Bare shoulders are used in many, many photos and have become more popular in recent days. Part of this has to do with recent fashion trends, but others have to do with the pure beauty in the look. It’s typically used in photos of females and create a beautiful, sensual and classy feminine look to the images that everyone loves. They’re also pretty harmless to ask a model for as long as you have that level of trust.
Youtuber WeeklyImogen recently published a video explaining how to use them in photos. One of her more popular methods has to do with using a black dress with the shoulders pulled down, but she also talks about wrapping a sheet around her and drawing attention to the back when combined with the appropriate posing techniques.
She states that you can totally still maintain your modesty while doing this, and encourages you to go try it for yourself.
As a male photographer who has done this type of stuff, I have to say that you should have a talk with your model about this before you even pick the camera up. Some of the best ways to do this are to have a storyboard or to find similar images that are close to the concept that you have in your head. If they aren’t comfortable doing it, then stop right there and move on. If they’re willing, then maybe work with them on concepts or ask them about how they feel they look best. It’s also a great idea to add a necklace if possible to make use of leading lines.
Also, make sure that you work with the hair. We recommend bringing it all onto one side, but it’s very situational and subjective.
And for the gear hounds, take a look at some of our favorite portrait lenses. The video on bare shoulders in portrait photography is after the jump.