Forums > Model Colloquy > Models with tattoos

Photographer

Gene Cannon

Posts: 159

Wendell, North Carolina, US

If you are a model with tattoos, briefly describe your tattoos and if you feel that your tattoos have increased or decreased your demand as a model? Are you glad that you got the tattoos or regret getting them? Have you ever been hired or rejected as a model because of your tattoos?

Sep 18 20 10:58 am Link

Model

Tattooed Muse

Posts: 2

Mobile, Alabama, US

I have a full sleeve on one arm and a half on the other the extend to my chest as well. Do they hurt my modeling? I believe they do. I don't understand why this day and age where it's acceptable to have them but the modeling and mainstream fashion industries have not caught up. Do I regret them? No not at all they are a piece of me and my life story. If I had to do it over I would still get them I love them. It is just unfortunate that I can't get jobs because of them.

Oct 05 20 04:43 pm Link

Photographer

sweet gamine

Posts: 470

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Tattooed Muse wrote:
Do I regret them? No not at all they are a piece of me and my life story.

I believe this is the crux of the matter right here.
Modeling is much like acting and (for the most part), is not about the model or actor's life story.
Some photographers or directors will incorporate the ink of a model or actor into the role they are portraying;
other times they won't because the tattoos are simply out of sync with the project.
In several instances an actor will be given fake tattoos that are required for an accurate portrayal of a character.

I will, and happily have, worked with inked models - providing the ink does not dictate the direction of the project.
Just as I won't subject a model to a specific photographic storyline (i.e. political or religious) without first thoroughly discussing it since they may not care to participate, I don't place myself under any obligation to incorporate ink into a shoot simply because the model wants to work on a project I am shooting.

Oct 05 20 07:17 pm Link

Photographer

GianCarlo Images

Posts: 2427

Brooklyn, New York, US

sweet gamine wrote:
I believe this is the crux of the matter right here.
Modeling is much like acting and (for the most part), is not about the model or actor's life story.
Some photographers or directors will incorporate the ink of a model or actor into the role they are portraying;
other times they won't because the tattoos are simply out of sync with the project.
In several instances an actor will be given fake tattoos that are required for an accurate portrayal of a character.

I will, and happily have, worked with inked models - providing the ink does not dictate the direction of the project.
Just as I won't subject a model to a specific photographic storyline (i.e. political or religious) without first thoroughly discussing it since they may not care to participate, I don't place myself under any obligation to incorporate ink into a shoot simply because the model wants to work on a project I am shooting.

"I will, and happily have, worked with inked models - providing the ink does not dictate the direction of the project."

I pass up so many beautiful models because of tattoos. My photo ideas are never about tattoos so even one small tattoo that is visible in a shot will hijack the eyes to that spot. It becomes a narrative that upstages your original idea.

Oct 07 20 07:44 am Link

Model

not available

Posts: 1

Denver, Colorado, US

Hi,
I'm fairly new to the modeling industry. I have about 15 tattoo's total. I was turned down once because of them. I do not regret them as they are only a few years old. Each one tells a story. The majority of my tattoo's are located in both arms and chest area. I love them!! My arms are the favorite part of my body because of the art work..

Thanks!!
Correne Wagner

Oct 07 20 09:58 am Link

Photographer

JustHenry

Posts: 205

Greenville, South Carolina, US

CorreneWagner wrote:
Hi,
I'm fairly new to the modeling industry. I have about 15 tattoo's total. I was turned down once because of them. I do not regret them as they are only a few years old. Each one tells a story. The majority of my tattoo's are located in both arms and chest area. I love them!! My arms are the favorite part of my body because of the art work..

Thanks!!
Correne Wagner

It's hard to improve on God's handiwork.

Dec 05 20 06:08 am Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3832

Germantown, Maryland, US

JustHenry wrote:

It's hard to improve on God's handiwork.

Yes, like changing hair color, Make up, exercise, Glasses/contacts, or getting rid of those pesky Tumors that crop up unexpectedly, or Circumcision.

My body is a temple and I'm going to decorate the walls.

Dec 06 20 09:08 am Link

Photographer

E Thompson Photography

Posts: 719

Hyattsville, Maryland, US

Red Sky Photography wrote:

Yes, like changing hair color, Make up, exercise, Glasses/contacts, or getting rid of those pesky Tumors that crop up unexpectedly, or Circumcision.

My body is a temple and I'm going to decorate the walls.

Don't forget cosmetic surgery.

Dec 06 20 09:12 am Link

Photographer

Studio NSFW

Posts: 506

Pacifica, California, US

What about photographers with tattoos?

I have Betty Boop on my butt.

Dec 06 20 09:22 am Link

Photographer

JustHenry

Posts: 205

Greenville, South Carolina, US

Red Sky Photography wrote:

Yes, like changing hair color, Make up, exercise, Glasses/contacts, or getting rid of those pesky Tumors that crop up unexpectedly, or Circumcision.

