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People & Their Tattoo Art – Photographic Study Street Cast Models

Its been on my mind for a period now and this was to set up a very simple shoot with people who love their tattoo art and have them for all sorts of reasons. After watching the various TV shows regarding Tattoo Art I thought right lets get on with it.

My approach was.

I wanted the images to be a complete representation of the person and their tattoo and cover this in about 10 minutes in front of the camera. The best way forward i thought was to completely strip the colour out of the images and turn it all into a black and white study and in my opinion gave the whole look an edgy effect. I had also been given some new lighting from a top lighting company and thought it would be nice to try out the ring flash that had been given as part of the lighting kit freebie

tattoo photography fashion photographers blog
lighting diagram fashion lighting
tattoo photography fashion photographers blog




When we arrived at our location the room set we were using was only 10ft x 10ft so very small but we had only said we would turn up and shoot please can you help out with space as a studio was not necessary. Maybe it was we thought!  Once set up the plan was for the people to just roll up over a 4 hour period and we would just shoot them as they felt comfortable. The ringflash was set up and tested by Phil and we started. Most people were really nervous and I suppose they felt a little like going to the docs.

The  biggest problem was in the subjects taking off their clothes and not feeling nude in front of me and the equipment which could possibly have looked like some gynecological machine from the arc. After a brief chat with each of the subjects I managed to make then feel at ease and we started shooting the individual. It was amazing to me how they all seemed to be hiding behind the tattoo and what it meant, this was most evident when standing in front of me with the camera and light and them holding their bodies in a contorted covering up way.


The black and white images were later processed through Lightroom with some Analogue film presets and then pushed out into CS6 Photoshop to finish them off. This was the first time that I had used a ringflash and really liked the look. It is a look seen with David Lachapelle in his photo work plus many other photographers, but for sure I will be using it in some client work and in an editorial shoot at Dungeness in the Spring.

Once the guys were relaxed and told the story about why and where and what for about the tattoo they readily seemed to embrace the photography and surprisingly took all direction very well.


tattoo photography fashion photographers blog

TECH SPEC for this shoot

  • 10 x 10ft room with all items not removed!
  • small backdrop roll and stands
  • Nikon D3X  Nikon D800
  • Shutter: 1/125
  • Aperture: F11
  • Any Problems: cramped and  hot
  • Tattoo – Real People
  • TeamNader
  • Lit by Ringflash
  • Styling – models own Tattoo!
  • Makeup – none
  • Processed in – Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS6
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