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5 Tips for Picking the Ideal Tattoo Shop

The decision to get a tattoo (or another tattoo, if you’re already inked) is an exciting one for lots of reasons. Tattoos are popular ways to commemorate significant milestones, pay tribute to meaningful relationships, or tell other people something important about you at a glance. 

Naturally, it’s essential to put some thought into the design of the tattoo you’re getting, but it’s not the only big choice you’ll be making. Tattoos are like many important purchases in that you get what you pay for, so it’s essential to put some effort into choosing the right shop. Here are some tips for making an intelligent decision. 

Make sure you know what you want

Not all tattoo shops are created equally when it comes to specific designs. Keep in mind that tattoos are a form of art. Some fine artists will be better at line drawings or abstract imagery, while others might be absolute masters at photorealism. This is also the case for tattoo artists, so knowing precisely what you want done before you start evaluating your options is critical. Whether you’re looking for a portrait-style tattoo, a tribal-inspired design, or something more stylistic, seek out artists who specialize in that type of work.

Research your options

If you have tattooed friends whose ink you really admire, ask them who did the work and whether they were happy with the experience. Would they choose the same shop again if they decided to get more ink? Why or why not? The best recommendations often come from people you already know and trust. You can also search “tattoo shops near me” to get a read on how many shops are in your area. Finally, narrow down your options by reading plenty of online reviews from previous customers and noting which ones have the best reputations.

Visit the best options in person

Before you definitively settle on a particular shop, drop by in person first to see how things strike you. What’s the general vibe like there? Does it seem clean, sanitary, and like hygiene is a top priority? Are the people friendly and professional? Does the facility give you the impression the owners take pride in what they’re doing? What precautions do they take to make sure everything’s done safely? All in all, your shop of choice should make you feel at ease about getting inked there from the minute you walk in the door. If a particular place doesn’t, keep looking.

Schedule a separate consultation

Yes, it’s essential to like an artist’s work before you definitively settle on them. But it’s critical that you also like them as a person. After all, getting a tattoo isn’t strictly about the tattoo. It’s about the entire experience, including the interaction with the artist during the process. Making two appointments – an initial consultation and then a separate appointment for the actual work – is an excellent way to make sure the two of you click ahead of time. 

Take your time

A new tattoo represents a big, important decision. Your new ink is something that will be with you permanently, so it’s important not to rush the decision-making process. Take as much time as you need to make your final decision regarding the art you choose, the shop you pick, and the artist you ultimately decide to work with. Talk it over with a loved one and see what they think if you need a second opinion. Bring them with you to vet the shop and speak to the artists in person, as well. When you’ve got something to show off that you’re truly happy with, you’ll be glad you took the time.

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