Keys To Your Personal Signature

A printed photograph without the photographer’s signature is like an unfinished artwork that has been left on the shelf not knowing whom the artwork belongs to. In general, your initial is one of the most essential authenticities to declare of your ownership and creation of the artwork. In my pass experience, I have personally seen many beautiful printed photographs by other photographer who have spent hours of their time shooting on site, creating, editing and finally printed. Unfortunately, unsigned. It is like a company’s contract that comes without the company’s seal or stamp. And thus, this would affects the value and trustworthy of the company’s reputation.

You see, the true value of each artwork is actually lies at the signature. Because I believe that art and photography is about the artist himself. It’s not just about the photograph, even though it’s important since without the image there’s nothing. But it is secondary. The signature speaks about your identity, who you are, your style, your approaches in creating art and personal taste. Your audience enjoy your works because of you, and they wants to know you. In many art show or exhibition that I have been to, I often find that people wanted to know who the artist is, where he/she’s from and etc. Rarely I would hear them questioning about the technique and material used to create the artwork.

People always recognize and remember the artist by the signature. Doesn’t matter where they see it or even if it is a new work that have not yet been displayed. Followers of your works will always recognize your art by your signature. Plus if you keep a consistence signature all the time.

Below I have listed in details why and how your signature is important to you and your following audience when you are creating new artworks. And I hope that these will provide you a clearer understanding about its value and worth.

  1. A signed photograph tells your audience that you hold the copyright and ownership of the artwork.
  2. Your signature should be unique to your taste and style.
  3. Your signature can appears to be artistic or fancy, but personally I like it to be readable. So that potential audience can read my name and find me on the website.
  4.  A signed photograph let potential art buyer knows that you personally create, check and inspected before delivering the finalized artwork. And therefore, this increases their trust and value of the services you are offering for them.
  5. A signed photograph tells your audience that you are confident in the artwork by which you have created. And you take pride to share it because you know it requires a lot of effort to create.
  6. People will remember and recognize the artwork base on your signature’s style.
  7. It is always better to hand-signed the artwork rather than printed together with the photograph. The artwork will appear to be more personal because it is signed by the artist himself. If it is printed, it can be done by others as well. Thus decreases the value of the personal art.
  8. For matted photograph, I preferred to sign with pencil. Because pen signed signature can sometime looks like printed signature.
  9. Signature is usually signed at the bottom right side. At the white border outside the image.
  10. Some artist like to include the limited edition’s number (example 32/100) at the bottom left corner opposite their signature.
  11. Your signature should also be sign and included in the Certificate Of Authenticity, COA. If any.
  12. For matted photograph, you can both sign on the photograph paper (outer white border of the image) and on the mat board.
  13. If you have to sign directly onto the photograph such as, aluminium mounting or canvas prints. Make sure that the pen/marker that you use is archival (acid free). I like to use silver or gold colored pen for that.
  14. The size of your signature should be reasonably in proportional scale. It should not be too big as to cause distraction or too small to see.

Finally, take as much time as you needed to design your own unique personal signature. The effort that I have taken to design my personal signature is amounted to the effort that I have taken to create new photograph. In other words, I am serious with my personal signature because it is very important in my artistic endeavor.

Artwork Signature

My personal hand-signed artwork with a chinese seal

Fineart Photograph Certificate of Authenticity

It is also important for me to sign on the certificate of authenticity, COA

Paul Chong is a landscape fine art photographer base in Shanghai, China. He is dedicated to capture the beauty of nature scenery in which he also creates colorful fine art photograph for sale in various format and sizes, featuring museum archival quality fine print. Some of his work can be seen published in magazine, website, event brochure and flyer. He owned a collection of magnificent artwork which can be seen by visiting his online gallery at
Copyright © 2013, Paul Chong Photography, All rights reserved. 
China Contact: +86 1376 4064 081 (GMT +8 hours)

6 thoughts on “Keys To Your Personal Signature

  1. Excellent post Paul. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t consider any of my printed work complete until it has been signed. One of the biggest reasons I feel this way, outside of the fact it establishes me as the artist, is that in the eyes of the buyer, a signed piece of art, any art really, not just photography, adds to its value.

    1. Thanks Jeff, agreed. Especially even so important for us who are creating art. I think this shows our seriousness and the value that we wanted to bring to the audience. and again, a finished and final masterpiece that have been completed.

  2. Great advice. I am curious as to how you would personalize a piece of artwork. In other words, I have a client that wants to purchase a print and have me sign it ‘to’ her friend.
    So do I put, To Sheri or, Sheri, the best, PJ. Or just Sheri, Pj.
    thanks for any help!

    1. Dear Patty, thank you for your feedback and sharing your concern. At the moment, I haven’t come across the same situation as yours. However, from my own point of view. I would have it written on my Certificate Of Authenticity, COA that may state something like “An original and limited artwork dedicated to (example. Sheri) from (your client’s name)”, while keeping your signature at the artwork. This is a more formal way to present the artwork to your client’s friend. In the situation that if I don’t have a COA, I might just go for a simple signature of example: To John, Paul. I hope that this information is helpful to you.

  3. Paul, hi I was just wonder where do you get a certificate like above Im trying to donate a photo to Easter Seals and I want to protect my photo can you help me ? oh by the thank you for explain the signature information that’s above ~Linda

    1. Dear Linda, thank you for writing and comments. The certificate can be purchased and downloaded from various different stock images site such as or Type into their search section and they have different design to choose from. I got mine from shutterstock. Hope it’s helpful. Cheers!

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