• http://www.javiphotography.com Javi

    Great tips and ideas! Thanks for the wonderful insight!

  • http://www.suomenjuhlakuvauspalvelu.fi/ Niko Paulanne

    Thank you Gavin for great tips! I was just looking for tips for pens to sign canvas-prints. If you have any tips which pens also to avoid for canvas signing, it would be much appreciated!

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Thanks Niko. I did add a bit more to the pens paragraph, giving a few more details on the why and how.

  • http://stacey@staceydebono.com Stacey Debono

    Great info! I have had some issues with the spattering with some of the metallic pens, so thank you for this great advice! Gotta try the pens you are using…. :)) Thanks again!!

  • http://www.leftshoephotography.com Charlie

    Hi Gavin,
    I really enjoyed the article! I, like most photographers, always brand my electronic images on the web, but in the past have been resistant to branding client prints. Do you ever run into resistance from wedding or portrait clients with respect to your branding? I’d be interested to hear how you approach or prevent this if you do. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate the site.


    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      I have no trouble with it. As mentioned in the article, the only time it was an issue is when I overdid those client prints with that green logo (see example). As long as you keep it classy there should be no problem. Espexialy if you use real signatures on your better prints. That actually adds more value to most clients.

  • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

    I have only glanced over this so far and the comments are positive. I have a view on this subject and I go back and forth – probably like you do.

  • http://stock.hlehnerer.com Henrik

    Very interesting blog post. Very useful! Thank you for sharing!

  • http://nouvelleimages@smugmug.com Laurie

    Thanks for these tips. It really gives me something to think about as i plug along and try to learn all I can. I very much appreciate your experience here.
    Laurie Hemmer

  • patricia

    Hello Gavin,

    I would like to know where you get your “certificate of authenticity”?

    Thank you,


  • http://paintouchupsystem.weebly.com/ Jerry Svartel

    Let the debate commence!

  • http://www.markstahlphoto.com Mark Stahl

    Glad you posted this I am working on ideas for this next week. Thanks…. Great insights.

  • http://WWW.REDCHROMA.COM Shelly Stroud


    • Sonny Kresse

      Hi Shelly, I’m not sure if this will help but I have paintshop pro and I can take an image or signature and crop it and use the background eraser tool to erase the background and save it as a psp.image to be used at anytime I choose. I can then take it and bring it into whatever image I choose and place anywhere I choose and size it any size that looks good to me. Once it’s placed as the proper layer, in your case the top layer, it can be saved along with the picture……make sure you save your cropped image (copy) as a layer in a separate file for future use anytime you need it. Good Luck!!!

  • Temira H

    I came across your page just looking for the right kind of pen to sign photo’s on canvas but you have so much more info that is really helpful. Thank you for having it out there!!!!! I have a question about who should sign an image. I am thinking about selling photos on canvas (as artwork) that my dad took in the 60’s. He is still alive but has alzheimers and a shaky hand – should I try and have him sign the pictures or should I somehow sign for him, maybe using my name, I’m just not sure and this is all very new to me. Thanks for any advise you may have!!!!!

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Hey Temira thanks. Glad you got something from it. As to your dads prints. Unless he can sign it I’d say no signature. In my mind a signature is not suitable unless it’s the real deal. You could also make digital signature from a previous document (not sold as a real signature of course). Or just use a printed name.

  • http://www.adrielheisey.com Adriel Heisey

    Excellent presentation, Gavin–thanks for sharing your thoughts, experience, and evolution. Only one question comes up for me that wasn’t really addressed, and I’m curious as to your thoughts on this…

    What if the signature cannot be fully deciphered, and the name is uncommon (like mine)? I agree that a beautiful signature is the best overall solution, but in practice it’s not very useful if the name cannot be read, no?

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Good point Adriel. That can be a problem. I would submit that people think about the design of their signature carefully. I like mine to look good, but I also consider readability valid because unless you’re very well known people will not know what it means. For those with less than readable signature I would suggest a refinement of how they sign their name.


  • http://www.livingshastaphotography.com Karrie Ann Snure

    Loved all the info! We think alike and you are thankfully a few years ahead of me lol. Love that you saved me traveling down a few paths :) K

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Thanks Karrie. Glad you found it useful.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/alyzenmoonshadow AlyZen Moonshadow

    Hi Gavin, I read your article on signing with great interest, and agree with all you say, and I thank you for saying it so loudly and eloquently! I am an iPhoneographer/iPhone Artist, and I believe that, as this is a new and evolving artistic media, the jury’s still out as to whether iPhoneography images should bear the signature or watermark of the artist. I think no one quite knows whether iPhoneography falls under Photography or Art. Traditionally, photos were signed on the mounting mat, or behind the photo; however, it’s not always practical or aesthetically pleasing to create a white border around a digital image just for a signature, and you can’t really turn over a digital photo to sign it. Traditionally, artists would place their signature at the bottom of their artwork. Either way, signatures were a way of identifying the creator of a piece of work.

    I personally believe in signing my images, to protect myself, and to enable buyers and viewers to know who created the image. My signature consists of simply the copyright sign, my name and the year the image was created, in various degrees of opacity and brightness, in black or white, placed unobstrusively on the bottom right or left of my image. I use the App “Impression” for this.

    Last year, I had my iPhone Art in a group exhibition in the USA, however, 3 days into the exhibition I received an e-mail from the studio requesting that I remove my signature from my images, as “the other artists have not signed their work”. I declined to do so, and my work was removed from the exhibition. This year, I have more images accepted in another exhibition, this time in LA, however, the same issue has cropped up again. This time, I was told that buyers “generally do not want to buy prints with signatures on them”. Again, I have declined to remove my signature from my images, and am waiting to see if they’re pulled from the exhibition.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts about the above, many thanks!

