Ask A Gallery Owner | Should I Sign my Photographic Prints on the Front?


I am a photographer in Miami, Florida and am on your mailing list.

I hope you don’t mind but I am reaching out to you for advice. I have a series of photos that will be shown soon. At a previous gallery, I was advised by the gallery owner not to sign the front of the pieces and only sign the back. This didn’t make much sense to me since most art pieces I’ve seen have some signature and/or title visible on the front. Being a novice at this, I went with his advice. However, since that showing, a number of people have asked me why I didn’t sign the front and expressed concern.

My question to you is, should I sign these pieces (on the matting of course, not the actual print) before this next showing? If so, should I include any additional information on the front, like title, sequence/edition number (I’m limiting them to 7 prints), date, etc?  I understand this could just be a personal decision, but what do buyers/collectors look for and expect in regards to signatures?

Any information is greatly appreciated. I have searched the internet for info and have not come up with anything solid.

Thanks in advance.



My Response


Thank you for the email – and good question. I’ve heard both sides of this argument, but I definitely fall on the side of signing on the front. As you say – people expect it and wonder where the signature is if they don’t see it. You can keep it subtle, and can also include the edition. I’m not a fan of dates,but that’s a personal decision. I can tell from your email that you want to sign the front, so, for what it’s worth, I completely agree with you. Give your buyers what they want. A gallery can advise you on something like this, but ultimately the decision is yours.

All my best,
Thank you so much for getting back to me and for your input.  I went ahead and signed the front, but included only the signature.  I wrote  other information on the back such as edition, title and website info.  With the signature on the front now, they just seem more “finished” in a way.

Thanks again,


What do You Think?

Where do you feel the signature belongs? Do you agree with the advice I gave, or do you have different ideas about where the signature belongs? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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