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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 

member since: 11/21/2006

Signing a Photograph?

Are photographic artists supposed to sign their work when selling? For example, the same way painters sign their paintings, etc.? Thanks!

11/21/2006 4:38:42 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/17/2003
  That depends. If you are a "name" photographer with a proven reputation, your signature will add value and collectability to the piece (especially after you have passed on to that great darkroom in the sky). ;(
On all of the prints I have sold, I've placed a small label/sticker with my name and contact information on the BACK of the print so, it doesn't compromise the photo's integrity. Sometimes a client may ask you to sign a print. If that happens, go ahead and do it.

11/21/2006 5:20:05 PM


member since: 11/21/2006
  Thanks so much for answering my question.
I appreciate it.

11/21/2006 5:46:11 PM

Lisa E. Sheffield
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2004
  That is a great question. When a photographer signs the portrait, should it actually be signed with a special pen or type added in Photoshop?

11/28/2006 8:14:47 AM

Fritz Roberson

member since: 3/17/2006
  I was curious about what type of pen should be used if you were to sign the print. I assume ballpoint would dent the print and be a distraction. I had a couple of pieces in a gallery and I hadn't signed them (front or back), it seemed a little pretentious since I'm a rookie.

11/28/2006 8:47:34 AM

Burt Crapo

member since: 9/26/2003
  As a "struggling" photographer, who is also active duty Navy, I prefer to sign my work. I don't have the opportunity to pursue the craft full time so I have to maximize the exposure I can get. I do not title my work. I sign my name in #2 pencil to the lower right of the image. I came to this conclusion after being stationed in Monterey, CA and getting to know a few of the pro's there. Their recommendation was to sign the piece. I also place a label on the back of the mount with the title and my signature in ink (I use a Sharpie extra fine point for that). Hope this helps.

Burt Crapo

11/29/2006 12:19:37 PM

Allen Pearson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/19/2006
  As another "struggling" photographer, I'm wondering what type of pen is good to sign photos too. Right now, I have my photos developed at a camera store as I don't have the equipment yet to develop at home. I've had a few requests to sign photos but have hesitated because I did not want to ruin the photo. I've thought about using "Sharpies". I have the photos developed in a "matte" finish. I don't have photoshop yet either. Thanks.

12/5/2006 2:41:36 AM


member since: 9/25/2006
  If you consider yourself a photographic 'artist', please go ahead and sign your photos.

I don't presume to be a photographic 'artist'. And 99% that do, aren't, imo.

After 45 years of experience I am still aiming to become a photographic 'craftsman'. Or perhaps 'artisan'.

The photographic 'artist' status is achieved by maybe 2/3 dozen photographers per century. Tops.

To call oneSELF a photographic 'artist' is therefore rather presumptious. A joke. OTHERS can possibly make that judgment, and hang that moniker on someone.

12/5/2006 5:25:30 AM

David N. Docherty

member since: 5/4/2006
  I consider myself an artist and am proud to sign my work, even though I am not a PROfessional photographer. I use a gold marker which leaves a deposit on top of the print and would not consider selling or presenting a photo without my mark. Take pride in what you do...

12/9/2006 11:10:10 AM


member since: 9/25/2006
  ...but don't over-estimate yourself. Most people don't appreciate braggers (the current occupant of the White House is a case in point!). Humility is a more endearing human trait.

12/10/2006 10:46:05 AM

Lisa E. Sheffield
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2004
  I like the idea of putting a label on the back of the photo for clients.As well, I like to give family and friends photos as gifts and I think it is special to sign it for future family members to have. It would be extremely special to me if I had a photo taken from a parent or grandparent with their signature on it. It represents family history and artistic skills. When I sketched as a teenager, I would put my signature and the date on it and it will be fun to show my son this. So for those that sign their photo, could you tell us exactly what kind of pen you use so we can purchase one!

1/3/2007 11:16:14 AM

Kay Beausoleil
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Kay
Kay's Gallery

member since: 5/31/2004
  I print mine with a slightly larger white margin at the bottom, and sign on that margin at the right with a gray metallic ballpoint pen. (Tried black, and to me, it looks overly intrusive.) I'll use pencil on the rare papers that allow it.

1/3/2007 3:07:08 PM

Jill Odice
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Jill
Jill's Gallery

member since: 7/1/2005
  I always sign the mat I use for my prints. I use a gel pen using black on my ivory mats, and gold on my black mats. I also stamp the back of the mat with my copyright stamp that has my name, website address and phone number.

2/24/2008 2:51:32 PM


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