Artemy Lebedev

§ 169. Signature on photos

April 2, 2011

It’s quite astonishing how photographers, who are expected to be a creative kind with some artistic sense, usually prove themselves horrendous designers. Evidently, no one would trust a photographer to do a typesetting job, create a logo or a website. But the disaster shows up in much earlier stages, namely, during photo signing.

Here is a shot, signed by a greedy artist:

The text size is not the point; there shouldn’t be any line blocking a part of the picture. Exceptions are few: photo bank images and hot news-reporting photos that have to sell within a day.

There is a separate class of photographers, who believe in improving a picture by adding a frame or fancy typeface. Nothing can ruin a photo better than those embellishments. Frames and decorative scripts feel at home only on tasteless postcards.

Things go bad really quick when photographers play designers, rather than putting their name on a side of a shot in the most gentle, humble, and light manner. The signature should not be set horizontally, since this would instantly draw your eye attention as does any line of text. We only need text in a picture if this is a shot of text.

The signature should be seen only when we are specifically looking for it.

The rule: do not treat a photo signature as an ad.

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