I have a friend who is a computer professional, a dad and all-around average-seeming guy. Unless you really know him, you won't be aware of the fact that his entire torso is tattooed solid. He loves his ink but he's never felt like his tattoos were something to show off and he's wanted to keep them private. He feels it's better for his job, his daughter and his life in general if this is just something he keeps out of the public eye. It's an attitude that he shares with others who have the urge to get inked.
Now that tattooing has gone from taboo to trendy, most people don't hide their ink. Chances are most people you know who got a new tattoo spent most of the first forty-eight hours running around, pulling back clothing and making sure that every family member, friend and stranger they came across got a glimpse. But that's not always the case.
People keep their tattoos low-profile for work, because family don't approve, because of religious beliefs and for an untold number of personal reasons primary of which is they just feel their tattoo is purely personal. Here are some recommendations for if you would like to get tattooed but would prefer to keep that development to yourself.
A standard for making tattooing less noticeable is "above the elbows and knees." This is what my friend with the near-bodysuit does. He can go to a school sports event or summer barbecue in shorts and a t-shirt and no one will see anything. If you are really concerned, skip the arms altogether, they are one of the most-often revealed parts of the body when you consider modern clothing.
Watch your necklines. If you like to wear v-neck shirts, things that unbutton a bit or robes that wrap and tie, you'll want to take a cue from Japanese-style tattooing and leave a wide swatch open down the center of your sternum.
Spots that are more out-of-the-way are the inside of the thighs and inside of the upper arms or along the ribs. The lower back can be more private but only if you don't wear low-cut pants and make sure you wear shirts that stay tucked-in all the time. One thing to remember about hidden tattoo areas: they tend to be more painful to tattoo.
If you need your tattooing to be stealth, making the design smaller and using simple coloring will both make the design more subtle. A few people have used white tattooing to this effect as it can be very hard to see on some skin tones. The catch with that is that it can also fade so much over time that the tattoo actually disappears. Talk with your tattooist and remember, if you really don't want it to be seen, the best way to achieve that effect is to just not get tattooed in the first place.