We know getting a tattoo is a big decision.

Tattoos are permanent and most likely with you for the rest of your life. (Unless you spring for costly tattoo removal, of course.)

First-timers often ask us about sanitation practices, costs, and pain, so we thought we’d jot our answers down in an article. If you have questions or concerns about getting a tattoo, we’ve got answers. Here are some of our most common tattoo tips for beginners.

  • How do I find a clean tattoo shop near me? One of the most important steps before getting a tattoo is picking the right shop. Not only do you want a shop that can create the design you’re hoping for, you’ll want to make sure the shop has a license. A licensed tattoo shops means they follow their state’s regulations and health standards. Ask your artist if you can see their license so you know they’re legit and up to date. You can also make sure the shop is sanitary by observing whether the staff uses disposable gloves, sealed needles and sanitation machines. If you’re unsure which shop to go to, ask for recommendations from your friends and do your research by Googling “Tattoo shops near me” or “Best tattoo shops near me.”
  • Will the artist work with me on a design? Once you’ve settled on a shop, reach out and work with the artist on your tattoo design. There are some important do’s and don’ts when working with your tattoo artist. First, be very clear about your expectations, and bring in reference material to help your artist understand what you’re thinking. However, do not ask your artist to directly copy another artist’s work, and understand that your artist might bring their own style to your design. Getting a tattoo is a collaborative experience and communication is key.
  • How much does a tattoo cost? Tattoos typically aren’t cheap, and there’s a reason for that. Not only is the equipment expensive, but you’re paying for the skill and time of your artist. According to Fash, a freelancer marketplace, small tattoos cost anywhere from $50-$250 and large tattoos cost $150-$450. Large tattoos or tattoos done by high-end artists can run in the thousands of dollars. If you want a well-done tattoo, plan on spending good money for it—it’s so worth it though.
  • Does getting a tattoo hurt? The short answer is yes. Tattoo pain is real. You’re getting hundreds or thousands of needle pricks per minute in your skin. However, it all depends on your pain tolerance AND the area where you get your tattoo. There are areas of the body that hurt worse than others. Chest, face, wrists, elbows, ribcage, stomach, pelvis, knees, shins, and feet are the most sensitive areas because that is where your skin is thin and your nerves are closer to the surface. If worried about pain, pick a more meaty spot like your upper arms, thighs, hips, or upper back. Check out this helpful tattoo pain chart for reference. No pain, no gain, right?

If you’re ready to get your first tattoo (or your second or 20th), Empire Ink has got you covered. We’re considered Miami’s best tattoo shop for a reason: Our clients love our work. (50,000 clients served and counting.) For over 10 years, our imaginative, top-rated artists have helped customers bring their ideas to life, in a safe, clean, and welcoming studio.

 You have a story to tell, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.

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