I’ve always wrestled with adding a watermark or signature (or whatever branding) to my photos that I post online. First off, my name is so long that it’s always been difficult to make a watermark that looked good. And I hate cheesy copyright symbol watermarks. It’s like taking this great looking photo, and putting something totally generic on to it (and they serve absolutely no legal purpose in protecting your photo, other than making it ugly).
NOTE: This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with protecting your photos and the legalities around it. It’s purely meant as a “hey, it looks cool!”, and a means of branding your name.
What About My Signature?
I’ve seen signatures on photos that I thought looked cool and elegant. Unfortunately my signature sucks. It’s basically just scribble. So why does that matter? It makes me think of a recent situation where I sent my brother a few framed prints for his new house. Had I signed them with my normal signature, nobody would have been able to read it. But I signed it with a cool looking font signature that I made in Photoshop (just like I did in my video here) and you can actually read it. Now… it’s a conversation starter. People see the name when they visit his house and “Oh… your brother is a photographer?” comes up… and so forth.
Method #1 Create Your Own Photographers Signature / Logo / Watermark
One of the first ways to add a good looking and unique signature would be to find a great looking font. You wouldn’t believe how many good fonts are out there that are free to use. In my free video, How to Create Your Own Logo / Watermark, I covered a couple of websites. One of them is the site called Dafont.com and the other is Adobe Fonts that comes free with your Creative Cloud subscription.
If you’re the type that likes to roll up your sleeves and get creative to make something your own, then this method could be the best for you. By using a font and Photoshop, you have a ton of customization abilities, and can create some really beautiful (and unique!) signatures styles and watermarks.
As a quick side note, if you’re interested in this route, check out my Photographers Logo and Watermark Toolkit that includes 90 minutes of video training and templates and fonts to help you out.
Method #2 – Have a Logo Made for You
Another option is to have a logo made for you. Years ago I came across a site that does this (PhotoLogo.co) for you. They create a signature style logo and I have to say they look really good. I ended up buying one at the time, but I don’t use it much anymore. As time went on, and they became more popular, I started feeling like everyone else’s looked like mine and somewhat repetitive. That said, if you’re not going to spend the time to make your own, I think this is a great alternative.
Is This Cheating?
I was talking to a friend of mine and they asked if it was cheating. After all, it’s not really my signature. I told them I thought of it more as a logo of sorts, but also a signature that I wish I had and I may even try to replicate with my own for things I do sign (books, prints, etc…). So… no… I don’t think it’s cheating. I do want a little bit of branding on the photos I post, and I think this gives me a good balance between my ugly signature and paying a professional to make a great looking logo (that I’m not even sure I need or would use).
But Is A Signature Really Important?
In this day and age, I personally don’t think so. First, off, whether you use your a copyright, or signature or anything over the top of your digital photos, you should know that it doesn’t mean it’s protected. Now, the moment you press the shutter (in most cases), your work is copyrighted. But to really give yourself an added bit of security/recourse for your photos, you should register your photos with the US Copyright Office (for US readers). But this article or this signature, at least for me, was never intended for any legal purposes – it’s purely aesthetic. So please don’t think of this as a way to protect your work – it’s not.
Next, most of you reading this blog probably aren’t selling a ton of prints. In fact, nobody I know is selling a ton of fine art/landscape prints these days. Maybe someone besides Peter Lik is making a killing at it, and if they are, I haven’t heard of it 🙂
And again, for most people reading here, I don’t even know that everyone needs an official logo. I’m not sure that makes much of a difference these days.
So the signature isn’t super important in the traditional print signing way of things, and it’s not going to protect you. But now that most of our photos are being shared online, I can see how a signature could add a little something to the photo (if done well), as well as some branding (like a logo).
Thanks for stopping by. Have a good one!
How To Create Your Own Photographers Logo or Watermark
I mentioned earlier that I have a video on creating your own logo / watermark right here. Also, if you like that and want more, check out my Photographers Logo / Watermark Toolkit / course that covers much more. It includes 40 templates + fonts to help get you started, along with instructions on how to use and adjust everything.
Thanks for stopping by!