How to Take Photos of Tattoos
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What is the most important bit of advice you could give to young photographers?
As a professional photographer for over 10 years, the bottom line is, nothing is more important than developing your own style. This can be in a number of ways. For example it could be the mood in which you shoot, dark and moody, bright and vibrant, fun and candid, gritty and emotive. It could be your post production techniques and the way you showcase your final work. Or it could be the way you pose your subjects. You could be classically trained so you might follow every traditional detail right down to how the fingers are placed and shoot vintage makeover shoots for example. You might be more edgy and opt to challenge the general rules of photography. Breaking rules and creating new ones is a sure fire way to stand out, but it must be done in an appealing style. If you're easily hurt by criticism, be it constructive or down right harsh you need to man up and stay true to you're own style if that's what you truly believe in. Nothing drives you more than passion in the photographic industry. That said, a lot of people are motivated by money and don't get me wrong this too should be right at the top of your priority list. But in this industry, you are guaranteed to suffer set backs and experience times where you really want to give it all up and knock it on the head. If you're driven by money, you will have already given up for sure, as it's no easy path. But if you're really passionate about your style and your message, that will keep you going even when the money has temporarily stopped. Just remember 'if an opportunity doesn't knock, build yourself a door!'
So if you're like me and you've shot every style there is over a number of years of dedication and you have a real eye for photography, overall, no matter what you shoot, you should be able to see a distinguishing characteristic in your work that sets you apart and says… 'i know that work, that's the work of Mike Nunn!'
How and why did you start to specialise in tattoo photography?
Throughout my 10 years at a traditional studio, where i was classically trained and mentored by some of the best mentors available to me. I strived to add an element to my work which could instantly be told apart from my peers. With this, I eventually left and more recently now run my own studio and workshops where i'm currently specialising in alternative tattoo & urban style photography. I took it upon myself to achieve this, as working in a traditional environment for so many years it was very sad to see that is was as though the alternative audience maybe felt uninvited to their scene. Why did they never get any fully tattoo clad gents or ladies looking for the very popular bare skin family shoots? Because they never catered for those people in the first place in order to shoot that type of session and then market that type of session. They made tons of money shooting regular Joe's but very rarely Hells Angel Joe and even when they did, they didn't then display these images on their traveling sales exhibitions or website as they were seen as a minority. Most of their business came from the regular Joe's. You sell what you see and to be frank, they didn't put that type of work out there to be seen. But the really sad thing is, it looks so freaking cool! It Just wasn't true to their style. But it's true to my style.