Do's and Dont's of Tattoo Shop Etiquette-Daysmart BodyArt (2024)

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Do's and Dont's of Tattoo Shop Etiquette-Daysmart BodyArt (1)

Getting a tattoo is something most people think about for months, while others walk into a tattoo shop on a whim when they come up witha cool idea. Whether you’re a first-timer with a carefully-planned tattoo or you’re the spontaneous type, you have to know how to behave in the tattoo shop.

There are some basic rules of tattoo etiquette that some people just don’t understand. It’s a shame, considering how hard artists work to get the look you want and how much easier the whole process would be if customers were courteous. Understanding tattoo etiquette can make the experience of getting a tattoo a positive one, and that’s a benefit to both the customer and the artist.

Trust us, you don’t want to be that guy (or girl!) the next time you go into a tattoo shop.

Here’s a handful of bad habits that are top of the list of things tattoo artists hate.

1. Not Showering Beforehand

If you’re going on a date, you shower. If you’re headed to class for the day or a long shift at work, you shower. It’s common courtesy for the people you’re going to be in close quarters with, and it’s good for your hygiene, too.

Think about your tattoo for a second. Whether you’re getting something on your forearm, thigh, or ribs, you don’t want to sit in a chair with bad body odor. It’s not a good look for you, and it’s going to annoy the artist more than you think.

2. Micromanaging the Process

Most artists can deal with a so-so smell, especially if they live in a particularly hot, humid area or if they can tell you’ve just gotten off work. What all artists absolutely hate, though, is being micromanaged.

No one cares if you’re a painter, a graphic designer, or just a stickler for accuracy and detail. When you choose a tattoo artist, you’re telling them you trust them. Then, when you start micromanaging, you’re saying you’re not so sure anymore.

Give them some common courtesy. You don’t tell a doctor how to diagnose you or a lawyer how to present your case. Tattoo artists are professionals, too, and they deserve the same level of respect.

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3. Comparing an Artist’s Work to Someone Else’s

Sometimes, people disrespect a tattoo artist without even meaning to. They sit there and talk about the tattoos they already have or the work they’ve seen on other people for hours on end. Even worse, they start comparing what the tattoo artist is doing to what others have done.

Don’t be this person. Every artist has their own work process and their own style. This is something you should familiarize yourself with beforeyou book them, then appreciate as they work.

4. Negotiating or Criticizing the Tattoo Price

This one is at the top of the absolute worst tattoo shop etiquette. Don’t negotiate the price. Tattoo artists will always quote you beforehand based on their time and the size of the tattoo.

They want to make sure they get the design just right, so it’s better to pay for an extra half hour or so than to walk out with something that looks rushed and sub-par. It’s not a good look for you or for them, and it definitely doesn’t say anything good about you when you try to undercut the price.

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5. Acting Like a Know-It-All

Maybe you know a bit about tattoos already, and you have a few to show for yourself. Whoop-dee-doo. No one cares if you’re finishing your second sleeve or getting a first-time tattoo.

Well, they do. Artists are excited to work on their clients, but not to the point that they’ll let them boss them around or undermine their work. Sit in the chair and let the artist do their thing without trying to get street cred for how much you know (or think you know).

6. Bringing a Bunch of Friends

Speaking of street cred, don’t bring all the friends you have into the shop with you. It’s one thing to get matching tattoos with one or two people or to have a few friends join you. It’s another to crowd the artist’s space with five or six people gathered around them.

The less company you bring, the better.

7. Asking an Artist to Copy Someone’s Work

It’s one thing to compare and another to ask for a copy. Never, ever ask an artist to copy someone else’s work. It’s not fair to the original artist and it’s a shot at the person who’s about to tattoo you, too.

If there happens to be a piece that inspires you, work with the artist to put your own spin on it. They can redesign the look to fit your expectations without being a copy or you can put your heads together to collaborate on a fresh design.

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8. Walking in Wasted

It doesn’t matter if you walk in to a tattoo shop alone or with just one person if you’re drunk. No tattoo shop is going to let you get a tattoowhile under the influence, appointment or not.

It’s not good for you and it can really hurt the quality of their brand. Save the drinking for after your tattoo appointment if you really feel like getting a buzz.

9. Taking a Smoke Break Every 10 Minutes

What if your drug of choice is just a cigarette? That can’t be too bad, right? It’s fine if you walk in after just having had a smoke or if you’re going to be in the chair for hours and need a break or two.

But, taking a break every 10 or 15 minutes is going too far. This really cuts into the artist’s time and it gets old very fast.

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10. Skipping the Tip

Although an artist is quoting you for their time and their work, it’s good tattoo etiquette to give them a little extra for their results. This goes for large, colored tattoos and small, minimal ones alike. It doesn’t matter what you’re getting, you have to leave a tip.

Think of this beforehand and make sure you bring enough cash or be prepared to add it onto your card. Also, give a fair tip – something between 20-25% will do.

11. Standing Up an Artist

This is another of the worst things you can do, right up there with negotiating the price. If a tattoo artist is taking time out of their day to squeeze you in and give you what you want, show up.

Otherwise, you’re wasting their time and hindering the amount of money they can make that day. It’s not cool, and it gets you started on the wrong foot when you have to actually show up and face them after standing them up.

The #1 Rule of Tattoo Shop Etiquette

It’s good to know all the things that can annoy tattoo artists, especially if you’re about to get your first one and don’t know what to expect. But, it’s also nice to brush up on tattoo etiquette before you go to a new artist or shop, since everyone does things a bit differently.

To learn more about DaySmart Tattoo Software click here!

