Photographing Men Gets An Upgrade With Jeff Rojas
I met Jeff Rojas in 2018 at Sal Cincotta’s Lunacy. He was in brand JR mode with his black leather motorcycle jacket. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a copy the books he’s authored for an his autograph. Still, Jeff shared his journey to writing Photographing Men. Here’s my review of Jeff Rojas’ Photographing Men: Posing, Lighting, and Shooting Techniques for Portrait and Fashion Photography.
Male Photography versus Female Photography
Most photographers gravitate to photographing women. My Bodyscapism™ Signature brand is dedicated to celebrating woman, her beauty, and her moments. Women get all the love! So where does that leave male photography. Men buy high fashion clothing. Men want to be desirable and sought-after. So why do we see so few images of men photographed looking freaking amazing?
There are differences in how portray the beauty of men and women. Photographers often opt to show men as rugged and intrepid. Conversely, men are portrayed in more dramatic and hard lighting setups. For storytelling, you have to find a balance between male’s portraiture and men’s fashion photography.
For me, Jeff’s book stands out. There are very few book of men’s photography on the shelves of booksellers. There’s tons of books on bridal, weddings, and boudoir that prominently feature women. Ironically, these books show you where the market has been. Jeff Rojas is keen to see where the market is going. That’s what makes Photographing Men such a timely addition to any photographer’s library.
Cam’s Highlights for Photographing Men
There are so many takeaways from Jeff’s book that I have to start with the funniest.
Male Photography Gets Hot and Sweaty
Working in a studio, under a variety of electrical equipment, gets hot. Your subject will sweat. Photographers will sweat. Your team is going to get sweaty. The heat increases with the number of people in the room. As a solution, Jeff recommends using sanitary napkins for managing underarm sweat. It was an unexpected idea. However, I appreciate his unconventional and practical insights on a common occurrence.
Posing for Male Photography
Jeff spends a great deal of time on the finer points of posing men for portrait and fashion photography. For the layperson, you might wonder what’s the difference between portrait and fashion. In the simplest terms, portrait photography focuses on the person. Whereas, fashion photography has an emphasis on the styling and wardrobe. How men are posed and positioned will impact the narrative of the photography. Jeff goes into details on different looks to help you pose your subject for the right storytelling. This is a bonus for photographers and designers posting fashion product shots to Amazon or Etsy.
Using Light to Photograph a Slimmer Male
Believe it or not, men think about their body image too. A lot of men avoid being photographed because of how they see themselves. Women don’t own a monopoly on being body positive. So, Jeff Rojas makes great use of lighting to help men boost men’s confidence while concealing their hangups. It’s amazing what you can do with short lighting to create a painterly portrait that is flattering to a male subject.
Months ago, I spoke with Peter Hurley after he transformed his health. I told him that he looked great. Moreover, I was proud of him for keeping the discipline to keep his new look. Hurley was beaming with gratitude. Men want to be photographed well and look good too.
Photography Lighting Setups for Making Male Subjects Look Incredible
The book is a great resource and reference for aspiring and professional photographers. I found great resource in Jeff’s lighting diagrams. This saves you a lot time in deconstructing the lighting in a portrait. It makes it easier to recreate that lighting to suit your own taste. Photographing Men is s lighting recipe book for photographers with insights specifically for shooting male photography.
Jeff Rojas’s tips and techniques are not hard to recreate. Many of the insights he’s shared can be done with minimal gear. Jeff lives in New York City. So, he’s a master of using small spaces and limited gear to great effect. Photographing Men is a great read. It’s the first book on Cam Evans’ Must Read list. I encourage you buy a copy and go take some amazing pictures. Subscribe to get updates on my upcoming Must Read books!
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