I am just beginning to sell some of my images and would like to personalize them a little. Many photographers sign and title their work on the white space just below the printed image. I am having metal prints made so there is no matting or white space, so I considered printing small (2"x3.5") stickers to place on the back of the images. What information do you think should be included on that sticker? Pretty much everything I've found online talks about a certificate of authenticity and limited editions. I do not want limited editions but would like to sign and number my larger prints. Does anyone have experience with this? Do I need to print a separate certificate? At this juncture my sticker will have my logo, image title, artist name (me), place for my signature and date, "edition #xx of an open edition". Some sites mention including the date the photograph was taken; format (i.e. 24"x36" photographic print on metal), though it seems redundant since it will be on the back of the print; same goes for description of artwork, as well as copyright as I am signing and dating it. I do plan on printing a second sticker with care instructions (i.e. hang indoors and out of direct sunlight etc.).

Revision to clarify: What information should be included? Do I need to put copyright information if I am signing it? Is it necessary to include the format of the print or the shot on date? Should I also be providing a certificate of authenticity?

Thank you!

  • \$\begingroup\$ you might find my nswer to this question useful: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/59925/… \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2015 at 17:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to help, but I'm not clear on what parts of the above are questions and what parts are statements. Can you revise to separate what you have already decided to do from what you are asking? \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    May 29, 2015 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm just adding, try to keep a record, let's say an excell table so you know how many prints, which folio number got distribuited where, size, date. A certificate without a database is probably not very usefull. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Sep 12, 2015 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think COA is a good way to go. It gives documentation to the client without having to marr the surface of the work (front or back). Signing a frame for example is only useful as long as the work stays in that frame. Although it might be better than nothing. Funnily enough I have a friend who works for Julian Opie, and he tends to use basic envelope labels for his signature. \$\endgroup\$
    – lharby
    Feb 10, 2016 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


I've grappled with this for awhile now and haven't found any consistent answers online, so I've muddled along with my own system. It may/may not be "right" but I offer it in case it's helpful.

My prints are plaque-mounted (on wood), and only as I need them (i.e. I don't do any runs of prints, I only produce them individually as needed). I write on the back of the mounted print, using a fine-tipped Sharpie, in four lines of text: -title (inside quotation marks) -year - sometimes this is two years - see below -my signature -my name, printed

Year: if the difference between when I took the original photo differs by more than a year from the date I first made this print version, I'll include both - e.g.: 2015 / 2009 - means printed version was made in 2015 but original photo taken in 2009. If there's a year or less difference then I just use the date of the print. If I change the image to make a new version of the print, then I use the new year instead of the original print year. If not - i.e. if it's just a reprint without any changes, then I stick with the original print date.

I don't bother with copyright info - I assume my signature and the date are covering that adequately.


On the print itself you'll want the print number ( #/edition number if you ever decide to do limited runs), your signature, title of work, date printed. The sticker idea is a good one for your metal prints or etch the details in to ensure permanent placement <- I'd recommend the latter.

You really don't need anything extra unless your client requests a certificate of authenticity. Any additional personalization you'd like could come in the packaging of said print.


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