Tattoo Lighting: How to Take Photos of Fresh Ink
Next time you get a new client, ask them how they heard about you.
Was it via their sister's great-aunt’s friend's neighbour Bill? No, it wasn’t. It was from the Gram. Instagram is a tattoo hunters paradise. For both ink-spiration and studio seeking, the Gram is a glorious tool. Now more than ever, millennials are heading online to suss out where to score their new ink.
So, how do you make sure your work gets seen, liked and ultimately converts to new clients?Take better photos!
If you're looking to build your client base, you'd better believe you need a bloody good grid. Not saying hashtags aren’t significant, but visuals are queen when it comes to tattoos. Getting a great shot before your client leaves the studio is fundamental for your portfolio (yes, you will get the occasional legend who sends you healed photos, but don’t put that much of your faith in humanity!)
What makes a good tattoo photo?
1) Great lighting: get glare-free photos
2) Soothed skin: don't let it look red and gross
3) Bright camera positioning: show off the goods
1) Make sure your lighting is good as gold
By far, the most important element for your tattoo photos is the lighting. Your first goal should be to avoid reflection. Skin is naturally reflective, especially after a fresh coat of ink. After you finish your work, your clients' skin will be slightly swollen and red (delicious!), causing a glistening effect. Don’t despair - you can still make your human canvas shine (but not really, please make them matte) with LED lighting! Avoid creating a spotlight. Using a direct spotlight over top of a tat can create a flooding effect; drowning out fine lines and details. Therefore, flexible lighting is a bloody must-have. We just so happen to have heaps of lighting with flexible arms; what a coincidence!
Glamcor to the Rescue
- Choose HD LED lighting
- Avoid floodlighting
- Optimize your angles
2) Make the Freshly Inked Skin Look Less Freaky
A tattoo is basically an open wound. Gross, we know. Soz. However, it's important to consider that when capturing your photo. Nothing is less appealing than a tattoo that looks red, swollen glossy and painful. Make sure you clean the tattoo prior to taking your pics. Some artists get a bit snap-happy and take the photo before starting aftercare. Cleaning the tattoo first will help to eliminate redness and remove excess gloss on the skin.
3) Pick Prime Position for Your Camera
As we said, lighting placement is critical to capture an Insta-worthy tattoo photo. However, camera placement is also key. Choose your distance based on the scale of the piece. For tiny tattoos, you'll need to get a bit closer. Consider playing with different camera settings (macro, aperture adjustments etc.) to capture all of the tat's fine lines and details. Shooting a bigger piece? Take a step back and get the entire tat. You can always take close-ups of individual sections after.
The Classic Ultra has a thing for tattoo artists, and rest assured, the feeling is mutual. This beauty has two fully flexible arms loaded with 5,600K LED bulbs. No matter the lighting conditions in your studio, the classic ultra is ready for combat.
Are you creating masterpieces in a compact space