Tattoo Photography SA Photographers

Tattoo Photography – The Ultimate Guide

tattoo photography

Is Tattoo Photography popular? Yes! Gone are the days that tattoos are only associated with big burley bikers and prison yards. Contrary to popular belief, tattoos are more popular amongst people who have attained higher levels of education (32%) compared to those with lower education levels (26%).

In recent years Tattoos have become as sought after as a beautiful portrait in an art gallery and a large number of people across the globe sport any design imaginable on their skin.  In fact, results have shown that at least 38% of the global population has at least 1 tattoo with 145 Million of this percentage being American citizens.  Other countries where the art of tattooing is popular includes Italy, Sweden and Australia

A Quick Overview of our Tattoo Photography Review:

What is Tattoo Photography and How does it work?

Tattoo photography is a fun and statement-making side of portrait photography but definitely not the same. As the subjects skin is a reflective surface, finding the best lighting for the task can be a tough task.  In fact, when a tattoo, or ink, is introduced into the mix, the reflective properties will become even more prominent due to contrast.  You will need to make use of diffused light, positioned to avoid reflections.  In fact, it is said that the best lighting is any type of filtered light, be from a window with curtains or even a diffuser on a studio lamp.  How the tattoo is positioned in relation to the light source will make all the difference.  As with portrait photography it may seem logical to use front lighting but this is not true.  Our honest advice is to use a off-centred or angled light.  When it comes down to the editing step, a sharpening tool will be your best friend, as it will not fade edges or distort the tattoo.

Camera and Lens – What should be used?

If you have a client base which is mainly print-oriented, photo quality is very important.  You should look for a camera which have less noise at higher ISO levels and more sensitive sensors.  Generally speaking, a higher megapixel count will pick up much more detail than lower megapixels. The more megapixels, the more control. In post-processing, this will allow you to tweak and modify your edits down to a tee. Next, the lens. The final look comes from the lens glass making it a very important tool.  All lenses will have different focal lengths and f/stops. In traditional tattoo photography where the ink is the focus, you will need a lens which is distortion free. The key objective should always be to keep the tattoo as true to the real-life version as possible. A Standard lens will make the image look organic with no distortion to the viewer which makes them some of the easiest lenses to use as you do not have to factor in any form of distortion.

Useful Tattoo Photography Tips and Tricks!

  • Older Tattoos? Make them pop by applying a small amount of lotion.  Just keep in mind that to much liquid will result in unwanted reflections.
  • New Tattoos also need to settle for a day or two in order to look their best when captured.
  • Take a large number of photographs from many different angles until you find the one that best works for you and your client.
  • Experiment with different lights, perspectives, and poses.
  • Practice that pose! Find a pose which not only looks good for the tattoo but also for the client.
  • Use a simple background to make that tattoo pop out!

In Conclusion

Tattoo photography can be a fun field to try out.  Take care and keep factors such as lighting, perspective, and camera settings in mind – but don’t be afraid to experiment!  Practice makes perfect and will result in amazing results!