Top 5 Tips for A Competitive Digital Piercing Portfolio | Painful Pleasures Community

Top 5 Tips for A Competitive Digital Piercing Portfolio

Build a piercing portfolio that rakes in clients. Here are your top 5 tips to making a competitive portfolio that stands out among the rest.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: October 11, 2023

Let’s face it—it’s tough making a competitive piercing portfolio. After all, there are so many piercers out there. Moreover, you might be wondering how you can stand out at all… a professionally done piercing, after all, looks identical across the board.  

But it’s very possible to build a competitive portfolio that makes clients flock to your shop. Your digital portfolio is in fact essential for raking in more clients and improving your image as a professional piercer.  

Whether you’re just starting your piercing career or you’re a veteran, it’s equally important to keep your portfolio glossy, eye-catching, and up-to-date.  

We’ve compiled the top 5 tips for creating a modern piercing portfolio that showcases your skills and makes you stand out among other piercers.


Trendy photo of woman with facial piercings and stretched ears

Don’t gag at the word trendsetter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh, young piercer from Gen Z or a seasoned Gen X-er who’s pierced more clients than you can count. In the world of piercing and fashion, trends are critical to your success. 

For starters, you can stay on top of emerging trends. And fortunately, that’s never been easier. Social media is constantly showing you fluctuating piercing trends… by the minute. Daunting, sure. But helpful. So, hop on TikTok or Instagram to search hashtags like piercing trends or popular piercings. Follow client-favorite piercers on these platforms, too, and see what piercings clients are lining up for nowadays.  

What do you do with this information, you may ask? Well, you can easily showcase these trending piercings on your Instagram portfolio so clients can see your work and get inspired. You can also showcase your wide variety of high-quality jewelry on your portfolio, so clients can see what styles are possible in their new trending piercing. And by the way, if you haven’t stocked up on high-quality jewelry in a while… make sure you’re staying on top of the latest styles.

Following Trends versus Trendsetting 

So staying on top of trends is one thing… but being a trendsetter is another. To that end, show all the work you do in your Instagram portfolio… not just the trendiest stuff. Because your unique work can become a trend—or at the very least a vibe.  

To make your work stand out and potentially become trendy, you can showcase your favorite styles of piercing. Or, if you haven’t already, consider creating curated ears, which have grown rampantly popular in recent years. Curated ear photos are a fantastic client magnet on an Instagram portfolio. Check out our blog on helping your clients build a custom-curated ear here. 


High-quality photo of a curated ear

There are countless piercers on Instagram… as you well know. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to spread your piercing portfolio to people in your area… and all around the world. 

So we highly recommend you invest in photo editing software to enhance the visual appeal of your portfolio. Quality photography and post-processing can make a world of difference in how your work is perceived. Tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop can help you perfect your images, ensuring that your piercings look as stunning online as they do in person. And you don’t need to be a design expert to use these tools to your advantage. Standard adjustments like cropping, exposure adjustments, white balance, and slight retouching all help to make your piercing photos stand out. But “stand out” is the key phrase here. We do NOT recommend overly doctoring your work so it looks nothing like the original shot. 

You should also consider how you’re taking these photos. Smartphones are often a reliable choice for snapping quality pictures, but you can make your shots even better with accouterments like a ring light or tripod. If you really want to step things up, you can also invest in a DSLR camera. 

Check out this video on snapping high-quality photos of your art with artist Kasey “Gonzo” Gonzalez. He’s talking about tattoo pictures in the video, but you can apply his tips to piercing photos, too. 


Montage of piercings for a competitive digital piercing portfolio

Your portfolio is more accessible and wide-reaching if it features a diverse range of clients. Piercing isn’t one-size-fits-all, and your portfolio should reflect this. Showcase piercings on various body types and skin tones, demonstrating your ability to perform quality piercings on any client. Celebrating diversity in your portfolio not only shows your inclusivity but also helps potential clients see what you can do for them. 

Contrarily, if your portfolio only showcases one particular “look,” it can instantly turn clients off. For instance, if a piercer specializes in belly button piercings but only showcases flat bellies with washboard abs, this sends an exclusionary message to clients everywhere. You want your work to appeal to and be accessible to everyone. 


Piercing procedure in process

While staying trendy and snapping quality pictures are important, it’s equally important to develop a signature style. Find your unique “voice” as a piercer. Whether it’s your precision, attention to detail, design elements, or even your personality… make the profession your own. You can also achieve this stand-out quality by branding yourself in your digital portfolio. If you use filters or presets, make sure you use them consistently. If you’re funny and charming, use that to your advantage in stories, TikTok posts, reels, and captions. If you’ve helped clients build their signature piercing look from the ground up, showcase before-and-after shots and highlight what makes the look so unique.   

As with anything, clients seek piercers who stand out. So don’t be afraid to infuse your personality and artistic flair into your portfolio. 


Collection of high-quality titanium body jewelry

Beyond showcasing your piercing skills, your digital portfolio can be a story-telling platform. A snapshot of a piercing is way more powerful if there’s a story behind it. Clients can even develop an emotional connection to your work… which sounds nuts, but it’s true. Essentially, heartfelt stories give your portfolio depth and let clients know what kind of amazing service they can expect. Consequently, your portfolio will instantly have more to offer than others out there. 

So, share the stories behind your clients’ piercings: maybe they have a lot of insecurities and you helped them feel more confident.  Maybe their piercing represents something bigger. Maybe they came to your shop on impulse and their piercing experience turned their whole day around.  

Or maybe there’s no story at all… but there might be a testimonial. Ask your client to give feedback on your work. You can film them for your Instagram story or TikTok (which counts as a moving portfolio nowadays). OR you can quote them in a caption. 


Odds are you likely already have a start on your portfolio. But you can use any of these tips to improve that digital portfolio and make it shine. 

But remember: while today’s digital age emphasizes the importance of a social media portfolio, that doesn’t mean a physical portfolio doesn’t matter. We highly recommend having a physical portfolio to showcase in your shop lobby. It’s a great way to attract new clients on-site who may be accompanying a friend who’s getting a piercing.  

You can also make your portfolio 3D with pierce-able body bits by A Pound of Flesh. That way, new on-site clients can see firsthand how your piercings look in an ear, on a tongue, or what have you. 

As always, feel free to give us a tag on Instagram @painfulpleasures. We love to see your work… and we can’t wait to see how you improve your digital portfolio. 

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