As you may or may not know I’m a tattooed photographer, in fact I have a full sleeve, it’s taken time, money, tolerance to pain and I can only describe as close as labour pain! with my art work I drew, I researched, I looked at every aspect I could to not only get the right artist for me, but something I’d love forever.  I was once asked by a person “what if you get married, you can’t show that off” well, I think I can, and I think I’d do it with the most heartfelt pride.

The Tattoo & The Bride

Tattoo done by phil pescod at Ace Tattoo’s, Sunderland,



So how about a little history on tattoo’s?? I pinched this from the internet….

Tattooing in Great Britain

It was thought that many of the Anglo-Saxon kings of England were tattooed, but much of this was conjecture. Reliable reports of tattooing date from the period of increased contact with non-European cultures.

Sir Martin Frobisher (1535–1595) on May 31, 1577 set out on his second voyage from Harwich, England with 3 ships and about 120 men to find a north-west passage to China and the promise of gold ore. Frobisher took prisoner a native Inuit man and a woman with a child, upon his return to England the woman having tattoos on her chin and forehead was a great attraction at the court of Elizabeth I. All three died within a month.

In 1691 William Dampier brought to London a native of the western part of New Guinea (now part of Indonesia) who had a tattooed body and became known as the “Painted Prince”.

Between 1766 and 1779, Captain James Cook made three voyages to the South Pacific, the last trip ending with Cook’s death in Hawaii in February 1779. When Cook and his men returned home to Europe from their voyages to Polynesia, they told tales of the ‘tattooed savages’ they had seen. The word “tattoo” itself comes from the Tahitian tatau, and was introduced into the English language by Cook’s expedition.

It was in Tahiti aboard the Endeavour, in July 1769, that Cook first noted his observations about the indigenous body modification and is the first recorded use of the word tattoo. In the Ship’s log book recorded this entry: “Both sexes paint their Body, tattoo, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inlaying the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible.” Cook went on to write, “This method of tattooing I shall now describe…As this is a painful operation, especially the Tattooing of their Buttocks, it is performed but once in their Lifetimes.”

Cook’s Science Officer and Expedition Botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, returned to England with a tattoo. Banks was a highly regarded member of the English aristocracy and had acquired his position with Cook by putting up what was at the time the princely sum of ten thousand pounds in the expedition. In turn, Cook brought back with him a tattooed Raiatean man, Omai, whom he presented to King George and the English Court. Many of Cook’s men, ordinary seamen and sailors, came back with tattoos, a tradition that would soon become associated with men of the sea in the public’s mind and the press of the day.  In the process sailors and seamen re-introduced the practice of tattooing in Europe and it spread rapidly to seaports around the globe.

By the 19th century tattooing had spread to British society but was still largely associated with sailors and the lower or even criminal class. Tattooing had however been practised in an amateur way by public schoolboys from at least the 1840s and by the 1870s had become fashionable among some members of the upper classes, including royalty. In its upmarket form it could be a lengthy, expensive and sometimes painful process.

Tattooing spread among the upper classes all over Europe in the 19th century, but particularly in Britain where it was estimated in Harmsworth Magazine in 1898 that as many as one in five members of the gentry were tattooed. Taking their lead from the British Court, where Edward VII followed George V’s lead in getting tattooed; King Frederick IX of Denmark, the King of Romania, Kaiser Wilhelm II, King Alexander of Yugoslavia and even Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, all sported tattoos, many of them elaborate and ornate renditions of the Royal Coat of Arms or the Royal Family Crest. King Alfonso XIII of modern Spain also had a tattoo.

The Tattoo & The Bride

Mrs. M. Stevens Wagner, one of the earliest Tattooed Ladies that performed in the circus sideshows as a “freak”, 1907

 A marked class division on the acceptability of the practice continued for some time in Britain, with the upper and lower classes finding it attractive and the broader middle classes rejecting it. Since the 1970s tattoos have become more socially acceptable, and fashionable among celebrities. Tattoos are less prominent on figures of authority, and the practice of tattooing by the elderly is still considered remarkable.

The Tattoo & The Bride

Tattooed bride Sally

Tattoos and Wedding Photography

So you may think as a photographer, it’s not the best of ideas to have tattoo’s or have them even on show? Well that’s not the case at all, in fact this is the one of the things my brides love about me, people stop me in the street and tell me they love them! my Brides, well they love the fact I get them, I understand them, we have that connection, some we connected because I’m a mother, some it’s our love of life, but a lot of them meet me and see the tattoos as a sign I’m not judgemental, I’m open, I’m free minded and I’m accepting of all walks of life.

The Tattoo & The Bride

Tattooed bride Amanda


Tattoos – The brides perspective

I spoke to one of my amazing brides on how it felt being a tattooed bride, to stand proud of your body art?

