There are so many directions you can go in with a first tattoo - but once you're sure you like having tattoos and want something larger, there are some striking options out there - the most popular being the portrait tattoo.
With a portrait tattoo, you never have to worry about having something that everyone else has, because you can choose a photo with deep personal meaning to you.
A portrait tattoo is basically a color or black and grey tattoo that features a human or a pet face. Portrait tattoos are very diverse in terms of style, ranging from watercolor portrait tattoos to black and grey realism tattoos.
Many of us have seen portrait tattoos gone wrong, but when the research process in finding an experienced tattoo artist is done correctly, the final results might be mindblowing.
Although the reason for getting a portrait tattoo may vary from person to person, you should keep in mind that this process reguires full commitment, so you'd better think carefully about your motivations!
You may choose to get a portrait tattoo for a number of reasons.
Some people choose a photo of a family member, significant other, child, or a celebrity that means a lot to them.
Portrait tattoos are a common choice for men, and female faces are more popular than male faces on average.
That said, there are plenty of people with portraits of fathers or well loved male characters from books, TV, and movies.
A Way to Remember Someone who Passed on
Many portrait tattoos are memorials. Getting a tattoo is considered a grief ritual to some, and there are even psychologists who specialize in the art form.
The pain of having a tattoo done can be a powerful way to release the emotional pain of having lost someone you love.
When you wear an image of someone who has died- you find a way to have them with you always.
Another option for memorial tattoos that is becoming increasingly popular is pet portraits.
Pets are part of the family and, due to their constant presence and companionship, leave a void in our lives when they pass away.
Pay homage to your furry (or scaly!) friend and the good times you had with some beautiful ink in their honor.
Join a Fan Club
If you want to make new likeminded friends, but aren’t sure how to approach people, why not wear your favorite art on your sleeve?
Being a fan of something can be lonely if you don’t know anyone else who likes your favorite movie, TV series, comic book, etc.
A portrait tattoo is a fun conversation starter, especially among other people who like the same things as you.
Maybe you’ll even get to find some fun new friends to chat about your favorite characters with!
They say never to get a tattoo of a significant other, because you can’t be sure how things will change in the years to come!
Children, however, will always be yours- even if your relationship changes over the years.
They grow up so fast, so immortalize those youthful years with a beautiful piece of art.
This question comes up a lot when talking about portrait tattoos.
Many people worry that the fine details in the tattoo will cause it to age poorly.
Truthfully, as with any other tattoo, your ink will change over the years.
But if your tattoo artist does a good job and you take great care of your skin, it’s more likely your tattoo will age beautifully.
The reason people think graffiti style or “new school” tattoos age better is because many of them have bold lines and bright colors.
The contrast is striking, so even as the tattoo fades, the effect is a vibrant one.
Your tattoo artist can incorporate these elements into your portrait tattoos by choosing bold focal points and opportunities for pops of color.
Maybe the person in the photo is wearing a cool pair of glasses, a punchy tie, or an elaborate hairstyle.
These are all striking elements that give your tattoo a vibrant, longer lasting effect.
Best body places to get a portrait tattoo, according to the artists, are the larger body areas without skin folds or creases, less likey to gain fat with aging: shoulders, legs, forearms and the upper back.
With any tattoo, it’s important to do your research and find someone who specializes in the style you like.
This is especially imperative with portrait tattoos.
A bad portrait tattoo can be grotesque or comical looking, and because it’s so detailed, it may be difficult to cover up.
Portrait tattoos need to be large in order to fit in all the necessary details, so do all the work you can ahead of time so you can avoid heartache and expense later.
Chances are, you can find a great portrait tattoo artist in your area, or wait until a tattoo convention comes by.
But if you really want to break the bank and travel to see just the right artist, here are a few who are at the top of their game: Nikko Hurtado, Michael Taguet, Tatu Baby, Sarah Miller.
Typically artists charge by the hour.
A portrait tattoo may take a few hours to get the details just right, so expect to invest at least $5-800 on a well done piece.
If someone is really popular and in demand, they may raise their prices to be able to keep up with their ever expanding clientele.
Someone has to pay for all that ink- not to mention the hours of labour that go into becoming an amazing artist.
Tattoos are permanent, and chances are if you've chosen a portrait tattoo - the image has deep personal meaning for you.
Spare no expense, and do your research! Your future self will thank you.
That said, portrait tattoos are a loving way to pay tribute to all the beautiful and badass people in your life.
Still not convinced? Take a look at our gallery below.
What's your favourite portrait tattoo? Tell us here!