OK, so you are set on getting a tattoo. No one is talking you out of it. (Are you really sure you want to do this?) I have talked people out of getting ink, and I have taken people to get their first. My father got his first tattoo at 50. His second tattoo is coming up (he's turning 70). My dad and I are actually going in for matching tattoos. We are having a custom "sacred heart" design created for us. Like my dad, I hope you will listen to a few pieces of advice from a guy who has a lot of tattoos and 20 years of of living with them. Just 4 things...
I know you're dying to get that first tattoo. You think about it a lot. But now that you have made up your mind it's time to be patient. Wait. You can't go wrong waiting, but you things can go very wrong if you run into it. Take your time. Figure out what you want. As you begin to figure out what you want consider the various styles of tattoos that will best suit your concept: American traditional, traditional Japanese, portrait, Celtic, typographic, biomechanical, black and gray, etc. Once you have a direction in mind, you still have more waiting to do. But the next step is seeking out the right tattooer.
There are a lot of tattooers today, and a lot of them are terrible. Don't simply find the nearest tattoo parlor and show up with money in hand. You want to find the right artist, one who is gifted in the style you are interested in. Check their portfolios and look through their work carefully. If you like what you see schedule a consultation to discuss your desired tattoo. You may need to visit with a few different artists until you find the right fit.
Once you have found your tattooer be sure to heed their advice. They want to create something you will love, but they also know what works, and what will not. You might want something very small that simply will not work on skin. If you found a good artist, they know what they're talking about. Listen up.
Tattoos can be spendy. But you should you also need to factor in a tip. Most tattoers in a shop will not keep all the money they charge for their work. They share significant percentage with the shop, so come ready to tip (20% if a good place to start). If you like the work, bless your artist!