I wonder what are common practices these days, in order to provide a certificate of authenticity, however limited, to a printed photograph.

Here I have the art-photography world in mind; exhibitions where larger prints and elaborate frames are common.

Should there be a signature of the artist on the picture? Should it be on the front? Or bettter on the back side?

Should prints be rubber-stamped on the back ? Do exhibits provide a running counter (e.g. "51/100") like for printed handcrafted artworks such as, say, an etching? Is it common to provide it for pictures of certain minimum size only?

I know that it is unusual to sign a small framed picture, but what about larger ones?

Is a digital signature on the front considered amateurish?

I know these are several questions, but they are all closely related. Maybe someone can answer this comprehensively, or provide a link to reference that discusses all this.


For signed/numbered prints, I've used a white "gel pen" that showed up against the not-light content.

I think a rubber stamp is pointless. People are paying for (or appreciating in a gift) hand touches: you approve that individual print and hand sign it.

  • I meant to say "rubber stamp on the back" instead of just "rubber stamp". It might provide more info about technical process involved (e.g. the lab, quality-control)
    – knb
    Jul 20 '15 at 8:32
  • Maybe print a small form on the back but fill in number and sig by hand. If presenting it live, use a fancy fountain pen and blotting paper. You can print small labels and attach to the back using traditional gum or archival scrapping glue, rather than printing directly on the reverse.
    – JDługosz
    Jul 20 '15 at 8:44

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