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Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,453
Orlando, Florida, US


Dolce Acido wrote:

Good Egg Productions wrote:
If I had a choice between two models, one with a tattoo and one without, everything else being equal, I would choose the model without tattoos every single time.

What's your reasoning behind that?

It's really simple.

Consider what a tattoo is.  It's a permanent mark on the skin.  You can't change it.  You can't move it.

It's the equivalent of an article of clothing that you are always wearing.  If you have a side piece, and we're shooting bikini, you could change your bikini, makeup, hair and footwear 10 times, but you'd have that side piece in every shot.

To me, that's boring, as THAT is what I'll see in 10 different shots with 10 different suits and potentially 10 different looks. 

If the model does NOT have tattoos, she can become 10 different images. 

I have nothing against tattoos personally.  I have one.  I don't judge women or men who choose to get them.  But from a photographer's point of view (which I believe is what the OP was asking) I abhor them unless I'm shooting specifically for the tattoos.

Jan 04 13 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sleepy Weasel
Posts: 4,593
Castle Rock, Colorado, US


I'm in the crowd that I typically will look for models without tattoos, or where the tattoos can be easily hidden or are not distracting. A model I've been shooting with a lot lately has a lot of tattoos - she's the exception to the rule.
Jan 04 13 08:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,427
Salem, Oregon, US


if i want to shoot someone else's artwork i can take my fuji x-pro1 to the museum.
Jan 04 13 09:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Looknsee Photography
Posts: 21,376
Portland, Oregon, US


Dolce Acido wrote:
Considering getting a side piece tattoo that will glow under black light, what are some photographer's opinions on models with large and unique tattoos? I figured with a tattoo that can glow in the dark, you can make a photo shoot around that one concept, but once it's done, you really can't do the same thing with other photographers, it's almost like copying an idea. I just wanted to know what other's opinion on the matter is.

Thank you smile

My thoughts; random order:

...  Some photographers love 'em; some hate 'em; some don't care.
...  Some clients hate'em, some don't care, few love them.

My opinions; random order:
...  I try to avoid tattoos in my photography:  They are always distracting.
...  Photographing a tattoo is copying someone else's art.

Covering tattoos with makeup or photo-editing is sometimes possible, but such work is time consuming & expensive.  Modeling is a competitive business, and if one model requires more work, she will be at a disadvantage over movels who don't.

I believe that visible tattoos limit a model's job options.  Some might disagree with me on this point, but I doubt that models hear about why photographers pass them by.

Get the tattoo if you want it.  Don't count on it enhancing your modeling career.

Jan 04 13 09:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJ_In_Atlanta
Posts: 12,775
Atlanta, Georgia, US


twoharts wrote:
if i want to shoot someone else's artwork i can take my fuji x-pro1 to the museum.

+1

But who cares what photographers think, they are not clients.  More important is that clients are not big on them.  Great if you want, I have some myself, but I am not a model and it will loose you jobs, its that simple.

Jan 04 13 09:10 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Rays Fine Art
Posts: 6,175
New York, New York, US


The problem with tattoos, whether you love 'em or hate 'em is that they are limiting, especially if you're shooting nudes, pinup or bathing suits.  They really do become the focus of the picture unless they are so small that you can't make them out, and have to photoshop them out.   Consequently, they are one of the biggest reasons I pass up a model.

In terms of your specific concept, why not find yourself a body painter who's interested in it?  Then you could do the concept in a number of different ways without limiting yourself for future work.
Jan 04 13 09:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lars R Peterson
Posts: 1,073
Seattle, Washington, US


Efan Bruder wrote:
Ugh.... Tattoos....

I used to love them. You'd get a girl's clothes off (for bed, pool, photos, or whatever reason) and there'd be this tiny decoration hidden somewhere like it was a surprise she had in store. That was when it was happening no more often than 1 girl in 10.

Now, though, tattoos have become so commonplace that all I see anymore is a blob of blue, green, or black discoloration on a girl's skin. I find them always distracting, usually ugly, and virtually never an improvement. They're not original. They're not unique. They're barely even trendy. They've begun to feel like a way for bland, boring people to make themselves beautiful and unique snowflakes, just like everyone else.

Exactly.

