What's up guys, this is Jose Perez Jr. I want to take the time to share some knowledge and tips that I have learned in my past 9 years working in the industry. For those who don't know me, I'm self-taught for the most part so I had to learn my own techniques, tricks, and style so I had do all the wrong things before I learned to do the right things. I am always pushing myself to become better at my trade. For those newcomers, if tattooing is something you're pursuing and you want this to be your career, this is something to be taken very seriously. It should become one of your passions and be made a priority if you want to be succesful at it. There are a lot of sacrifices to be made, as there are with any successful career, so if you think you're ready, let's start with one of the basics.
First and foremost, one of the most important things to be taken into consideration if you want to be successful, is your portfolio. Your portfolio should consist of your best work. And don't get me wrong , It's good to showcase your best work, but there's no reason that your work can't be consistant and that all your work can be portfolio worthy. In other words- work hard on every piece and don't be, as I call it, a "hit-or-miss-artist". Don't half-ass your work if you don't like the idea, or if it's late and you want to hang out with your buddies, or if you went out drinking till 5 a.m. the night before and you're hung over, or if you receive a bootie call in the middle of your tattoo and can't concentrate anymore. If you fall into these habits you're probably not going to be the best at your trade. No matter what happens during your tattoo, you need to stay focused and always have a great work ethic so working hard allows you to play hard as well. Just remember that working hard comes first.
If you don't already have an extensive portfolio, your main focus should be creating one. In this industry, it's 100% about visuals. You want to be able to showcase the work you can do. Sure you can still stay busy in our industry but you will have to be a great salesman. If you have the work and the great pictures to back it up, your work will sell itself and you dont have to convince your client in how skilled you are. Your work will speak for it self. Always think about your client and your piece being a walking billboard and you only want to present the best for advertisment.
For photographs I usually take between 70-100 pictures of each tattoo. The reason I take so many is to insure that you have options to choose from because some times you will get blurry pics, funny lighting, or glares that wash out your pics. You also want to get all angles, especially if it is on a part of the body that wraps around. That way you can showcase each side of the tattoo because it is on a 3d canvas. Take time to find a good spot in your shop or tattooing location with good lighting, or set up a designated area for photographs. Never use a flash and try to avoid a reflection on your tattoo, or the contrast will look washed out. Anything solid black will look like greywash and fall flat and faded. That's not what you want to showcase because it does not represent your best work. A tip to get rid of glare that I've used for years now is to make sure you wash and clean your tattoo really well with green soap, or h2ocean foam, or water, and remove all the leaking plasma. When you do that, get a dry paper towel and dry it gently. Then you have a 5-10 second window to take the picture. This removes most of the glare. Once the tattoo starts to look shiny or ooze again, you need to repeat the process. It sucks that you only have a small window to get that photo but it is important to ensure that you represent your work accurately. Outside photos can also provide great natural lighting, it's best to take them the next day if your client is willing to come back, because the redness of the fresh tattoo goes down. It is important to not stand in direct sunlight or again , it will make your work look washed out. The best place to stand is inside the shadow of a building, with the sun positioned behind the tattoo itself.
Presentation is also important. when you're working on your portfolio, you want to make sure that you have great presentation utilizing the best photos of your tattoos and showcasing your best work. You'll want to always try to focus and zoom in on your tattoo to see actual detail. Use 1-2 tattoos per page at max, don't squeeze 10 pictures on one page because you won't capture the fine detail in each one. Always go with a nice book that you can get printed online. Check out blurb.com, it takes a little time but makes your work look presentable and professional as fuck. Also think about using an iPad or tablet, but make sure you get a chain or a metal wire cable with a combination lock so you can remove it when needed. This ensures that no one walks off with it.
Again, I can't stress enough that one of the most important things is your portfolio, and that you put 199% effort into each one of your tattoos. Make sure that each tattoo is your best work, because if your work is good, it will be your best salesman. So, one more time: #1 step to be a succesful tattoo artist is....
Portfolio PORTFOLIO PORTFOLIO PORTFOLIO PORTFOLIO PORTFOLIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope this advice helps you!
JOSE PEREZ JR