This is Sarah Walkers wise words:
As quite a heavily tattooed women, I was somewhat nervous about having all of my work on show. Not because I’m a shy or blushing bride. Quite the opposite, but rather because of what my guests may think.
I love my artwork. Each and every piece holds a memory to me or as I like to say about the tattoos I have for my children, that I ‘wear my heart on my sleeve’. My tattoos are not offensive, they’re not ugly and nor are they derogatory in any way. My tattoos are me, which is what I wanted to show on my wedding day. However, I was all too aware of how some viewed tattoos. The ‘some’ being my older relatives and even my father. They are still very much of the mindset that tattoos look ‘rough’ and aren’t ‘ladylike’. Hence my nerves.
Regardless, I showed off my tattoos in a staples dress. I had my Nan’s tell me I should have worn sleeves, and ‘ah Sarah look at those tattoos’, with the Nana disapproving look. But I didn’t let that bother me. I felt beautiful. Wearing a dress was a big thing for me, I’m more of a tomboy you see. But on my wedding day I felt feminine yet still like myself, because of my tattoos.
My photographer is also quite a heavily tattooed woman, and because so I didn’t feel uncomfortable. We have all seen the stuffy photographer taking whimsical pictures of the über feminine bride. But that’s not me, not at all, and thankfully that wasn’t my photographer either. She was tattooed, confident and spurred me on to be myself in my pics. All in all she helped me relax. Which as a bride is the most important thing.
So ultimately on my wedding day, I was me, myself and I. A tattooed women, mother and most of all confident bride.


Amanda’s lovely words,

When choosing a photographer my biggest concern was I just wanted amazing natural pictures that captured our special day.
I needed to feel comfortable with the photographer as I’m not a posing, pout stand to the side person and like to see pictures that show the moments emotion and happiness.
More importantly I have tattoos that I need to cover up during the day which saddens me. My ink is part of me and when I look in the mirror I don’t see them as extra as it’s just my skin.
I do however know it’s not everyone’s taste and constantly was asked if when renewing our vows would I cover them.
….Well I didn’t because it was our day and we only invited our closest friends and family who know it’s me.


The Tattoo & The Bride

Tattooed bride Sarah and her bridesmaid

If you have tattoo’s and you’re getting married? you can do one of two things, you can own it, be it, stand up and say this is me, this is who I am and I’m going to show it off.  Or you can choose to cover your tattoo with make up, the dress, gloves, or even have the photographer remove them on Photoshop, because that’s what feels right for you, the look you want. The choice is yours, it’s YOUR wedding.

In the case you do want to cover your tattoo (not every tattoo was done with care and thought, some may of had a fulfilled youth and a few mistakes)

The Tattoo & The Bride

I won Tattoo photographer of the year 2013

Covering up your tattoo

To cover a tattoo, you need a professional makeup artist. Please try and get a makeup artist who knows how to do this, I’ve seen so many bad cover ups, BUT if you can’t Tracey shall be giving me some good tips on this area to pass on to you, she is the owner of beautiful bride makeovers, a highly thought after makeup artist and in my opinion one of the best in the whole North East.

A very informative message from Tracey,

Ok so, you’re getting married. Congratulations. However, after trying on your dress you have decided that the blue bird on your shoulder or the love heart on your neck just doesn’t need to be seen by Granny and the mother in law. Ok so here’s what to do! Firstly you need to find a good camouflage cream. Something like veil cover cream, grimas camouflage cream, makeup forever, dermacolor etc. There are many on the market. Some will even send you samples to choose your colour. If it’s a small tattoo the sample might cover it! You will also need a sealing powder and some baby wipes preferably with alcohol in them. Once you have your products you are ready to begin.

Clean the area thoroughly with a baby wipe or toner. You need to remove all surface oil. Next take a latex sponge, foundation brush or your finger and pat the camouflage cream onto the tattoo. You will need to apply a good amount and work the cream into your skin. As it heats up it will blend better and give a more natural look. If you are using a few skin shades then it is best to start lighter and build up the colour. Don’t go too wide around your tattoo but do blend the ends well into your skin. Keep adding colour until you feel the tattoo is no longer visible. Now you need to seal it with a good powder. Loose powder is best. Face powder mixed with a little talc is good but you can buy camouflage sealing powders which would be best. If you have very freckled skin then you will need to add a few to the covered area. Use a very thin eye/lip liner brush and a brown eyeshadow the colour of your freckles. Randomly dot on varying size freckles. Stand back and take a look at your handy work! Make sure to practise this before the wedding and time yourself! You don’t want to be stressed and worrying about time. If this is all too much for you then ask your make up artist or an arty friend if they can help out. All qualified make up artists should have completed a remedial camouflage course as part of their training. Good luck and happy wedding day!


Also ask why you want it covered. Is it for photographs sake, or is it for the guests sake? or some other reason? your photographer can remove them too post edit, I know I have for brides in the past

The Tattoo & The Bride

Before and After, Tracy a tattooed bride


As a tattooed photographer, I love my Tattooed brides, we stand proud with an art form that has been around in great Briton since the Anglo-Saxon kings 🙂

The Tattoo & The Bride

Sally and Chris, both tattooed and proud

The Tattoo & The Bride

Awesome tattooed bride, Sonya

The Tattoo & The Bride

Sarah loving the game and having fun

The Tattoo & The Bride

fantastic couple Amanda and Jason

The Tattoo & The Bride

This was so much fun to do. Happy people attract happy people

The Tattoo & The Bride

south shields beach and Sonya my tattooed bride

The Tattoo & The Bride

sally a Newcastle tattooed bride