Another signature on photos question

butterflygirl

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Hey all!

So I have a "has this ever happened to you question." I had a customer purchase some jpeg images from me on CD. I mark all of my photographs with my signature, but she complained about it saying " I have never had a photographer put their signature on a photo. I would recommend that you don't do that in the future. In my case, I can remove it in Photoshop, but it does spoil it for people who want to frame the photo and have to have your signature so prominently displayed." Direct quote.

I don't know what the big deal is - plus it worries me that she's going to manipulate my photographs. But has anyone had any problems with this?

I guess my real question is - do you put your signature on your prints? Mine is very small, in the bottom left hand corner. I didn't think it would be a big deal. :(
 

LaFoto

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I have taken to signing my photos these days. Yes. But I put the opacity to only about 10 per cent, so it is not too distracting, KNOWING that my sig may well be removed by some if they want to do so. Well then... I have so far never had any complaints by anyone. The reason why I sign them is also one of advertising my name just a little, so those who once bought prints will remember me and maybe phone me up for an event they would want photographed by me ;).
 
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butterflygirl

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I have taken to signing my photos these days. Yes. But I put the opacity to only about 10 per cent, so it is not too distracting, KNOWING that my sig may well be removed by some if they want to do so. Well then... I have so far never had any complaints by anyone. The reason why I sign them is also one of advertising my name just a little, so those who once bought prints will remember me and maybe phone me up for an event they would want photographed by me ;).

That's what I was thinking, but I don't reduce the opacity. Maybe I should. That may be a better way of compromising. Still have a signature, but not fully visible. Thanks!

Anyone else have any suggestions or comments?
 

LaFoto

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Actually, come to think of it, I match the opacity with the background upon which my sig will show. 10 per cent only works with all black or all white backgrounds and it goes up to 20, 25, 30 or even more per cent the "busier" the background. But I always try to make it fade into the picture of sorts so it does not dominate it completely. I sometimes even adapt the colour of the sig to the background.
 

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Did you proceed to tell her that she can't do that? Or that she doesn't have rights to alter or reprint your photos?

I would tell her "The reason I sign the photos is so you know who took them, and also so printing labs will not reprint them. You are not allowed to alter the photos or reproduce them in any way."..

Now that wasn't the best way to word it...I'm just giving an example. She seems ignorant of why you did it.
 
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butterflygirl

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Did you proceed to tell her that she can't do that? Or that she doesn't have rights to alter or reprint your photos?

I would tell her "The reason I sign the photos is so you know who took them, and also so printing labs will not reprint them. You are not allowed to alter the photos or reproduce them in any way."..

Now that wasn't the best way to word it...I'm just giving an example. She seems ignorant of why you did it.

I thought so too. I told her that some photographers sign, others don't, but the majority in MI where I live do. And we sign our photographs, not only out of pride, because it is our work, but for copyright reasons. Now I'm just waiting for her to reply. It does say in my contract that no customer can alter my images in any way, so maybe if she replies I'll "remind" her of this fact.

I just don't understand why people are this way. They think they can tell people to do whatever, when it's not their business. I just don't get it. It seems like no one can ever be happy!
 

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The same people that complains about this, owns heaps of other stuff that is "signed" by whoever made it. Nobody complains about Ford putting their logo on their cars, or clothing with brand names all over it. So why a discrete signature on a photograph is so horrible is beyond me.

Your customer has no reason to act surprised as signing photographs is a very common practice. If she really wants them unsigned, then offer unsigned prints at a higher cost. Getting proper credit is a part of all my contracts, and proper credit for a portrait would be to reserve the right to sign your work.

With that said, I have seen some really big and ugly signatures made in photoshop, that draws way too much attention, but I guess thats a different discussion.
 

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I thought so too. I told her that some photographers sign, others don't, but the majority in MI where I live do. And we sign our photographs, not only out of pride, because it is our work, but for copyright reasons. Now I'm just waiting for her to reply. It does say in my contract that no customer can alter my images in any way, so maybe if she replies I'll "remind" her of this fact.

I just don't understand why people are this way. They think they can tell people to do whatever, when it's not their business. I just don't get it. It seems like no one can ever be happy!

The attitude of "the customer is always right" is taken too far sometimes.
 

elsaspet

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Here's how I see it....and correct me if I've read your OP wrong...

If you sold her the photos, the photos belong to her. If she wants to paint mustaches on them, or turn them into a collage, it's her choice.

I honestly don't know of another photographer who watermarks, or signs their CD images.

Also think of it this way. No one is going to look at the itty bitty sig and say, "Dang, I need to call that person". What they will do is listen to a good report from your client and say, "Dang, I need to call that person".

I'd say in this instance, the client IS right.
 

elsaspet

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Edited to add, on the occassion of selling really really large prints, (over 20x24) or a customized fine art print, photographers will often sign the print....really really small, and always in the lower right corner.
 
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butterflygirl

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Here's how I see it....and correct me if I've read your OP wrong...

If you sold her the photos, the photos belong to her. If she wants to paint mustaches on them, or turn them into a collage, it's her choice.

I honestly don't know of another photographer who watermarks, or signs their CD images.

Also think of it this way. No one is going to look at the itty bitty sig and say, "Dang, I need to call that person". What they will do is listen to a good report from your client and say, "Dang, I need to call that person".

I'd say in this instance, the client IS right.

I do agree with most of what you're saying, but I don't agree that the photo is totally hers. The photographer retains copyright authority at all times. But I did sell her the photos and she can do with them what she wishes. I don't really have a problem with that. I understand that I sold her the photographs.

But if it is a photographer's policy to put a signature on their photos it shouldn't be a problem. I don't think a signature is out of line in this case, or really, in any case. Please correct ME if I'm wrong. :)

Edit to add: I guess it's simply a matter of opinion. But I do think that reputation is everything, and I suppose if it was a big enough issue, I would offer to send her the images without a signature.

I just wanted some feedback as to how others have dealt with this. It seems you can never make everyone happy. But thanks everyone!
 

adolan20

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I work in a photo lab and you wouldn't believe how many people are unaware, misunderstand, or just plain don't care about copyright policies. Even if they aren't signed, watermarked, or printed on paper with the words "Do not copy" on the back of them, we still won't print them if they are posed or just plain look professional without some documentation authorizing reprints. Most photo labs have similar policies, so you need not worry too much.
 

elsaspet

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I'm assuming that she is giving some sort of unlimited print right with the CD, or the CD really wouldn't be worth anything.....
Could be wrong though.
I think your policy is fine Butterfly, if it's clearly stated in your contract. If it isn't, then I can clearly see the client's disappointment.
Just my 2 pennies.
 
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butterflygirl

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I'm assuming that she is giving some sort of unlimited print right with the CD, or the CD really wouldn't be worth anything.....
Could be wrong though.
I think your policy is fine Butterfly, if it's clearly stated in your contract. If it isn't, then I can clearly see the client's disappointment.
Just my 2 pennies.

Thank you!

She did end up getting back to me and I offered to send her another CD without the signatures. I did give her unlimited print rights for the price she paid :)

I guess from now on I have to point it out to each client or ask them their opinion on it. I'm not sure if I will continue putting it on CD photographs or not. I'll have to think more on it :)
 

elsaspet

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I'm glad it all worked out in the end Butterflygirl.
BTW-is that you in the avatar? You're gorgeous!
 

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