Photo Portfolio Guide for Tattoo Artists

Tattoo artist showing photo portfolio to a client
Tattoo artist showing photo portfolio to a client

Whether you’re just starting or have been tattooing for years. A beautifully presented photo portfolio is the perfect way to showcase your skills.

Hand drawn tattoo portfolio

There are multiple ways to present your work. It’s a good idea to have options for your clients to peruse. The main distinction is whether you have an online portfolio or a physical one; we recommend having both. This allows your customers to see your work online before booking an appointment, but it also means you can discuss your work with walk-in customers or those more comfortable making appointments in person

Photo portfolios are an invaluable sales tool…

Having photos of previous customers can be very reassuring for new clients as it’s visual proof of your skills and a testimonial from a previous client. Having a photo portfolio on hand is not only a great way to display your work to clients but is also an invaluable tool to include with your CV.

Using your portfolio to showcase your work for clients

Think about how you display your drawings. Whilst a hand sketch might showcase your skills, it might be a good idea to create digital illustrations using procreate or other similar apps. This will add a cleaner, more professional finish.

Speak to your clients…

Healed Tattoos always look better than the initial ink; it might be a good idea to invite clients back into the studio to photograph their tattoos with the incentive of a discount on their next tattoo or even prints of the photos. Clients may even be happy to send you photos themselves; however, taking these photos yourself will allow you control over the quality and ensure your portfolio looks clean and professional.

Healed sun tattoo photograph

Lights, Camera, Action!

When taking photos in the studio, it is paramount that your lighting is good. You want the details you have spent time on to show and be complemented by the lighting. Ring lights can be found easily purchased online and can be set up in minutes to get the perfect photo. Best of all, they aren’t bulky and can be stored very quickly. This makes them ideal for the hustle and bustle of a tattoo studio.

using a ring light for in-house photography

If your photo portfolio is for web use, think about including photos of the interior of the studio. This can make nervous clients feel more at home without setting foot inside the studio and reassuring them of cleanliness and hygiene standards within your studio. Hiring a professional photographer to take these photos can ensure the quality is of the best standard. It will also reflect the pride you take in your business.

Photographing tattoo studio interior

Organise your photo portfolio

Organisation can make it so much easier for clients to make decisions and keep them interested in your portfolio. It’s best to organise your tattoos by style; this way, it is easy for clients to find precisely what they’re looking for and similar designs that they may also be interested in.

Think about the format. Whilst Instagram is a great way to approach younger audiences; a webpage might be more accessible for older clients; try not to limit yourself to one. You can make Webpages easily using Shopify, Squarespace or GoDaddy.

Photographing designs for photo portfolio

In terms of a physical photo portfolio, photo albums are a great way to show your photos whilst allowing the freedom of adding in new photos and adjusting the order of your images without having to reprint an entire book. You can also create multiple copies for the waiting room of your studio as they make a great coffee table book for clients and relatives they may bring with them. Who knows, you may even score another customer.

Tell us how you put together your portfolio below…

Looking for a photographer? Check out MO Studios

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