New York Tattoo - Mike from Huntington(Photo courtesy of Mike at Tattoo Lou’s Huntington)


Are you ready to really start showcasing those tattoos or piercings you’ve worked so hard on? Lets face it – when people walk in the shop, the first thing they want to see is some of your work. We’re willing to bet that if you had a kick-ass portfolio to show off your talent you would have… well, more work. The first thing you need to know is that it does not – repeat, DOES NOT – take a $5,000 camera to take a really great picture. Next time you finish a piercing or tattoo, try some of these techniques that will really add some professional kick to that portfolio:


–>Turn off that ridiculous flash! Use AVAILABLE light. Even cheap digital cameras have the button which looks like an arrow crossed out – don’t be afraid to disengage it. Lighting subjects with flash is much harder than lighting subjects without it (unless of course you are in a very dark environment). Don’t be afraid to take your customer outside if you need to or even place them under the brightest light in the shop. You will want to keep the camera as still as possible, so leaning the camera on the tattoo chair will help. If your camera has the option of changing the “ISO”, that will be helpful for taking pictures in lower light without the flash. Be careful not to raise it too much, as this will add noise to the photo! So play around with the setting on your camera and take some shots. We can guarantee these pictures will give your hard work more pop


–>Don’t feel like the photo on your camera is the final product? Well, this is 2011! Photoshop and other digital photo software programs are a dime a dozen. All bitmap software programs utilize a lot of the same techniques which will help to make your photos unique.


–>All digital photos need to be sharpened. Some more than others, so play with unsharp mask or the sharpen option on your software.


–>Colorful tattoos will always look better if you bump up the saturation. However, skin tones never look good with additional saturation, so don’t overdo it.


–>Crop your photos. People looking at your work do not want to see the mug on the person who got the tattoo. They want to see the TATTOO!


–>Remember: contrast, but not too much contrast. This knob will darken black areas and lighten light areas of a photo. This adjustment will give your tattoos a lot more pop, especially those black and grey pieces. Again, make sure you don’t overdo it. This is a destructive process and you will never be able to go back to the original unless you duplicate the file before you start to mess around with it.


What are YOUR tips and tricks for putting together a great portfolio?

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