My body is a temple and I'm going to decorate the walls.

I had no doubt you would post a counterpoint to anything I post.  Thank you for not disappointing me.

Dec 06 20 01:16 pm Link

Clothing Designer

veypurr

Posts: 434

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

Red Sky Photography wrote:

Yes, like changing hair color, Make up, exercise, Glasses/contacts, or getting rid of those pesky Tumors that crop up unexpectedly, or Circumcision.

My body is a temple and I'm going to decorate the walls.

I think you are correct

Dec 06 20 02:25 pm Link

Photographer

Studio NSFW

Posts: 506

Pacifica, California, US

JustHenry wrote:

I had no doubt you would post a counterpoint to anything I post.  Thank you for not disappointing me.

You two should get a room.

Dec 06 20 06:41 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11384

Olney, Maryland, US

JustHenry wrote:
I had no doubt you would post a counterpoint to anything I post.  Thank you for not disappointing me.

And this all happened within two months?

Dec 07 20 07:38 am Link

Photographer

Modelphilia

Posts: 726

Hilo, Hawaii, US

Studio NSFW wrote:
I have Betty Boop on my butt.

That sure beats having poop on your butt!

Dec 11 20 12:05 am Link

Photographer

IMAGINERIES

Posts: 2048

New York, New York, US

Body alterations existed since the beginning of humans, then disappeared among some ethnic groups and resurfaced
among Europeans for several centuries as a non permanent alteration ( make-up powered wings etc..)
What if modern science was able to remove any ink work with no pain, scars  or any trace that a pattern having existed.
What would it mean to have a tattoo?

Dec 15 20 01:20 pm Link

Clothing Designer

Baanthai

Posts: 1218

Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

CorreneWagner wrote:
Hi,
I'm fairly new to the modeling industry. I have about 15 tattoo's total. I was turned down once because of them. I do not regret them as they are only a few years old. Each one tells a story. The majority of my tattoo's are located in both arms and chest area. I love them!! My arms are the favorite part of my body because of the art work..

Thanks!!
Correne Wagner

JustHenry wrote:
It's hard to improve on God's handiwork.

Correne was a new model that was posting for the first time. Mr. Henry blew his religious, condescending snot at her. She deleted her account.

Dec 18 20 06:27 am Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4452

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Gene Cannon wrote:
If you are a model with tattoos, briefly describe your tattoos and if you feel that your tattoos have increased or decreased your demand as a model? Are you glad that you got the tattoos or regret getting them? Have you ever been hired or rejected as a model because of your tattoos?

Two large tattoos.
I've been told they decreased my opportunities a lot and I agree.
I do not regret having gotten them, (the timing however, is another thing, I wished I'd have waited.)
I have been both rejected and hired because of them.

Jen

Dec 30 20 04:59 pm Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4452

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Modelphilia wrote:

That sure beats having poop on your butt!

Hahahaha!! Health care worker humor!! Awesome.

Dec 30 20 05:02 pm Link

Clothing Designer

veypurr

Posts: 434

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

Jen B wrote:

Two large tattoos.
I've been told they decreased my opportunities a lot and I agree.
I do not regret having gotten them, (the timing however, is another thing, I wished I'd have waited.)
I have been both rejected and hired because of them.

Jen

I love your tattoos and you are also very, very beautiful. I will definitely hire you when you come to my city.

Dec 30 20 07:17 pm Link

Photographer

Fred Scholpp photo

Posts: 74

Norge, Virginia, US

I figured I chime in, honestly I am not a big fan of ink. I have seen some good work on models, and have tried to incorporate it into the theme of the shoot. So, if the main focus is: the model in a contemporary theme. I'll work with them.

However, I am very into the timeless feel, or historical settings and historic clothing. In that genre the tattoo becomes a distraction, or simply ruins the feel. If we are trying for a Classic Greek Goddess, Betty Boop just kills it. So, I would and will continue to work with inked models, but not for certain projects.

Lastly, a pet peeve! If you have ink put it on your profile!  The setting for body mods are pretty clear: "none, some and many."
If you put down "none" and your images shown quite a few large ones, I conclude you aren't very honest, or careful with your profile. And you wasted my time checking out your profile when I was searching for "none." Besides, folks that like tattoos won't  pull up your profile when they search with the "some and many" filters on.

Jan 01 21 06:32 pm Link

Photographer

Flex Photography

Posts: 6453

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Studio NSFW wrote:
I have Betty Boop on my butt.

