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Thread: Signing Photos

  1. #1
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Signing Photos

    Hi everyone -- Life has been impossibly busy for me in the last couple of weeks, but I'm going to try to pop in anyway. I have a question about signing photos in some way. My husband is after me to start signing photos I'm selling, but I've never seen a photo itself signed, and for some reason I have a real resistance to that -- I've seen the mat signed, but then if the purchaser changes the mat, the signature is gone.

    At my camera club last night, one of the members had a different solution -- he's of Chinese descent, and he has a "chop" -- a little square with a Chinese character in it -- in a lower corner of his photos. I thought that was kind of cool and wondered if I could do something similar, without outright copying him -- create a little logo or something like that that I could put in the corner of the photograph.

    Has anyone else ever seen or tried such a thing? I don't even have an idea of what it might look like, at this point, maybe something with my initials or . . . who knows what. Just wondering --
    Last edited by mythlady; 30th January 2011 at 02:29 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Signing Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Has anyone else ever seen or tried such a thing? I don't even have an idea of what it might look like, at this point, maybe something with my initials or . . . who knows what. Just wondering --
    My wife's grandmother gave us a print that was made in Paris in 1927, and it had a little windmill chop on it. If you google Louis Icart Windmill Chop, you can probably find an image of one.

    He signed his work on the border of the print on the lower right, and put his chop on the left, both off of the image itself, but on the paper that the print was made on.

  3. #3
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Thanks, that's neat -- it's kind of embossed into the paper. Very nice.

    So when people are saying sign the print, they're talking about on the border, not on the picture itself? (Maybe this is a big "duh" on my part . . . )
    Last edited by mythlady; 30th January 2011 at 02:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Ollokot's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Hi Elise,
    I was messing about the other day myself with putting a logo or type of watermark on to a photo. Using Elements 7 I open'd a new blank layer and typed in a watermark and reduced the opacity so as not to have it stand out to much. Oh I also picked a colour that was'ent to intrusive on the photo.
    Best Wishes Pat.

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Signing Photos

    Hi Elise,

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I think one has to be REALLY careful not to ruin the lead in lines to an image by having something that draws the eye away. Most watermarks totally ruin an image, in my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Re: Signing Photos

    I sign in a corner of the print, most of the time. I use one of several metalic ink pens I keep for that purpose. I pick a spot in a lower corner and an ink color which will be unobtrusive, yet not covered by a frame or matt.

    I figure that, if I am going to put out a signed (or, signed and numbered) print, the new owner will want to have the signature viewable, just as is common on paintings and drawings.

    Pops

  7. #7
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    This is the website of the guy in my camera club: Glenn Fidler. If you look at his Gallery, and then the Infrared photographs (they're really wonderful, I think), you can see his little red mark in the corner on some of them. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about, not a watermark kind of thing (which I always think of as obscuring the picture, though I guess you could put it in the corner).

  8. #8
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Elise, there is some pretty nice work in that link, thank you. However for me....the red mark is absolutely disruptive to the viewing of the IR photos. If I ever get to the point in which I feel the need to sign my photos, it will be likely on the border outside of the actual photo.

  9. #9
    Camellia's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Hi Elise

    We've recently bought some photos which have been signed by the photographer. We've got 2 by Tony Mott - an Australian music photographer who's featured in Rolling Stone. He had an exhibition and the print runs from the exhibition were limited to 20. He's signed the photos on the white border and numbered the editions. I plan to have them framed so his signature is visible.

    I like the idea of both a signature and a chop (? I haven't heard that term before. I'll look it up.)

    Cheers

    R

  10. #10
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Paul, so then would you mat it with the signature showing? Or have it obscured by the mat but there for future reference (and value, when your pics become as valuable as Ansel Adams' ?

  11. #11
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Elise, I am thinking I would sign all of them in the white border and the pictures where it did not work to have some white showing I may sign the matting. Though I would have to give this more consideration when I cross that bridge. There are som transpearent signatures that I have not found to be to disruptive and some done small enough that they are really hard to notice, but the red chop on the IR's stand out like a thumb smacked with a hammer.

  12. #12
    rob marshall

    Re: Signing Photos

    What is it with embellishments? Why do people feel the need to adorn their shots with water-marks and logos?

    Is it that the producer wants to add something to their work. But why? Does it not stand alone in it's own right? Is it the idea that a logo/watermark confers some kind of distinction or status just because it is there? How does it make the shot itself any better? To me it just seems to be another example of the faux artsy impedimenta that is too often attached to art works. I wish it would stop, but I know it's not going to.

    Would you like me to say something about music on photo websites? No, I guess not.

  13. #13

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    Re: Signing Photos

    "Would you like me to say something about music on photo websites? No, I guess not."


