Anyone who’s spent valuable work time surfing the web for “world’s worst tattoos” knows the majority of which are portraits of the person’s loved-one gone wrong. Capturing the essence of a person is difficult in the easiest of mediums, but with ink and skin, sometimes the devastating truth is that that beloved grandmother, child, or pet ends up looking like a zombie—and not in a good way! Unless you want to be on that list, make sure you call us at H&H Orlando for your next portrait tattoo!

H&H’s artist extraordinaire Isaac Bills uses his skills in illustrative realism to make his tattoo portraits as true to life as possible.

In pre-tattoo consultations, he asks customers who want a portrait tattoo to bring in as many photos of the person as possible, especially close-ups. The goal is to choose a photo that encompasses the person’s personality while providing enough light and shadow to work with. The best photos to bring are larger snap shots that use diffused light, such as natural light from a window. Or, if it’s available, an actual portrait that the person really likes.

Sometimes that perfect photograph is difficult to find. Oftentimes portrait photos are taken indoors using a flash, which tends to wash out the person and makes it difficult to get a good sense of the contours and features of his or her face. It’s especially challenging when the portrait is to be of someone who has passed away as this limits the number of photos to choose from.

Once the photo is agreed upon, a stencil is made and the final image is given to the customer for approval. Then, the fun begins!

Isaac works in both black/gray and color and says both types of portraits turn out really beautiful. While he doesn’t have any portrait tattoos himself yet, he has visions of his two young daughters dancing on his skin. The toughest thing, he says, is choosing the right photo – he keeps finding new favorites!

Believe it or not, pet commemorative portrait tattoos are just as popular as people. Isaac has also inked plenty of horror movie characters. Some of his first ever color portraits were of zombies – the good kind!

So, it seems that as long as people continue to want to honor their friends, relatives, pets, and favorite characters, portrait tattoos will be popular. Just be sure to see one of our talented artists to ensure your new tattoo doesn’t show up on the wrong kind of Top 10 list.