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Author Topic: Obtrusive signatures on images  (Read 1300 times)

bdbender4

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Obtrusive signatures on images
« on: April 16, 2017, 10:34:36 AM »

I am trying to find a way to say this without being negative, just an opinion about style. But it's a strong opinion.

It may be just me, but it seems that on-image signatures are getting larger and more obtrusive as time passes and software makes it simple.  I find this totally distracting, sometimes to the point where it ruins the image - for me, anyway.  Every image becomes an advertisement for that photographer.

Ken Foo's current article on using the Canon 17mm tilt shift lens on a technical back is an example.  Good article, great images, with his name pasted "stylishly" over every blasted one.

Not to pick on Ken, on another website I recently saw some work by another photographer where his very large signature was halfway up the image, at the level of the eyes on a shoulders-plus-face portrait. It stretched from near the face to the edge of the frame. Egotistical baloney! Isn't the portrait about the person in the image?  Would you want this on all your wedding photos?

I hope this is a fad that passes.

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RSL

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 10:47:55 AM »

Hi Bender, (Not sure you have an actual name.) It depends on who's posting the stuff. A pro can properly worry about having his pictures pirated, and a blatant copyright notice can help prevent that. We amateurs (meaning people who aren't making their living off their photography) shouldn't have a similar concern, though it still can be annoying. I don't like blatant copyright notices either, but it's not a serious hangup.

bdbender4

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 11:23:42 AM »

Hi Russ -

My name is Bruce Bender, I just haven't filled in the info, I only post here once in a great while. My bad.

Anyway, I understand the need for copyright information, especially for pros.  But IMHO it can be small and down at the bottom of the page. 

What I find distracting is when signatures creep upward, get larger, get all artsy-fartsy, and appear on every image.  If you are writing an on-line article, do you really need to copyright umpteen images that show equipment, pointers on how to use it, lighting setups, and so forth? The resulting exemplar images, sure.  But even those, can we remain modest? 

Is the image about the subject of the image, or the photographer who made it?
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Sharon VL

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 12:17:52 PM »

Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. Don't you know you are no longer just a person...you are a BRAND. You must always have your BRAND
out there in front of everyone so they will LIKE YOU. If you don't BRAND yourself, you are a nobody.

 8) I agree, it's silly.

Sharon

bdbender4

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 12:09:09 PM »

Well, Sharon, bingo, my generation is showing.  I take images to please myself and don't post them online, and don't view photography as a competition. 

But even among those who do, trying to "brand" yourself among the 1.8 BILLION images posted PER DAY (that was from 2014, probably higher now) by relying on a signature seems a bit futile.

And silly.   
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RSL

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 12:22:31 PM »

+1!

MattBurt

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 01:13:11 PM »

I don't like the watermark across the middle but people do it as an anti-theft measure and I can understand why even if I may not agree. I watermark everything I post as a habit (LR preset), but in a fairly subtle way (lower right corner usually). I have found some of my images reposted and cropped to remove my watermark. In response I could put it across the middle of the image but I don't like how that looks and I have to accept this will happen sometimes as the cost of posting online. I try to post small enough that it's not a usable image for anything besides social media sharing, even more so if they crop out the watermark.
My habit of watermarking came from shooting bike and running races where the photos can get shared far and wide. Sometimes a sponsor wants to use an image of mine that someone else shared and my watermark is the easiest way for them to know how to get a hold of me. Without that there would be no link from the image to me and I might miss some business.

The ones I particularly dislike are the big flourishing script ones that wedding photographers often use. It just comes across as a cheap attempt at being pretentious.
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 02:01:15 PM »

To me, it is quite simple

The artist has the right to put his or her signature in the way they wish on their photograph... but the artist also must recognize the right of the viewer to have an adverse reaction to the same signature.

No one should tell an artist how they can sign their work
No one should tell a viewer how they can react to the signature.

If an artist wishes to take the risk of alienating viewers and potential customers, that's their right. If a viewer chooses not to purchase the photograph because they don't like the way the artist signed the work, that's their right too.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 05:33:50 PM »

I think Otto nails it.
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MattBurt

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2017, 01:00:59 PM »

I think Otto nails it.

Agreed!
I usually give print clients the option of signature or not on canvas prints and they almost always want the signature.
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RSL

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2017, 01:28:18 PM »

There's a difference between an actual signature on a print, made with a gel pen or the equivalent, and a "signature" popped on there with Photoshop. The second thing is crap. The first thing eventually may make the difference between a print worth a million and a print worth ten bucks.

MattBurt

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 01:30:24 PM »

There's a difference between an actual signature on a print, made with a gel pen or the equivalent, and a "signature" popped on there with Photoshop. The second thing is crap. The first thing eventually may make the difference between a print worth a million and a print worth ten bucks.

Right. The digital version has the opposite effect but for better or for worse, that is the point.
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James Clark

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2017, 06:14:45 PM »

I'm surprised at the reaction.  If you have even a hint of a dream of making money off of your work, you'd be silly not to take any opportunity you can to let people know whose image it is that they're seeing.  I'm sort of a "tweener" - I came out of school in '94 and went into the traditional agency world, but quickly found myself moving into what was then the first stages of commercial online brand building and advertising.   Good for me - I got in early, did ok and managed to muddle my way to a decent career.

On the other hand, I established myself *before* the 20xx era of social media, and my skillset has slowly become outdated as I have stayed in a managerial position (as opposed to being on the "front lines" of marketing), and I've had to go back and update my skillset appropriately as my photographic work has started to get a bit of traction, and as I've been doing more hands-on advertising work because, basically, I have to.

In all honesty I find it uncomfortable - uncomfortable talking about how "awesome" I am (please take that as the reality of what you have to say - not what I think), and uncomfortable screaming at people to "look at meee!"  But in the influencer/social-media-driven marketing landscape today, unless you're drawing eyeballs simply by virtue of being a celebrity, sadly, that's the way it is.

Warhol turned out to be right - a good image *is* just one of a celebrity that's in focus, and that's sort of disgusting, but nothing worth getting upset over IMHO - it's just today's business reality.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 05:12:44 PM by James Clark »
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James Clark

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2017, 06:16:42 PM »


Is the image about the subject of the image, or the photographer who made it?

Honestly?  Too often, the latter, but the same could be said about most creative work. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 06:19:43 PM by James Clark »
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GrahamBy

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Re: Obtrusive signatures on images
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2017, 08:22:36 AM »

Honestly?  Too often, the latter, but the same could be said about most creative work.

In the art world, always the latter. There is a certain irony that in commercial work, the image still has to perform in some way by catching the eye of the viewer without a gallerista to tell him or her how important it is. Then that is probably why most of the "best" photography, as defined by my personal judgement, has come from commercial photographers.

To get back to the original question, posting a photo with a prominent watermark style signature well in from the edge of the image degrades the image, so I'm less likely to be impressed by it. Supposing you are displaying the photo in order that people appreciate it, there is a conflict.
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