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A popular trend these days is to sign your images when posting online.  The thought is to treat the image more like it was being shown in a gallery and less like pixel dust in the wind. The process is really pretty easy to do.  I’d also like to state that this is a much more attractive way to watermark a photo.

Here’s the process for Photoshop Users

  1. Sign your name… take your time and give it a few tries.  If you’re using pen and paper, go with a thicker felt tip pen or marker.  If using a tablet, that works too.  Be sure to create a nice large signature so you’ll have plenty of pixels to work with.
  2. Scan or digitally capture the signature at a very high resolution.  You’re likely adding this to high-resolution imagery, so better to start large and scale down (instead of up).
  3. Clean up your signature with a Levels adjustment to make the whites and blacks crisp.
  4. Save two versions of your file.  One black on white and one white on black.  You can choose Image > Adjustments > Invert to make a negative image.
  5. When you’re ready to sign, choose File > Place and navigate to your signature file.  Choose the black or white signature based on your photo background.

    screen-shot-2011-08-02-at-12-45
  6. Scale the image to taste by dragging a corner handle.  Be sure to hold down the shift key to constrain the proportions of the scale.
    sig2
  7. When ready to place the image, press the Return (Enter key).  The layer is added as a Smart Object which can be scaled or resized as needed.
  8. To blend the signature file, change the layers blending mode.  Use Multiply to drop out the white background or Screen to drop out the black.
    sig3

There you have it… a classy watermark that’s easy to reuse on all your online photos.

sig4

Do you have a favorite way to sign your digital images?  Share it in the comments please.
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Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. I usually use a custom brush for signatures in Photoshop. Easy to scale and comes in any colour.

    Reply
  2. I’m looking for a way to do the same in Aperture, to have the ability to sign/watermark one or many photos from within the app, amd not have to export and reimport to do the job.

    Any ideas from the Aperture crowd? Thanks!

    Reply
  3. what are your thoughts on dates? I used to go from capture to print in less than a week so it was easy to date my work. but now it could occasionally be shot in one year edited in another and printed in another. what year should I use or should I skip it all together.

    Reply
  4. […] How to Sign Your Work – This fabulous tutorial shows you quite easily how to add your authentic signature to your […]

    Reply
  5. Wow! Thank you so much. I could never work out how to put my signature on my images before. I have just tried it and it works!!!! It’s so easy and I’m so happy.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for this… easy easy….
    Ohh, you can use the “Shift” key while you scale it so it stays the same aspect ratio…..

    Reply
  7. […] by Richard Harrington, Photofocus […]

    Reply
  8. Thanks for teaching me how to sign my photos.
    Moshe
    Haifa, Israel

    Reply

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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