February 6, 2019 Working around tattoos

Why are tattoos an issue?

Tattoos on models can be a big problem for us. We know that young women who have tattoos are far more likely to want to do nude modelling (they tend to enjoy taking risks in life), but we also know that tattoos are a turn-off for a large section of our customer base.

For any model on the site with a tattoo, there are many more rejected during the application process (around 70% of models who apply are rejected, and tattoos are the main reason).

Unfortunately, we’re not able to find enough models with no tattoos, so we sometimes need to shoot models with tattoos, but “shoot around” them (that is, hide them).

Information about tattoos are stored in model’s MDB records – we always carefully gather info on size and placement, and add it to the “tattoos” field in the MDB.

When can tattoos be shown? 

By default, no tattoos on a model are permitted to be shown in the main shoot (stills or video), Backstage, Dressing room.

However, occasionally the CD will specifically permit all tattoos (or, some specific tattoos) to be shown in a shoot. If this is the case an important note, marked in yellow, will be added to the models MDB record – scrolling down may be necessary.

This decision is made when it is deemed that it would be more disruptive to attempt to hide the tattoo rather than showing it, however, these tattoos should not be emphasised and the models should never discuss tattoos on camera.

Failing to shoot around a model’s tattoos will negatively affect your grooming score, and may result in a 1-assessed shoot overall in some cases (a shoot we cannot release on the website!).

If a Shoot Producer does not feel confident to create an excellent shoot with no tattoos visible, they may reject the booking when first offered the opportunity (Shoot Producers should always review a model’s MDB record, before accepting a shoot booking!). 

Making shoots of models with tattoos can be challenging, but we have some tips to help.

How can tattoos be hidden?

Important things to remember:

  • Customers pay to see nude models – they can feel cheated when models do not get fully naked
  • Working around a models tattoos perfectly in the main shoot counts for little if they are shown in Backstage or Dressing Room

This Carmen M Solo is an excellent example of how to work around tattoos.  She has 6 tattoos.

  1. A rose on the back of her neck

2. A kitten on the top of her foot.

3. A dog on the front of her left thigh

4. A large tattoo on the back of her left calf

5. Writing on the back of her right ankle

6. A strawberry on her left bicep

Yet, none of these are visible in her solo shoot! How is it possible? Well, there are several techniques to hide a model’s tattoos.

Hide tattoos by using the model’s hair

If the model has long hair, it may cover back-of-neck and upper-back tattoos. While it might look sweet if she braids it, if it will hide a tattoo – that is the bigger priority! 

ABOVE: Carmen M, with her upper-back tattoo hidden by hair.

ABOVE: Dion D has her hair braided, a mistake. Unbraided, it would likely cover her upper-back tattoo!

Tip: The model may need to be directed to tilt her head head backwards in some shots, so the tattoo is fully covered.

Hide tattoos by using clothing

Clothing can be a real help when hiding tattoos, so long as it allows a full shoot to be captured. 

Above: In this example Carmen has pulled down her skirt to tease her pubic area… but it also happens to be covering the tattoo on her thigh! A successful image.

Above: Carmen was directed to keep on her socks throughout this shoot, to hide her foot and leg tattoos. A cute result.

Above: Helena T has a tattoo on her arm – the SP has cut the foot off a sock so that the ‘armband’ covers the tattoo. This sock was worn throughout the shoot

When using clothing to hide tattoos consider the order the model gets undressed and don’t make the shoot more difficult than necessary! For example,

If she has a big tattoo on her lower back, capture her nude bum Must-Have while she still has her shirt on, and remove the shirt later in the shoot (once her buttocks have been appropriately explored).

As with all things in life, planning is key!

Hide tattoos by using objects or props

Can the tattoo be hidden behind an object or prop in some shots? This technique can look odd if the prop or object is not used elsewhere in the shoot (at least a little!). 

Below left, Carmen is using an umbrella to hide the tattoo on her leg in the Must-Have NFBSN, before going on to pose with the umbrella in ways that show off her body and look fun.

Note that this umbrella is not considered a personal prop, as umbrellas are not personal enough to meet the criteria of personal prop. If she had hand-carved the handle, it may become a personal prop. So in this case, it’s just a colourful prop.

Hide tattoos by using the model’s position

Direct the model so her tattoos are oriented away from the camera. This is the method our customers appreciate the most (they pay to see nude models, not models partly nude with bits of clothing left on to hide tattoos!).

Above: Note how her left arm has been twisted and pressed into her body. This ensures her bicep tattoo cannot be seen by the camera.

Above: Carmen has placed her arm under her thigh during this EXP pose, to ensure her left bicep tattoo is hidden by her body.

Above: This image shows Carmen M fully nude, with all her tattoos carefully hidden using only her body position. In fact, this is a particularly provocative pose. Excellent!

In summary

Always check a model’s MDB record before a shoot to see if a “tattoo management plan” is required, and implement one so there’s less stress on the shoot day.

The Shoot Producer Trainer (or in their absence, the CD) will always be delighted to discuss ideas to work around tattoos, so get in touch!

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