    I don't have a problem with a signature or chop, if your goal as a photographer is to become well known and to produce art that is of value to others. At this point it is presumed that you have achieved a consistent standard of quality in your work that your brand reflects. At that point it is seldom questioned. Where the idea goes wrong is when it is applied to obviously second rate work, where it appears that the whole purpose of it is to ape first rate work, or fine art, whatever that is. The only way a chop or signature enhances an image, in my humble opinion, is when it references a body of fine work also done by the same artist. I don't find a subtle signature or an embossed chop on the border a distraction in and of itself. What Icart did was to sign the print image at the border so that his signature was both on the border and the white space, then put his chop on the white space. This made it hard to matte the work without showing his subtle chop.

    http://www.icollector.com/Signed-LOU...ching_i8456746

    This is no solution for web imagery. If you are going to put a watermark in there, it is usually to devalue the image, so that if the person wants a clear image, they buy one from you, printed, singned and chopped.

    If it is for use in an article or the like, a photo credit is how it is done.

  14. #14

    Re: Signing Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    What is it with embellishments? Why do people feel the need to adorn their shots with water-marks and logos?

    Would you like me to say something about music on photo websites? No, I guess not.
    Ouch!

    Actually, I wish that I could have a music website - with my own work on it. Sorry, though, that has nothing to do with photography....

  15. #15

    Re: Signing Photos

    What is it with embellishments? Why do people feel the need to adorn their shots with water-marks and logos?
    A carryover from artists signing paintings or sculptors chipping a mark or signatures on porcelain. I know what you are getting at but you are right it will not go away.....very much human nature.

    Elsie, Personally I would not sign the actual photograph but a discrete signature and 1/100 or whatever on the matt will do no harm. try grey rather than black so that the marking is less obtrusive. Failing that most studios seem to have a franking stamp of sticker that they apply to the back of the photo.

  16. #16
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Katie, I don't think anyone would object to a music site that had . . . music . . . but I too find it very irritating to have to search around someone's site to turn music off, and then if I'm going back and forth, exploring their different pages, hearing the same music over and over, and having to turn it off, over and over.

    Rob, I think people feel the need to sign their work because it's common in the field of artistic endeavors -- you wouldn't expect to see a musical score without the composer's name on it; painters sign their paintings; sculptors leave a mark -- why should photographers be the only ones that don't claim the act of creation? No one objects to a discreet signature on a painting. Until very recently, with my smugmug site, I've never felt compelled to watermark my online work -- I've gotten more legitimate publications (just got one today, in a Venezuelan magazine) from just having my pictures out there on flickr than I have had them stolen, so I don't get the whole protection thing (my work is not that precious). But when someone pays money for it, I think they expect it to be signed -- as a matter of fact, I've had several people tell me to be sure to sign it for them.

    I know that signing the mat on the right (with the title on the left) is common -- I've done that. But if the owner remats the photograph, as I guess many will do, the signature is gone.

    BTW, at the camera club the other night, we viewed Glenn's photos on a very large-screen tv. I wasn't bothered at all by his identifying chop -- I saw it as a unique way of signing his photos, and it looked particularly good on the infrared ones, which have the feeling of etchings or something like that.

    I wonder about a chop or signature on the back?
    Last edited by mythlady; 30th January 2011 at 05:15 PM.

  17. #17

    Re: Signing Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Katie, I don't think anyone would object to a music site that had . . . music . . . but I too find it very irritating to have to search around someone's site to turn music off, and then if I'm going back and forth, exploring their different pages, hearing the same music over and over, and having to turn it off, over and over.
    Actually, I usually visit other blogs with my sound turned off for that same reason. It can be very distracting - especially when I'm trying to read their thoughts, too. That's why I rarely have music on my main blog and, then, it's in the actual post as an option for people to turn on. On the Photo Journal - I've debated about it. I hate soppiness but really want to share the music, too. If I were sure about having it there, then, lord knows, I'd have no fear of being stubborn and arguing the point.

  18. #18
    Suzanne's Avatar
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    Re: Signing Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Actually, I usually visit other blogs with my sound turned off for that same reason. It can be very distracting - especially when I'm trying to read their thoughts, too. That's why I rarely have music on my main blog and, then, it's in the actual post as an option for people to turn on. On the Photo Journal - I've debated about it. I hate soppiness but really want to share the music, too. If I were sure about having it there, then, lord knows, I'd have no fear of being stubborn and arguing the point.
    Katy, blogs are a form of personal expression. They are a personal journal that you've decided to share. So play on!
    Rob, stop being difficult.

    ""Rob, I think people feel the need to sign their work because it's common in the field of artistic endeavors -- you wouldn't expect to see a musical score without the composer's name on it; painters sign their paintings; sculptors leave a mark -- why should photographers be the only ones that don't claim the act of creation? No one objects to a discreet signature on a painting. Until very recently, with my smugmug site, I've never felt compelled to watermark my online work -- I've gotten more legitimate publications (just got one today, in a Venezuelan magazine) from just having my pictures out there on flickr than I have had them stolen, so I don't get the whole protection thing (my work is not that precious). But when someone pays money for it, I think they expect it to be signed -- as a matter of fact, I've had several people tell me to be sure to sign it for them.""

    Well said Elise. I think signatures are a way for the artist to tell others that they take themselves seriously. That they "own" their work, at what ever level it's at. I wouldn't dream of not signing my work.

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