Do's and Dont's of Tattoo Shop Etiquette-Daysmart BodyArt (2024)


What annoys tattoo artists? ›

Here's a handful of bad habits that are top of the list of things tattoo artists hate.
  • Not Showering Beforehand. ...
  • Micromanaging the Process. ...
  • Comparing an Artist's Work to Someone Else's. ...
  • Negotiating or Criticizing the Tattoo Price. ...
  • Acting Like a Know-It-All. ...
  • Bringing a Bunch of Friends. ...
  • Asking an Artist to Copy Someone's Work.

What not to wear to a tattoo appointment? ›

"Sometimes a client may get hot and sweaty, but your adrenaline runs out over time, which causes your body to get cold," tattoo artist Gianna Caranfa says. Also, avoid coming in light colors or your favorite new insert-clothing-piece-here, because "we don't want to stain your clothes with the ink," Velvet says.

Do tattoo artists judge your body? ›

The client-Tattoo Artist relationship is purely professional and free from sexuality, shame, or judging. Therefore, it is not uncommon for customers to feel an emotional and sentimental connection with a person who marks their skin permanently. In addition, people tend to trust individuals.

What is tattoo shop etiquette? ›

It's considered good etiquette to show up singularly as the brave tattoo client you are. On occasion, a studio will have room to accommodate a +1 but don't count on it. Limited space in a busy studio can lead to your moral support having to hang in the waiting area, which is typically reserved for paying customers.

What not to say to a tattoo artist? ›

Tattoo artists are professionals who should be treated with respect and consideration. There are certain questions you should never ask your tattoo artist. For example, you should never ask your tattoo artist to negotiate on the price or copy another artist's work.

Do tattoo artists like when you talk to them? ›

Don't be afraid of “talking too much” or “over explaining” something to us. We want to know. It's only when you tell us these things we'll be able to deliver your ideal vision. And when we're able to do this for you, it leaves both of us totally satisfied with the experience.

Is it rude to bring headphones to a tattoo appointment? ›

I encourage my customers to bring headphones or a book to keep them company during the session. But I always appreciate it when customers let me know first so I'm aware they have headphones on if I need to get their attention.

How much to tip a tattoo artist? ›

Tattoo tipping rates

But as a rule of thumb, a 15-20% tip is usually a good place to start. So, if you spent a total of $200 on a tattoo, tipping anywhere from $30 to $40 shows your artist that you appreciate their handiwork.

Should I bring anything to a tattoo appointment? ›

Eat and Bring Snacks

By doing so, you will avoid getting light-headed and you won't run the risk of passing out from exhaustion. If you show up hungry your artist will ask you to take more breaks to make sure your body is handling the session appropriately. We also recommend bringing snacks to your appointments.

How to tell a good tattoo artist from a bad one? ›

One of the most important things to look for in a good tattoo artist is technique. A bad artist will simply scribble their design onto your skin with little regard for clean lines or symmetry. A good artist, on the other hand, will take their time to create a precise and beautifully executed design.

How to tell if a tattoo shop is clean? ›

All of the needles and tubes should be medical-grade and disposable. Everything should be individually packaged and sterilized. The ink caps, where artists hold the ink, should also be single-use disposable and fresh each time. If the shop has tools that are multiple use then an autoclave is absolutely necessary.

How do you know if your tattoo artist is flirting with you? ›

Red flags to watch out for
  • Inappropriate jokes and topics that are overtly sexual or flirty are a red flag for sure.
  • Unprofessional methods of contact, ie. ...
  • Asking you to come after the studio has closed.
  • Asking for nude/partially nude images when booking in. ...
  • Overly personal conversation.
Jun 9, 2022

What is the first rule of tattoo? ›

The number one rule of getting a tattoo is to sit still. If you move, the tattoo will be blurry, and the artist will not be happy. You can do a few things to stay still during your tattoo. First, take a deep breath and try to relax.

What not to do at a tattoo parlor? ›

4 Things to Avoid Doing in a Tattoo Shop to Ensure That You Have the Best Experience Possible
  1. Inviting Your Friends During Your Session. Most people assume that this request/requirement is made to avoid irritating the tattoo artist. ...
  2. Calling, Zooming, FaceTiming. This carries over from the above. ...
  3. Not Speaking Up. ...
  4. Worrying.
May 16, 2024

What not to do during a tattoo session? ›

  • Don't consume alcohol or drugs. Avoid consuming alcohol or drugs before your tattoo appointment, as they can thin your blood and increase bleeding during the process.
  • Don't bring a large group. ...
  • Don't micromanage. ...
  • Avoid excessive movement.
Jun 19, 2023

What irritates tattoos? ›

Contact dermatitis from tattooing may also occur from irritants your skin touches after getting new ink. For example, skin tends to get irritated when clothing, bandages, or other objects rub against it. It's also possible to develop contact dermatitis on top of a healed tattoo if your skin touches irritants.

What professions reject tattoos? ›

Workplaces Tattoo Policies
  • Military.
  • Airlines.
  • Medical Professionals.
  • Actors.
  • Teachers/Educators.
  • Law Enforcement.
  • Corporate.
  • Legal.

Is it rude to ask a tattoo artist their rate? ›

It's better not to negotiate tattoo prices because tattoo artists mostly have a set price range that they charge for their work, and it's fixed according to their skills, and I recommend you respect that.

What are the cons of being a tattoo artist? ›

Here are some challenges that you may face when working as a tattoo artist:
  • Tattoo artists often work independently. ...
  • Evening and weekend work hours. ...
  • Tattooing requires close attention to detail. ...
  • Follow strict safety protocols. ...
  • High amount of competition in tattooing.
Jan 26, 2023

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