I know a pretty girl, who has a tattoo. She says it represents the soul being set free, and the beauty of transformation and growth. It has deep spiritual meaning for her, and she is pretty confident that she will always want that reminder of how beautiful life can be, even in hard times.
Me, I see a giant chest tattoo that cannot be covered, that looks like a Baboon-Satan skull with butterfly wings, and maggots pouring out of it's eye sockets. The line work is detailed... and on paper I would have thought of it as a cool drawing... but I think it has made this pretty girl into an ugly girl with a neat story.

Jan 04 13 09:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Azimuth Arts
Posts: 1,489
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


AJScalzitti wrote:

+1

But who cares what photographers think, they are not clients.  More important is that clients are not big on them.  Great if you want, I have some myself, but I am not a model and it will loose you jobs, its that simple.

On Model Mayhem the photographer is more often than not the client for many of the models here.  GWC's, people building their portfolios, and artists hiring models for personal projects are what make up a significant percentage of model income on this site, based on the anecdotal evidence from models I have shot, and what I read in these forums. 

If we are talking about agency standard models in fashion or commercial work then maybe the photographer is not the client, but in most of those cases the client (ad agency or major brand) will prefer a model without any ink.

For the rest of the models who shoot glamour, art, erotic, fetish there is no right answer.

My personal preference is as little ink on a model as possible so it does not distract from whatever else the concept is.  When I pay a model I tend to choose those with no tattoos or only those that would be easily concealed by angles or clothing.

If I am shooting someone's portrait then I don't care one way or the other and will capture their tattoo if they like.

For the OP, you need to decide what your priority is in modelling.  Do you want to do it as a hobby or to earn a living.  If you want to make money at it determine your market.  There is certainly a market for tattooed models, but often the most successful of those have many tattoos.  For many art and glamour shoots a few small tattoos strategically placed will not be a problem, but big side pieces or sleeves will be.

You can always get a tattoo in 2 or 3 years if you decide modelling is no longer for you.

Just my $0.02

Jan 04 13 09:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ChanStudio - OtherSide
Posts: 5,331
Alpharetta, Georgia, US


For me, less is more.  I prefer models with less distractions.  If I need to add any additional element, I will add them (temporary) myself either on the model or afterward in the photo itself.
Jan 04 13 09:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


I love tattoos but a glow-in-the-dark tattoo strikes me as simply a novelty along the lines of flavored or glow-in-the-dark condoms.

Sure, it's entertaining for a bit but at some point it's time to get down to business lol
Jan 04 13 09:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
C h a r l e s D
Posts: 9,304
Los Angeles, California, US


For llamas I'm considering hiring, I hate them.  It's rare a tattoo looks good in a photo.  It does happen, it's just very rare.
Jan 04 13 09:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
7imaging
Posts: 751
Tampa, Florida, US


If you like tattoos, get them. (but body paint is temporary)  If you need opinions ask family and friends. A tattoo is a life long commitment. Asking here will get you many opinions - none that really should matter.  As with any style of photography, if its shot by a talented photographer who is into that style, it will look great.
Jan 04 13 09:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


I never understood the argument to advise a person to go with a temporary/henna or body paint tattoo. That is completely missing the point of why someone gets a tattoo.

Saying, "get a temp tattoo" is saying a tattoo is nothing more than an aesthetic or an accessory like a belt. Most people don't get tattoos because they want to look pretty right now for others. They get tattoos because they hold a special meaning to them.

Presumably, and hopefully, that special meaning isn't going to change over time. If it does...like a partner's name or a anti-anything symbol...then of course there would be regret.

And I don't see too many people who have bored of their tattoos over the years. Regretted the specific art, sometimes, yes.

But I don't think any model who gets a tattoo now is going to look back in 10-15 years and say, "Gee I really wish I hadn't gotten this tattoo because I missed out on those 5 TF* shoots in 2013." That's far more short-sighted than the decision to get a tattoo.
Jan 04 13 10:14 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Alixx Rose
Posts: 225
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I won't tell you to get or not get any tattoos
But I will warn you that UV tattoos, unless they've been advanced recently, make a kinda terrible color that is visible when not under a black light. To get a full colored or b/w tattoo with uv ink in it, depending on the artist/design/colors, works pretty well but just a UV ink tattoo will not be invisible the rest of the time you aren't under a UV light. It'll be this weird discolored flesh brown scarred kinda color.