But do you have any tattoos? smile

Jan 23 21 08:35 pm Link

Photographer

Jennifer Emily

Posts: 3

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

I'm heavily tattooed, and as I photographer I find both with and without delightful.  I understand that tattooed models can be both hired and fired for this reason, but there are lots of other reasons to have the same results.  What matters most is you are comfortable in your skin, cause if you're not...we can tell wink

Jan 27 21 12:57 pm Link

Photographer

DeanLautermilch

Posts: 308

Sebring, Florida, US

It is easy to Photoshop small ones but I have bypassed many models who have many or large ones.
I've had some screaming text or MM messages but let them know the reason is I am older and when I was young and seeing the first woman back in the 70s that had an impact on me they did not have ink, implants, or piercings.

Feb 22 21 05:51 am Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11384

Olney, Maryland, US

DeanLautermilch wrote:
I've had some screaming text or MM messages but let them know the reason is . . .

It's too late in their lives for them to follow your advice. Just say: thanks, but no thanks.

Feb 22 21 08:29 am Link

Photographer

david durkee

Posts: 102

Long Beach, California, US

Red Sky Photography wrote:
Yes, like changing hair color, Make up, exercise, Glasses/contacts, or getting rid of those pesky Tumors that crop up unexpectedly, or Circumcision.

My body is a temple and I'm going to decorate the walls.

Makeup and hair color are temporary. Exercise is just healthy. Glasses and contacts come out. Tumors.. well that is up to the one with them and circumcision in men is a decision that was made *for* us that we had no choice in.

The word to many people isn't "decoration" but desecration. Different viewpoints, and you can have all the ink you want but many, many photographers will hire Eastern European or Russian models that tour the US specifically as they don't have that. Many of us won't ever shoot ink unless we are paid really well.

Whether you view us as such, most photographers look at their work as an "art" and we paint with light. I've never seen a photographer that wants to do that type of painting on a canvas that looks like a human doodlepad.

Feb 27 21 06:21 pm Link

Photographer

Thatcher Photography

Posts: 1264

Fort Worth, Texas, US

Not a model... but I have had countless clients asking for no tattoos on the models.

They don't want it stealing the focus of what they are trying to sell.

It is like shooting in a graffiti covered area. Many viewers get distracted by the other art.

I liked tattoos prior to them becoming EXTREMELY mainstream. It seems like they used to be more thought out. Half of the tats I see these days don't even compliment the body they are on or make any sense at all.

My two cents!

Mar 01 21 09:00 am Link

Photographer

linelightcolor

Posts: 14

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US

I feel like I'll sound like a total jerk but here's my honest take on the subject. I am an art photographer. I prefer to shoot a model with no tattoos. I often want to use the model as a design element in a piece and tattoos complicate that for me. It is hard to describe my work, but while sometimes a tattoo can be incorporated into a design it certainly often complicates what I am trying doing. I described my ideal model to my wife as having no tattoos, no piercings, no clothes, and no hair not that I have ever met such a model.

That said, I have never turned away a model for tattoos, body type, comfort level, sex, age, piercings, skin color, or any other physical attribute that I can think of. I have, in fact, intentionally shot models with a lot of tattoos just because I feel it is important to challenge myself and work outside just what is most comfortable for me.

Mar 04 21 08:57 am Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4452

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Gene Cannon wrote:
If you are a model with tattoos, briefly describe your tattoos and if you feel that your tattoos have increased or decreased your demand as a model? Are you glad that you got the tattoos or regret getting them? Have you ever been hired or rejected as a model because of your tattoos?

Hi,
Can you describe why you are asking, what is your reason? Are you looking to get a tattoo, are you unsure about it? I say wait if you have such complicated thoughts or insecurities about them. Good luck.
Jen
p.s. edit to say that I see the original poster was a crash and burn, bot type of poster, meh. MM....

Apr 14 21 10:00 pm Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4452

Phoenix, Arizona, US

veypurr wrote:

I love your tattoos and you are also very, very beautiful. I will definitely hire you when you come to my city.

Hello,
Why thank you!! That is a lovely thing to say. I'm so glad to revisit this thread! smile
Jen

Apr 14 21 10:02 pm Link

Photographer

Catskills Art Nudes

Posts: 4

Woodstock, New York, US

For the work I do, the nude figure in nature, tattoos are an unwanted distraction.  I’ll work with a model who’s minimal ink can be hidden either by the pose or the environment but I can’t hire models with large or numerous tattoos.

Apr 27 21 05:21 am Link

Photographer

Jefferson Cole

Posts: 123

Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Commercial assignments often are subject to extreme deadline pressures, explaining to clients that they can't have images yet because photoshopping out the tattoos out isn't finished.
(Loose client instantly)

Commercial galleries, being dependent on sales, have indicated to me that images of inked models have not sold in the past, so they aren't accepted now.

Apr 30 21 06:28 am Link

Photographer

rxz

Posts: 910

Glen Ellyn, Illinois, US

Tattoos are a personal choice.  Are there local models or models traveling through my area I would have wanted to work with if they didn't have tattos?  Yes.  I do work with 2 models with tats.  Tats on one can be photoshopped out.  The tat on the other model almost blends into her skin tone or can be hidden.  I'm just exercising my choice.

