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Thread: Signing Photos

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rotonda West, Florida, USA

    Signing Photos

    Hello, this is my first time on this site and I actually found it trying to figure out answers to a couple of questions. If anyone can enlighten me I would be grateful.

    First Question: I have a couple of photos I would like to sign. Can anyone tell me what type of pen you use for this?

    Second Question: How can you digitally sign a photograph?

    And the last is: How do you copy write a photo?


  2. #2
    DEviaNT Photographer DEvianT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Liverpool, UK

    Re: Signing Photos

    First Question: Signing the rebate or frame is perfectly acceptable. Pick a color any color. As long as it won't clash I don't really think what you sign with matters as long as it looks nice and doesn't fade.
    Second Question: You embed a water mark in the image or digitally encrypt your details into the image. Some info is on wiki here.
    Last Question: You are the copyright holder of the image the second you make it however in the states I think you can register images you take with the library of congress? Some information is in the Chase Jarvis blog.

    When it comes to digital watermarks though it does beg the question 'why bother?' if you don't want it pinched why put it on the web big enough to make anything like a respectable print? Are you really going to loose income for a few .jpg's on the web? Most of the very seriously famous photographers on the web don't let a few .jpg's becomming peoples desktop wallpaper or tiny pixelated prints bother them one iota.
    DEviaNT Photographer

    'Tough' meant it was an uncompromising image, something that came from your gut, out of instinct, raw, of the moment, something that couldn’t be described in any other way. So it was tough. Tough to like, tough to see, tough to make, tough to understand. The tougher they were the more beautiful they became.
    ~ Joel Meyerowitz

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rotonda West, Florida, USA

    Re: Signing Photos

    Thanks for your answers to my questions. Basically the first question regarding what to use to write on a print is because some pens which I've tried on 3x5 scrap photos don't write well. I thought there was something other than a fine point Sharpie I should use.

    I checked the links on the other questions. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Signing Photos

    For signing photos, we use a Sharpie.

    It's pretty much THE standard pen of stalkers, sorry autograph hunters, in motorsport.

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  5. #5
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Somewhere north of US 10 and east of Wausau, WI, USA

    Re: Signing Photos


    In the US, any creative work is automatically granted a copyright when it is put into a tangible form. That means written, recorded, or in the case of photographs, the second they are taken. That copyright can later be registered, but unless you're going to make a bundle off of the image, the benefits (being able to get punitive damages in a lawsuit) aren't really worth the cost of registration.
    Sean Massey
    Massey Photography

    Canon 20D
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    IT 4 Photography

  6. #6
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    SW MN

    Re: Signing Photos

    Considering the lack of responses, I'm going to revive this thread. I'm doing my first show next month, and I want to have my signature on my enlargements. I know some photographers use a pencil and sign the mat, and others use some type of pen to sign right on the print. Does anyone just copy and paste their signature on the actual print, so you don't have to sign each and every one? Also, do people just sign them or do they include their business name and year? How about something like this:

    Nature's Evidence Photography
    (signature) 2008
    Canon 30D X 2, Canon 100-400L, Thrift Fifty, Canon 18-55 IS 3rd generation lens plus 430 EX II flash and Better Beamer. :thumbsup:

  7. #7
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hillsboro, OR, USA

    Re: Signing Photos

    I do a little graphics work from time to time, and have invested in a Wacom tablet. So when I sign, I tend to do it right on the file itself. Even before I had the tablet, I simply signed a blank sheet of paper, photographed it, inverted it in Photoshop ( to get a white sig on a black background), and deleted the background.

    It worked great, and I'm a fan of the copy and paste thing because you can overlay the sig with any color, rotate, resize, reduce opacity, etc. You can make the sig as obvious or obscure as necessary.

    I sign most of my work, generally with a simple "(signature)'08", though you'd be hard pressed to find it on some of my prints. In one case I replaced a license plate's designation with JGU 508 (my initials, and an indication it was taken in May of this year.)

    It's become kind of a fun challenge for me to see if I can 'make my mark' and keep it readable yet obscure.

    - Joe U.
    I have no intention of tiptoeing through life only to arrive safely at death.

  8. #8
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Mineral Point, WI, USA

    Re: Signing Photos

    I sign all of my work the old fashion way, with a pen or pencil. All of the cards I make, I hand sign with a black pen. All of my enlargements I sell, I sign and number in the lower right corner with a pencil.

    As far as other info goes, my cards all have my website on them so if anyone need to contact me, they can get my contact info from there. As far as matted, or framed prints, I don't include any other info right now. When I first started selling stuff, I attached a business to the back or every print. I wasn't selling much so a few cards wasn't a big deal. Now that I have a much larger selection of prints for sale, it became too expensive to attach a card to each one.

    A woman at the local farmers market had stickers of her business card made at a local print shop. I may do the same thing with mine, then I could just stick them to the back of the matte. You could print your own if you wanted to.

    My website

    "I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view."
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