Signing (Or Back Label) Prints & Copyrighting

Hey All,

I am considering signing or putting a label on the back of my prints, or doing both. The label on the back would list my name, the title of the print and my site address. What do you think / recommend?

Also, do you strongly recommend copyrighting your images? Have some info / a link to get me started with this?

Appreciate it!

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!


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Hi Tom. I sign the front with a digital signature using a Wacom tablet. Some labs also have a back stamp where you can put artist info as well. I drop ship everything so this is the easiest and most cost effective way. Even if I did have physical inventory I would probably still sign digitally because I tend to mess up my signature a lot when signing things.

Copyrighting is a whole separate topic there and my quick answer is yes, copyright all of your work.

Hey Richard - Thanks for replying! I am going to look into the Wacom tablet. Not at all familiar with it. I do not drop ship. I use Fine Art America, and I am going to consider another venue at some point. They do not offer to put any info on prints, front or back. I was with Smugmug for a number of years and they had a back-stamp service. I love the idea of drop-shipping. However, can you tell me your process? I guess you go to a local lab or have a lab ship your completed prints, canvases, etc to you. You then ship to your customer. Is that it in a nutshell? Do you find the personal touch outweighs any added work/hassle?

I am already looking into the US Copyright Off to see about copyright.



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Good questions Tom. When I get a print order I work on the print file then upload to one of several labs I work with none of which are local for me. The lab white label ships to the art buyer. I used to review all loose prints but hated the process and it risks damaging the print especially at larger sizes. The other thing is that if you sell metal or acrylic it is cost prohibitive to re-ship yourself not to mention a logistical nightmare.

I’d suggest test printing with any new lab and print combination so you can be confident in what you’re shipping. I did a blog post about that a few months ago.

Good luck!

Richard - You’ve given me lots to think about. Also, your test print blog post was excellent!!


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Thank you Tom. Glad that you found the article to be useful.

Hi Tom,

Register your work with the Library of Congress. I have been doing that for all my work since 2010. Each year, the process seems to be more complex and costlier, but your work is your legacy and the last Supreme Court ruling states that an issued registration is required for the pursuit of litigation.

With that being said, I have been on Board of Directors for two large NY camera groups and when polled, 90% of members do not register. Folks lament about infringement, but don’t take their craft seriously enough, and/or get defeated by the cost and copyright legalese process.

Signing Print Work
There is no standard process but at a minimum Sign your work, with archival pigment .02 and no greater than .05 ink (Pigma Micron), on the far right bottom side, on the print border , between matte. Put a label on the back of the print with your name, address, phone, email, site, LOC registration#, the title of print, date, and edition serial # of #.

Perhaps a good place to find out how photography fine artists sign their work is to go to an art gallery or art center/museum. You may want to reach out to member Alain Briot for advice or tour his website and see if he’s made a blog on the subject. I believe he’s going to be on NPS QA next month.

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Ed - Thanks for all the great info - Much appreciated!!