If you get your tattoo I hope it brings you joy everyday of the rest of your life!
Jan 04 13 12:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Herb Way
Posts: 1,484
Black Mountain, North Carolina, US


Efan Bruder wrote:
...tattoos have become so commonplace that all I see anymore is a blob of blue, green, or black discoloration on a girl's skin. I find them always distracting, usually ugly, and virtually never an improvement. They're not original. They're not unique. They're barely even trendy. They've begun to feel like a way for bland, boring people to make themselves beautiful and unique...

Rarely beautiful and unique, mostly just noticed.

Jan 04 13 07:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jon Winkleman Photo
Posts: 99
New York, New York, US


A blank canvas offers an artist more possibilities. Many times a particular tattoo has a meaning or visual association that conflicts with my concept and it is a deal breaker. In general I can use a model without tattoos in many more images than someone with a lot of ink. It can limit your range. Without tats can you do both girl next door/ingenue along with edgy urban? No different than extreme haircuts that limit your look except a tattoo won't grow out.

That said I personally like body art and have been talking with a model from MM with great ink about a shoot centered on highlighting their tattoos. I love this models look but there are some other ideas I have that won't work with heavy tattoos.

I agree with the above comments that if you do get tattooed, invest in a great artist, avoid people's names, think about what best works with your look and range. If you get more than one make sure they work together instead of looking hodgepodge. Consider if you can easily cover it with makeup if need be.
Jan 04 13 08:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Dario Western
Posts: 622
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Dolce Acido wrote:
Considering getting a side piece tattoo that will glow under black light, what are some photographer's opinions on models with large and unique tattoos? I figured with a tattoo that can glow in the dark, you can make a photo shoot around that one concept, but once it's done, you really can't do the same thing with other photographers, it's almost like copying an idea. I just wanted to know what other's opinion on the matter is.

Thank you smile

I don't mind tattoos but my housemate/landlord who does photo-shoots with me does.  He thinks that they detract from the natural beauty of models.  Same as those who have multiple piercings, liposuction and fake breasts.

If a model wants a tattoo, that is her choice but I've noticed that virtually no woman under the age of 25 these days doesn't have a tattoo or piercing of some sort.

Back in the 50's, 60's and early 70's tattoos on women were pretty much a cult thing - but these days they are virtually the rule rather than the exception.

I've never done a shoot with a glow-in-the-dark tattoo before, but it sounds very interesting all the same.  smile

Jan 05 13 02:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hikari Tech Photography
Posts: 791
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


They either work or they don't. It's up to the person getting one to decide. If you're asking then I might ask myself is this really what I want. If you know you want something and it 'right' for you, you will know and when you wake up in the morning your mind should not have changed other than to want it more. Anything less and I'd think about about it some more. Getting one removed can be more trouble than it's worth or so I've been told.
Jan 05 13 02:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kyle T Edwards
Posts: 431
St Catharines, Ontario, Canada


I guess it all depends on what you want to do.  Most commercial clients will balk at a tattooed model, while portfolio photographers (as you're seeing here) are generally split down the middle.  By getting more tattoos, and more visible tattoos, yes, you will limit your marketability; there's no question about that.

There are some photographers who will tolerate a small tattoo here and there (as they're easier to photoshop out), but when they see a full back piece or a half sleeve, they're out of there.

On the other hand, it will also draw in those who want to shoot tattooed models.  The whole rebel/punk/rockabilly scene is big, and finding an inked model who can pull it off while still looking pretty can be a huge asset to a photographer.

So really, it comes down to where you want your modeling to go.  And that's something that only you can decide.

Disclaimer: I have about a half dozen or so tats, myself.

Cwen  wrote:
From what I understand, UV ink just isn't a good idea. I had looked into them for a while myself.

A few years ago, I was designing a piece involving UV reactive ink, so I got the MSDS sheet and showed it to a friend of mine who is a chemist, to ask her what she thought.  She started laughing; it turns out that the science community has been using UV reactive ink to mark fish and animals for decades now.  Medically, she said that it's no more dangerous to humans than normal, present-day tattoo ink is.  That said, for other reasons, I opted not to get the design done, anyway.

Jan 05 13 06:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tori Toguchi
Posts: 142
Honolulu, Hawaii, US


It definitely depends on what the design of the tattoo is and where it's placed. So while I don't mind it, I don't always like it. Depends.
Jan 05 13 07:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Acanthus Tattoos
Posts: 421
Union, New Jersey, US


I had thought of getting glow-in-the-dark tattoos as well and didn't mainly for safety - what I read (that contradicts what Kyle T Edwards-two posts up- heard!) was that it is not safe.
Jan 05 13 07:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Top Level Studio
Posts: 3,253
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


Art of the nude wrote:
My ideal is no tattoos.  You hit on the reason.  They dominate images, and they tend not to change.  So, you're taking pictures of someone else's art, just like every other photographer.

