Getting your first tattoo is a big deal. Whether you’ve thought about it long and hard, are getting one on a whim, or have debated the idea of getting inked for years; getting a tattoo is a permanent decision, one that’s hard to go back on. Follow these 10 tips to make sure your first tattoo experience is one you’ll never forget—for all the right reasons.

1. Be inspired.

It’s best to have a rough idea of what you want your tattoo to look like before you step foot in a tattoo shop. Research tattoo designs ahead of time and come with plenty of reference materials for your artist to use as inspiration. This can include real-life photos if you want a portrait tattoo. The tattoo artists at Hart & Huntington Orlando will use what you bring to create a custom tattoo just as you envisioned it (or better).

2. Choose the best artist.

Don’t let just anyone give you your first tattoo. Do your research and choose a trusted shop known for its talented tattoo artists, high standards of sterilization, and an atmosphere where you’ll feel comfortable throughout the whole process—like Hart & Huntington Orlando. We have the best tattoo artists in Orlando who are experts at a range of tattoo styles. Most importantly, they’re true professionals who can design and apply a tattoo that looks incredible and ages well.

3. Don’t rush the process.

You’ve drummed up the courage to get your first tattoo. Way to go! You might be anxious to get the ball rolling, but don’t give into your nerves or impatience. Take all the time you need with your tattoo artist to land on a design you love before they put needle to skin.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

A good tattoo artist will have no trouble pausing to address any questions or concerns you may have before, during and after the tattoo process. At Hart & Huntington Orlando, we’ll walk you through the entire tattoo process ahead of time so you know what to expect from the get-go.

5. Consider placement.

Choosing a place on your body isn’t just about whether you want your tattoo to be visible. Size and placement are important if you want your tattoo to age well. Trust your artist to help you find the best place on your body for the tattoo you have in mind so that it won’t distort or stretch with time.

6. Don’t be too thrifty.

You get what you pay for. Don’t choose a tattoo shop promising the lowest price for the tattoo you want. You’ll pay for it later. Set up a consultation at Hart & Huntington Orlando and we’ll give you a fair quote for the tattoo you want, and work within your budget to bring it to life without breaking the back. When you choose us, you’re not just paying for a tattoo; you’re also investing in expert advice, quality artistry and friendly, professional service.

7. Come as your best self.

Don’t show up to your tattoo appointment drunk or impaired. It’s always a bad idea, whether it’s your first tattoo or your 15th. Arrive fully hydrated with a full stomach and clear head.

8. Make yourself comfortable.

Wear clothes that will allow easy access to the part of your body you want tattooed. For example: if you’re getting a leg tattoo, don’t wear skinny jeans. If you’re getting a big tattoo, wear something you’ll be comfortable in for a few hours.

9. Take good care.

Tattoo aftercare is something you should take seriously. We sure do. Healing your tattoo is just as important as the process of getting it. If you want to reduce your risk of infection, follow the aftercare instructions your tattoo artist provides. No sun-tanning, dirt biking, hot-tubbing or swimming for a few days. At Hart & Huntington, we’ll make sure you go home with the know- how and best aftercare products to ensure your tattoo heals quickly and smoothly.

10. Relax!

Your first tattoo experience should be a great one! Enjoy the process, strike up a conversation with your Hart & Huntington Orlando tattoo artist, and come home with both a story to tell and a new tattoo you’ll be proud to show off.

For more information about what to expect and how to prepare for your first tattoo, visit our H&H Orlando Tattoo Pre-visit Preparations page or give us a call to set up an appointment!