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Tattoos
Old 08-25-2005, 10:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I thought first to put this in the Post Production forum, but I think it's more of a technical question.

So I'm an old fashioned guy and not really "down" as they say with the whole tattoo/piercing thing. I guess it was my generation that started it, the whole guy's getting their ear pierced thing. But I digress...

I'm shooting a very productive series with a beautiful young lady. Great look, Super poses. Crappy tattoo. At least in my opinion.

This was a portfolio shoot from a LOOOOONG time ago, pictures for her and for me, with no commercial use in mind. I did the post work on this series, removed the tattoo from each shot and that was the first set of pictures from the series I showed to the model. She liked them a lot, and she didn't even notice (she probably would have eventually) that I'd removed the (and I inappropriately said "big old") tattoo, until I brought it up. She wasn't angry or overtly offended by that, but I could tell that I'd "hurt" her feelings thinking the tattoo was unattractive. I didn't know that it had been done by an old boyfriend or something. So my question is....

Even if it improves the shot, the whole look and feel of the shot, do you "help out" by doing what makes the image work, or "butt out" and don't bring up the fact the shot would look better without the tattoo.


[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
See, Rolando, now we need an "ethical dilemma" forum! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] -jk.
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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-25-2005, 11:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No real "ethical dilemma" here as far as I can see. I asked a similar question of someone who I respect greatly (who is no stranger to this forum) and his answer was enlightening. He replied....who's image is it? If it's your image, it's your image....do it the way you like. If it is done under contract, you may have to be more flexible.

There is little question that your choice of words to describe the tattoo could have been better...sometimes the less said the better.

For what it's worth, I find the second image vastly improved....but that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.
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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 12:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm no photographer, but you took the image, do what you think is best. If the model wants an image for him/her self and wants the tattoo or piercing, leave it in for them and take it out for you.

If a photographer takes out my bellybutton ring or a scar or any other flaw I may have, I'm just fine with it. Now if its photoshopped to where I don't recognize myself, I'd pass on it for me, but if they like it, so be it.

The only thing I would recommend, is to [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] leave out the comments. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 12:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Ray on this matter.

I took some wedding pictures for a good friend of mine, and his wife has tattoos on her back. At first, I thought she was an idiot for wearing a strapless wedding gown that didn't hide the tattoos.

While I was editing the photos, I went ahead and took the tattoos out of one of the images. No small feat considering that the tattoos took up most of her upper back.

I showed the finished picture to my girlfriend who agreed that the picture looked A LOT better without the tattoos, but she also said something else I didn't expect. She told me not to show the bride the edited picture. If she went through the trouble of getting and wearing a wedding gown that would prominently display the tattoos, she's obviously proud of them and will be pissed that I edited the picture.

When I showed my buddy and his wife the final pictures, I didn't show them the edited one. His wife LOVED the one with the tattoos. I never did tell them that I made a copy of the picture with the tattoos removed. Now don't get me wrong, I do like her tattoos (maybe not the size of them on her back, but they do look nice nonetheless). I just don't agree that she was displaying them at her wedding. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] Oh well....

To sum it up. If the model's paying you for the shoot, then don't remove the tattoos. She's well aware that the tattoo is there, and if she went through the trouble of displaying it for the photo, most likely she'll be offended if you digitally remove it. If you paid (or if it's a mutual type of shoot), then go with your gut.

I'm with you though, that I think that the final image looks better without it.

By the way, here's a shot of the tattoos in question. The bride was dancing with her father in this shot. Image cropped to protect them from ridicule. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 01:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You bring up some very valid points. Silly me, I was just into the tfp scenerio. If she is paying you, I agree, don't remove them unless asked. If its for your portfolio, then make it the way you want it.

Very good points and very well said!!


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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 01:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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YIKES!!!!!!!!!

What I do I ask the model. To tattoo or not. I don't comment unless she does. Some times I just show both versions.

I think in 20 years there is going to be a lot of middle aged women upset that they did it.
fdp [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 06:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. As you said, at LEAST your bride's tattoos were artistic and well done. But at her wedding? Oh well, I'm showing my age. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 06:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It was, in fact, a tfp. Had it been a paid session, in either direction, the dilemma would have been much smaller. I truly appreciate your insight, Kelly, thanks. I totally agree that my BIGGEST mistake was my mouth. It WAS one of those moments when I wished I could reach out and grab the words and reel them back in before she heard them, but alas... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

Oh, and incidently, young lady, flaws? What flaws? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 08:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The Playboy(R) bunny is a trademark. I wouldn't leave it on any model's image. Although suing somebody on a tattoo is a murky area it's just not worth braving Playboy(R)'s pack of trained attack lawyers. (Plus, frankly, that's an ugly and tacky tattoo.)

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Re: Tattoos
Old 08-26-2005, 11:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a tattoo, and it is a fairly large one on my lower back. For modeling purposes, I have no problems covering and/or having my tattoo edited out. I'm fully aware that they are not everyones cup-o-tea, which is also why I had it done on a place that is easily concealed. I personally find very few shoulder tattoos on women that I find even remotely ok, and a big rose or playboy bunny are generally not one of them. Robin Briggs has an image of a girl with a lot of tats, but I found them kinda cool and reflective of her. Robin Briggs image.




I leave this in my portfolio as fair warning



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