Now, I don't rant about tattoos, and I often shoot models who have them, but it's a negative.

This pretty well sums up how I feel about tattoos.  The model may be expressing her personality, but for a shoot, the idea is to embody my concept, or sometimes hers as well, not a tattoo artist's concept (yes, it's her concept as well as his, but it's not mine).

As you can see in my port, I've worked with some very good models who have ink, and will continue to, since most young women today have some, making un-inked models harder to find.  All things being equal, though, a model with no ink is preferable to me.

A certain tattoo may be ideal for a certain shoot, but for every other shoot, it's a distraction.

Jan 05 13 07:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
sdgillis
Posts: 2,436
Portland, Oregon, US


My understanding of black light tats is that they yellow out after time or fade depending on the uv ink, then you need to get them done again with black or a dark. other issues with skin reactions can happen too, so you might want to start small and wait a few months to see if you have any trouble.
Jan 06 13 12:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jason Haven
Posts: 38,293
Washington, District of Columbia, US


If it fits/looks good, awesome. If it looks horrible, then not awesome.

Not really any different than any other body mod, or hell, body part.

Certain looks, I might not want them for, but other looks, I might prefer them for.
Jan 06 13 06:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
The F-Stop
Posts: 1,491
New York, New York, US


I'm collecting tats, so just drop me a line n I'll shoot em all TF.
Jan 06 13 03:30 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D S P
Posts: 510
Portland, Oregon, US


Good Egg Productions wrote:
It's really simple.

Consider what a tattoo is.  It's a permanent mark on the skin.  You can't change it.  You can't move it.

It's the equivalent of an article of clothing that you are always wearing.  If you have a side piece, and we're shooting bikini, you could change your bikini, makeup, hair and footwear 10 times, but you'd have that side piece in every shot.

To me, that's boring, as THAT is what I'll see in 10 different shots with 10 different suits and potentially 10 different looks. 

If the model does NOT have tattoos, she can become 10 different images. 

I have nothing against tattoos personally.  I have one.  I don't judge women or men who choose to get them.  But from a photographer's point of view (which I believe is what the OP was asking) I abhor them unless I'm shooting specifically for the tattoos.

Yup!!

Jan 06 13 03:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sammyspade
Posts: 98
Portland, Oregon, US


I love them and seek out models with them, but I shoot for a hobby and my shots are entirely of what I want to shoot.  No one's making much money from my hobby.

There was a women in the forums recently that expressed they were creating trouble for her getting work.  She didn't have enough to be a tattoo model, but had too many for "regular" modeling.

In general, every thing's more valuable if it's in "factory condition".  The more modified something is, the more niche.
Jan 06 13 03:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
StevesPhotography
Posts: 208
Mustang, Oklahoma, US


15 years ago tattoos were edgy and cool and almost always well done on a woman because only women who were really into it got tats and they sought out good artists.
Today the overwhelming amount of ink I see is crap and tats are so mainstream now that it stands out when a models does not have them.
My least favorite location for a tat is the upper chest, forget doing anything to minimize that or that necklace that would complement the outfit? Might as well just for get it. Double+++ fugly points for text tats in that area. You know it's a distraction when you realize you are reading the model.
Tats are nothing but a pop culture fad that is no longer interesting or indicative of anything, certainly not rebellion.
Jan 13 13 04:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
udor
Posts: 22,168
New York, New York, US


twoharts wrote:
if i want to shoot someone else's artwork i can take my fuji x-pro1 to the museum.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Bodypaint by Andy Golub and Craig Tracy, model is Trisha Benton, location: see above... the painting being flashed is of and by Chuck Close. (Who received a photo signed by Andy Golub and me).

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120930/06/5068487db8268.jpg

Art can be more complex than simply taking pix of other artwork...