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      AlyZen, I have to say that to me there’s really no iPhoneographer category. You make images or you don’t The camera you use has little to do with it. To me the term iPhoneagraphy is just another title that will go away as will exhibitions specific to it. It would be like saying your a Canonographer or a Nikongrapher. It does not matter. What matters is what you’re making and how it’s presented.

      It should also be noted that a watermark with your name, date copyright etc on it is not a signature. It’s a mark. That’s fine for web or proofs, but has little place in a fine art print. I agree with the gallery in that people don’t want to by art that has such distractions. A print should either hand signed, initialed or is the case of a lower end print perhaps an the artists actual signature done digitally as I showed above. All my original prints are hand signed or initialed. Never labeled with copyright marks or logos expect in some of the past failures mentioned above.

      I would submit that regardless of what you use to photograph that you make a cohesive plan for when and where you will sigh your images. Not with marks, but with an actual signature.


  • http://www.tompayerphotography.com Tom Payer

    What about prints that are sold through your website where you never actually handle any of the processing? Should you put a digital signature on all of your uploaded photos? This doesn’t give the person buying the photo an option to have a print signed or not. I recently sold 22 of my photos to be displayed in a new surgery wing, and they didn’t want the prints signed but they did let me leave a photographers bios permanently on the wall near the prints along with business cards.

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Tom if you’re selling thru a print farm type of site it leaves few options. Some might let you have a classy signature on the file, but others may not. I control all my prints.

      To me these type of print and ship kind of sites are like posters. They are not selling your work as an artists so much as like a stock agency. That won’t build your art brand.

      There’s no way I would let a place like this print and ship my images as art. If I sell a fine art piece I control it. Period. That’s part of the value in my product. It’s not a photo farm. It’s a print I’ve inspected and signed. If someone is just taking your files, selling volume prints and giving you a commission, their essentially selling throw aways. Few will even think about who made the image and it won’t even have your name on it.

      Unless someone is paying top dollor for commercial use, my name being on the image is not optional.

      It’s a personal choice. What kind of value do you want to place on your work? You have to decide.


  • http://catnip009.wix.com/home Linda D.

    I believe it is important to have some identification on a photo, just like a painting. What I have been wondering about is the size of the signature compared to the photo itself. Is there an accepted formula? I type, for example, (c) 2012 Name-Name (maiden name-married name) in the lower right hand corner in a color that blends in, but is just different enough to be readable if you look closely. Sometimes I fade the font. But what size font should I use? 12 looks really tiny, but it could be found with a magnifying glass. If the photo is enlarged, the signature becomes enlarged, too, so on a very large print it could be read. I was using size 40 font, and it is readable without magnification, but I wonder if that is objectionable to a buyer? I could use initials, but no one could ever research who I am. It’s hard to write very small, and I have experimented with fonts that looks like writing, but it’s harder to read. Would you ever remove a signature on a photo to please a client?

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Hey Linda. I have never had to remove a signature because my signature is pleasing. That’s my theory in planning it. Does it feel like art of like clutter? What’s on my prints is an actual signature (whether digitally or hand applied). It looks like it belongs and can also identify me.

      I would not print name and date to a print. That might be fine for web use, but its far too much information in my opinion. It’s not a signature is a caption. If I paid good money for a print I would not expect it to have a caption. If you check the examples here you can get an idea of what I do. I have never had anyone complain about my signature on a print. In fact I tout it as a value add that my wall prints are hand signed.

      Good luck… Gav

  • Nicole

    Thanks very much for theses tips. I will be visiting your various sites. I have tried many of the things you mention, especially finding the right location, size, color for logo and signature… I finally gave in to typing my name. I am torn between using my full name and a nickname, as part of a logo. I tried a logo and it is too distracting! I am interested in trying Lightroom. I’m glad I did not truly waste my time, it is part of the process!

  • Nicole

    I have tried to create a digital “stamp” with photoshop so I could apply it to many pictures as one would a signature, never had much luck. I am self taught on everything, but I want to take classes. I have several 8×10 printed already and plan to get a great pen to sign those. I have a cannon printer that can do up to 11×17. Anything extraordinary calls for ordering from a printing company or photo dept in a store it seems. Thx!

  • Marie Pelletier

    Thank you for writing this for this wonderful article. I am just starting out.. I need help in signing my images.

    Marie Pelletier

    • http://www.prophotoshow.net Gavin Seim

      Good, luck. Always time take the time to plan and prepare what you want to sell. It will raise your work to new levels.


  • tj

    where can you create these logos and how do you put them on your photos, cannot figure it out at all

    • Donna J Bauer

      me either and i have been trying to figure it out for a couple of years too

      • Arnot Schmitt

        i know reply is a little late, but most of the logos are probably produced in Photoshop. Adding them into the picture is just a simple matter of layering one image over another and saving it as a separate file.

  • Michael Long

    Thank you for the article…….. has a lot of great information…… Thank you again,

  • rajendra ks

    Download the app Add watermark free from playstore.

  • http://www.1Latham.com/ Dennis C Latham

    AWESOME … and very informative …..

  • Maureen Stafford Boyd

    What is it called when an artists makes a unique picture (usually like the print) along with his signature?

  • Leslie

    can i ask y’all something

  • Leslie

    i have matted photos that i need to sign where do i sign them at ?