May 02 21 07:42 am Link

Photographer

Al_Vee Photography

Posts: 66

Asheville, North Carolina, US

I like to photograph humans. Some humans have tattoos. Some humans also have moles, scars and/or texturing of skin due to the circumstances that surround being a living person, out in the world. These are a part of a person, come with a person, and I have no right to judge what another person chooses to do with their appearance. It is my job to expose the beauty in each person, and ALL the physical parts of a person are also parts of their beauty and power.

May 06 21 04:17 am Link

Model

MelindaTisdale

Posts: 4

Miami, Florida, US

I appreciate this question being asked and all the answers. I have been on the fence about getting additional tattoos and this has helped greatly.

Jun 03 21 09:52 am Link

Model

Alexandra Vincent

Posts: 298

Asheville, North Carolina, US

I had tattoos before I ever modeled, or even knew modeling freelance was something that I could do. Despite being tattooed, I traveled and modeled professionally as a nude subject, from approximately 2008 through most of 2019. I retired permanently only months before the  pandemic set in. I have been published, had work in art shows, have modeled throughout the US and posed for so many workshops, individual photographers and artists, I cannot even remember most of them. It was well into the hundreds, at the point that I retired.

No, my tattoos did not negatively influence my ability to get work, perform well or be marketable. What DID influence my work was having a "disproportionate" physique. Basically, being extremely pear-shaped, but choosing not to get breast implants to even up my proportions. I would have easily doubled or tripled my income had I gotten a breast augmentation. I even used to get hateful emails and messages from people,  claiming that my "nubile" upper body promoted certain unsavory behaviors in society. Of course that is utter bull crap, because an adult woman is an adult woman, and adults come in all shapes and sizes. Plus, I was always quite curvy, albeit primarily in my legs and behind.

Out of all the years I modeled, the number one stated reason I got rejected was due to "proportions" or people wanting larger breasted models for nude and glamour work. I was typically  31-25-37, and folks wanted the top and bottom to approximately match. I even worked with a good many photographers who claimed to "never" shoot tattooed models. My tattoos had basically no influence on my more than a decade of modeling (most of it as a working professional), but other physical factors certainly did. However, I worked very hard to perfect my professional communications and establish a good reputation, so I worked for many, many years and did well regardless.

Aug 08 21 06:39 am Link

Photographer

Michelle-Martin

Posts: 49

Gaithersburg, Maryland, US

When I first got started in photography tattoos were the kiss of death for a model's career. Now, it's been so long since I've had a model in front of my camera without tattoos I no longer even care if there's ink or not.

Aug 09 21 04:55 pm Link

Photographer

SayCheeZ!

Posts: 20402

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Most models will never know the true reason they get skipped.
It's OFTEN because of a tattoo.

The agent, photographer, or client probably won't tell them that the tattoo is the reason they didn't get the gig (albeit some do).
I can't tell you how many times I've seen or had a casting that clearly stated "no tattoos" and several models still apply for the gigs. Sometimes the model will try to explain why they should be the exception (sorry, that doesn't work).  I've even seen a model claim it was discrimination (there's no law about equal opportunity for tattoo'ed people).

Aug 09 21 06:13 pm Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3832

Germantown, Maryland, US

SayCheeZ!  wrote:
Most models will never know the true reason they get skipped.
It's OFTEN because of a tattoo.

Most Models will never know the reason they get skipped.
It's ALWAYS because some aspect did not fit the desired look of the Photographer/Art Director.

Too tall, too short, too heavy, too thin, Tattoos, bad skin, scars, wrong hair color, wrong measurements for the wardrobe.

Aug 10 21 06:27 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 13537

Washington, Utah, US

SayCheeZ!  wrote:
Most models will never know the true reason they get skipped.
It's OFTEN because of a tattoo.

The agent, photographer, or client probably won't tell them that the tattoo is the reason they didn't get the gig (albeit some do)…...

I was wondering when someone would point this out.   If a model posts an availability notice and is hired, she may be told why she was hired, but it’s unlikely she will know how many considered her and passed or why they passed.   I’ve passed on many models due to excessive tattoos but of course they don’t know that.   

If one really wants to know how tattoos impact being hired, one should ask those doing the hiring, not those who were passed over, but don’t know why they were passed over.

Aug 10 21 08:41 am Link

Photographer

Bob Helm Photography

Posts: 18826

Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US

Personally My preference is no tats but in today's world that really limits your choices, so I consider tats as part of the total package and can it work for me.
Unless the project requires tats they are always a negative, sometimes a deal breaker sometimes not just like all physical attributes. Each project has different "must haves" and must not.

Aug 10 21 08:46 am Link