Jan 13 13 04:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
StevesPhotography
Posts: 208
Mustang, Oklahoma, US


The main reason why we have these repetitive tattoo threads is because MM offers no way to search for models with or without tats in the search.
No matter which side you are on, one thing is clear, this is an issue many photographers have an opinion about and it is just a chore to have to manually sort though all the tattooed models to find that rare unmarked one.
Add a "No Tattoos" option in search and this issue will fade away.
Jan 13 13 04:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hai Thi
Posts: 62
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Tatoo is art, however it would limit the style of shooting or it depend on what the final result i am trying to achieve smile
Jan 13 13 04:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Patrick Walberg
Posts: 42,653
Salinas, California, US


Dolce Acido wrote:
Considering getting a side piece tattoo that will glow under black light, what are some photographer's opinions on models with large and unique tattoos? I figured with a tattoo that can glow in the dark, you can make a photo shoot around that one concept, but once it's done, you really can't do the same thing with other photographers, it's almost like copying an idea. I just wanted to know what other's opinion on the matter is.

Thank you smile

That sounds interesting.  My opinion on tattoos varies depending on how it looks.  I really like quite a few that are tastefully done.  Others I am fine with ... but not excited about.  Then there are some I just shake my head and go "Why that?"  So it really is difficult for me to have a solid opinion until I see it.  Just remember that tattoos stay with you pretty much forever ... a large one would be expensive to remove or have alterations done if you were to find yourself not 100% happy with it.

You sound like you are not so 100% sure you want to "live" with it?  My suggestion is to have a body painter design it and paint you first.  Take your time ... decide after you've had it painted on you?  Either way, it wouldn't stop me from wanting to shoot with you, but some others ... it might?

Jan 13 13 05:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Patrick Walberg
Posts: 42,653
Salinas, California, US


StevesPhotography wrote:
15 years ago tattoos were edgy and cool and almost always well done on a woman because only women who were really into it got tats and they sought out good artists.
Today the overwhelming amount of ink I see is crap and tats are so mainstream now that it stands out when a models does not have them.
My least favorite location for a tat is the upper chest, forget doing anything to minimize that or that necklace that would complement the outfit? Might as well just for get it. Double+++ fugly points for text tats in that area. You know it's a distraction when you realize you are reading the model.
Tats are nothing but a pop culture fad that is no longer interesting or indicative of anything, certainly not rebellion.

I agree that tattoos have become mainstream.  It's becoming almost rare when I shoot with models who have no tats!  Everyone seems to have 'em!

Jan 13 13 05:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Daniel Arouchian
Posts: 185
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


I love tattoos smile
Jan 13 13 06:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Stanley L Moore
Posts: 1,679
Houston, Texas, US


I am off an age that was taught tattoos were very low class. Worn by criminals and rough sailors and soldiers. But most of my models have chosen to disfigure their bodies with large tattoos. At least they are men so it's not as bad as it could be. LOL.
Jan 13 13 09:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Jebbia
Posts: 27,614
Phoenix, Arizona, US


For most of my projects, if I had a choice between 2 equally qualified models and one had tattoos and the other one didn't, I'm going with the blank canvas almost every time.

I absolutely hate the ones where it looks like someone took a rubber stamp and stamped random places all over her body though.
Jan 13 13 09:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
udor
Posts: 22,168
New York, New York, US


Stanley L Moore wrote:
I am off an age that was taught tattoos were very low class. Worn by criminals and rough sailors and soldiers.

I was taught the same... and yet... I disagreed with my father's opinion... made up my own mind, did research and got tattooed by one of the greatest traditional tattoo artists' in Japan, and continued with another known artist from Yokohama, who lives now in New York.

Jan 13 13 09:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
udor
Posts: 22,168
New York, New York, US


StevesPhotography wrote:
Tats are nothing but a pop culture fad that is no longer interesting or indicative of anything, certainly not rebellion.

Sorry, but you know nothing about the cultural significance and history of tattooing.

You can easily dismiss this as "nothing but a pop culture fad", but you ignore it's thousands of years old tradition reaching into the modern time.

People of all cultures had such traditions and many who decide to get inked do the research and know quite well why they are getting the ink and it does have often a significant meaning to the individual.

Jan 13 13 09:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lone Pine Photography
Posts: 38
Savannah, Georgia, US


Why do anything that can limit your opportunities?  I'm not pro or anti tattoo, and if you want a tattoo as a self identifier, or because it symbolizes who you are, then go for it if it really matters to you. Just keep in mind that tattoos will limit your opportunities because there are concepts and people that just don't agree with tats.
Jan 13 13 09:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Burlap Rats
Posts: 18,942
Riverside, California, US


Glow in the dark ink has not been proven 100% safe yet. Just an FYI.
Jan 13 13 09:49 pm  Link  Quote 
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