Photographing Tattoos — Tatoo photography

We eas­ily acquire tips to pho­to­graph flow­ers, peo­ple, and still life. Yet one sub­ject that often doesn’t have clear cut tips and direc­tions is pho­tograph­ing tat­toos. This sub­ject is art in itself, and to effec­tively shoot this piece requires not only patience and an eye for com­po­si­tion, but also tips from peo­ple that have already done it.

Tip one: Do not use a tri­pod unless you have a spe­cific effect (e.g blur) in mind. It is likely going to limit your mov­ing around and will take extra time to set up for each shot.

Tip two: If pos­si­ble, shoot out­side if you’re new to the game, or use great win­dow light, it’s so much eas­ier. Pay atten­tion to clut­ter and dis­trac­tions though. Be aware of what’s in the frame, what’s out of the frame, and make deci­sions on what to include or chop.

Tip Three:‚ Eas­ier light to han­dle might be around sun­set time or on a cloudy day with dif­fused light. A reflec­tor like white card­board can help if needed.

Tip Four: If you already know how to work with flash and/or are com­fort­able with your tech­nique, feel free to shoot in a tat­too shop if you get the per­mis­sion. You’ll likely get cool effects if you try slower shut­ter speeds on their own and/or mixed with flash.

You can find loads of fine tat­too pho­tog­ra­phy in the gallery at


  1. Nice tips Marko… this gave me an idea to take pho­tog­ra­phy on tat­toos with a model for my friend’s tat­too shop :)

  2. admin says:

    Yeah this may have been “too begin­ner” and too generic, point taken. Thx — Marko

  3. Isaiah says:

    I don’t get it. How do any of these tips apply specif­i­cally to tat­too pho­tog­ra­phy? I was expect­ing stuff like “Watch out for glare on the skin hid­ing the details of the tat­too”, or “Pay atten­tion to the lines in the tat­too, and how they inter­act with the lines in the rest of the pic­ture.” Ya know, some­thing less generic than “A tri­pod lim­its your move­ment”, and “Sun­sets and cloudy days have the best light.”


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