger or pizza as his "pampering" for all his hard work. And remember, guys love a good time. And good times require food.
Now go rock your next senior guy photo shoot!! Do it!! Slaaaay!!!