Forums > Photography Talk > Poll: Tattoos (help or hurt model's marketability?

Photographer

A K Nicholas - Art Nude Photography

Posts: 284

Charleston, South Carolina, US

I am a figure (nude) photographer. I'm curious as to what other figure photographers think about nude models with/without tattoos. Here are the responses to the poll:

A. I strongly prefer figure models without tattoos.
B. I usually prefer figure models without tattoos.
C. No preference
D. I usually prefer figure models with tattoos.
E. I strongly prefer figure models with tattoos.

Please respond with one of the above choices. (my response is "A"). This is for figure modeling, I realize it is a totally different topic when it comes to clothed modeling.

Mar 25 13 08:00 am Link

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Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 37866

San Francisco, California, US

I don't like the way you framed the questions "B" or "D" but i would have to answer "B."

That, however is an inaccurate answer.  I am sure that I book more models with tattoos than without.

Mar 25 13 08:03 am Link

Photographer

Reflections From Within

Posts: 3

Bolsward, Friesland, Netherlands

Tattoos rock! I'm going with D .. not always but if I get the chance..

Mar 25 13 08:04 am Link

Photographer

Mark Laubenheimer

Posts: 8885

Seattle, Washington, US

A K wrote:
I am a figure (nude) photographer. I'm curious as to what other figure photographers think about nude models with/without tattoos. Here are the responses to the poll:

A. I strongly prefer figure models without tattoos.
B. I usually prefer figure models without tattoos.
C. No preference
D. I usually prefer figure models with tattoos.
E. I strongly prefer figure models with tattoos.

Please respond with one of the above choices. (my response is "A"). This is for figure modeling, I realize it is a totally different topic when it comes to clothed modeling.

where are the tattoos located?

Mar 25 13 08:29 am Link

Photographer

A K Nicholas - Art Nude Photography

Posts: 284

Charleston, South Carolina, US

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
A. I strongly prefer figure llamas without tattoos.
B. I usually prefer figure llamas without tattoos.
C. No preference
D. I usually prefer figure llamas with tattoos.
E. I strongly prefer figure llamas with tattoos.


where are the tattoos located?

I may work on a more detailed survey... for now just curious about some basic info.

Mar 25 13 08:38 am Link

Photographer

David Nelson Photograph

Posts: 348

San Antonio, Texas, US

A

Tattoos naturally draw the eye to the tat and that's not where I want the eye to go.  Our eyes are naturally drawn to contrast in an image.

Mar 25 13 08:45 am Link

Photographer

sensual light studios

Posts: 45

Hollywood, Florida, US

It depends on what I'm shooting for.  My fetish work, always; fine art, not so much.

Mar 25 13 10:28 am Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 22975

Salem, Oregon, US

i enjoy a more natural look but most of my llamas (and paying boudoir customers) have tattoos (sometimes a lot of them) so i'll just go with the flow.

Mar 25 13 10:46 am Link

Photographer

Fresh Faces Photography

Posts: 269

Santa Rosa, California, US

A
If you're shooting the figure, tattoos are a huge distraction. If you're shooting tattoos, that's something other than "figure modeling."

Mar 25 13 11:06 am Link

Photographer

Erlinda

Posts: 7286

London, England, United Kingdom

B smile

Mar 25 13 11:15 am Link

Photographer

Andy Welch

Posts: 277

Richmond, Virginia, US

C.

Tattoos are mainstream these days.  I have one on my chest and when I modeled, I had a couple photographers photoshop it out, which is fine.  I think tattoos bring out the model more because it's an expression of their life.  It's like a picture book on skin.  I can see why photographers that shoot art nudes don't generally like them since it is about the nude body and the tattoos can be a distraction.  For me, I don't have a preference.  If the model is heavily tattooed and we are shooting art nudes, I find it more expressive since the ink are telling even more of a story.

Mar 25 13 11:19 am Link

Photographer

fullmetalphotographer

Posts: 2797

Fresno, California, US

I would say about 2/3 of the models I have dealt with have a Tattoo somewhere on their body. So for general work C.

Mar 25 13 11:26 am Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 22422

Portland, Oregon, US

A K wrote:
I am a figure (nude) photographer. I'm curious as to what other figure photographers think about nude models with/without tattoos. Here are the responses to the poll:

A. I strongly prefer figure models without tattoos.
B. I usually prefer figure models without tattoos.
C. No preference
D. I usually prefer figure models with tattoos.
E. I strongly prefer figure models with tattoos.

Please respond with one of the above choices. (my response is "A"). This is for figure modeling, I realize it is a totally different topic when it comes to clothed modeling.

Sometimes, I believe that people who ask questions like this already have a good idea of what they want the answer to be.

More -- I believe that the logical answer that anything a model does to change her appearance will have an impact on her modeling prospects.  That includes tattoos, hair style, hair color, piercings, and so forth.  This might be logical, but most people on the short end of job prospects tend to resist.

Speaking personally, I tend to avoid working with models who have tattoos on body parts I want to photograph.

Mar 25 13 11:40 am Link

Photographer

A K Nicholas - Art Nude Photography

Posts: 284

Charleston, South Carolina, US

If I'm counting correctly, so far:

A 3, 43%
B 2, 29%
C 2, 29%
D 1, 14%
E 0

Mar 25 13 12:09 pm Link

Photographer

Maxfield Photography

Posts: 43

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Unequivocally A.

Mar 25 13 12:39 pm Link

Photographer

Robert Jewett

Posts: 2504

al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia

None of the above.

My clients prefer models without.  I, personally, like tattoos.  My opinion doesn't matter.

Mar 25 13 12:51 pm Link

Photographer

Grady Richardson

Posts: 278

Houston, Texas, US

A

Mar 25 13 01:06 pm Link

Photographer

Digitoxin

Posts: 13345

Houston, Texas, US

A.

Mar 25 13 01:09 pm Link

Photographer

robert christopher

Posts: 2681

Snohomish, Washington, US

A

Mar 25 13 01:52 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Laubenheimer

Posts: 8885

Seattle, Washington, US

A K wrote:

I may work on a more detailed survey... for now just curious about some basic info.

"Where it's located" is basic info. hmm

Mar 25 13 01:53 pm Link

Photographer

WCR3

Posts: 1190

Houston, Texas, US

A

Mar 25 13 02:07 pm Link

Photographer

C h a r l e s D

Posts: 9306

Los Angeles, California, US

Yeah, you need one or two more options.  If the model only has a small bird or something on her upper back rt or lt shoulder, or very small one on upper arm or ankle, it usually doesn't destroy the composition too much.  Small of the back, any size is a deal killer.  Navel area, any size is a deal killer. 

Otherwise, I generally go with A.

Mar 25 13 02:12 pm Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 11920

Oakland Acres, Iowa, US

E

I strongly prefer models without tats for most projects.

However, since such models are difficult to find, I often settle for models with small tats that can be photoshopped out if necessary.

So, the reality is for me that a model having small tats only hurts her marketability a little.   Having large tats is a deal killer for me, not matter how much I otherwise like the model's look.

Mar 25 13 02:25 pm Link

Photographer

Billh

Posts: 361

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

a qualified C...

i don't mind ink if it's interesting and well done.

Mar 25 13 02:40 pm Link

Photographer

Matt Forma

Posts: 373

Denver, Colorado, US

A

Mar 25 13 02:42 pm Link

Photographer

Philipe

Posts: 5253

Pomona, California, US

Yes it does hurt.
The model must exceptional to over power the
Tattoos. If not its just another tattoo girl.
I know three models that regret get getting them.
Even in acting I know a lot of girls who cover them up.
Am I against tattoos? No. I have a few tattoo
Girls in my midnight express account.
Again the exception being they are stunning with a very strong look

Mar 25 13 02:51 pm Link

Photographer

Andrea Acailawen

Posts: 953

Tampa, Florida, US

A

For fashion & beauty related figure work, I strongly prefer no tattoos.

For other work, it depends on both the project and the tats, though I still prefer not to deal with them in most cases.

Mar 25 13 02:59 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 39060

Portland, Oregon, US

B

For myself, for things such as art, fashion, commercial, or vintage works, I would much prefer that the model not have tattoos.  Often when they are present, it gives something the photographer has to try to work around, either in angles, poses, or in Photoshop, so it is often that it can make things more challenging than they would be otherwise.

At the same time, I acknowledge that for alternate and even glamour works, they could be attractive/add character or attitude, AND I am certainly appreciative of the fact that many tattoos have personal meaning or stories behind them, and respect that they can have great meaning for the subject.

It is just strictly from the standpoint of discussing an "ideal" situation or factors that there is the reality that tattoos can be inconvenient and/or inappropriate, so naturally it is a source of irritation and annoyance for photographers who have trouble finding tattoo-free models (especially since it appears that women getting tattoos has become more common over the years.)

Mar 25 13 03:02 pm Link

Photographer

Benjamin Lambert

Posts: 1734

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, US

i love A.

some ink is ok, but i prefer without.  Alaska is harder than most when it come to models, so we work with what we have. some of the girls have nice ink, but in general  i would like the least possible.

Mar 25 13 03:02 pm Link

Photographer

Centaur Photography

Posts: 1

Parker, Colorado, US

Answer...A for the nudes..
B...for everything else

Mar 25 13 03:05 pm Link

Photographer

GoldRoseMedia

Posts: 2938

NORTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey, US

A.

Tattoos are the number one reason why I turn down models for paid shoots.

Mar 25 13 03:07 pm Link

Photographer

What Fun Productions

Posts: 20209

Phoenix, Arizona, US

A

Mar 25 13 03:07 pm Link

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Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 37866

San Francisco, California, US

For the record though, there is a difference between a model with a turtle on her ankle and one with a sleeve, a full back piece or a combination.

Your question is "usually prefer" but makes no distinction as to the amount or nature of the ink.  Nor does it allow for what you usually work with, which could be different than what you prefer.

Mar 25 13 03:37 pm Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 3273

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A


(I tolerate small tattoos if I can pose the model so they don't show)

Mar 25 13 03:46 pm Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 3273

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Viral Photo wrote:
Tattoos are mainstream these days.  .

That seems to be true on MM, but, when I get models from Starnow, tattoos are rare.

Mar 25 13 03:49 pm Link

Photographer

DOUGLASFOTOS

Posts: 8956

Los Angeles, California, US

"F"

Mar 25 13 03:51 pm Link

Photographer

JohnEnger

Posts: 803

Jessheim, Akershus, Norway

No tat's if possible. But who has clear skin anymore???

Mar 25 13 03:55 pm Link

Photographer

Images By Joseph

Posts: 886

Naperville, Illinois, US

A

Mar 25 13 04:01 pm Link

Model

JoJo

Posts: 25650

Clearwater, Florida, US

Some American politician once said (severely paraphrased)…
“only dogs take poll seriously… and what do they do, they p*ss on them”

OP – it’s your choice who you shoot with, but by limiting yourself you just may be missing out on many exciting opportunities.

Mar 25 13 04:04 pm Link

Photographer

A K Nicholas - Art Nude Photography

Posts: 284

Charleston, South Carolina, US

I made a little survey, if those who respond in the future prefer to give more detailed input. link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2B9SLB6

Mar 25 13 04:08 pm Link