In today’s digital world, images are often shared and copied, making it difficult to verify their authenticity and ownership — this is where image signatures come in. When you sign an image, you add a unique identifier to it, making it possible to verify its source and detect tampering.
But how should you sign an image?
Many tools can help, from specialized electronic signature software to popular photo editing platforms. Here, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using signature tools versus image tools to sign images and compare five of the best options to complete the job.
Why You Might Want to Sign an Image
There are many reasons why you might want to sign a digital image.
First and foremost, signing an image can establish ownership and prove that you created or own the rights to the image. This is particularly important for photographers and artists who want to protect their work from unauthorized use and receive proper attribution.
Electronic signatures can also provide a way to verify that an image hasn’t been tampered with or altered, which is important in fields such as forensics and law enforcement — in this way, a signature can add enhanced ownership and protection to your work.
Signatures can be used as a branding tool, helping to promote your name or logo on your images and increase your visibility — a signature can give a personalized touch to artistic or corporate designs.
Whether you want to protect your work, add a personalized touch, verify ownership or enhance your branding, you can use electronic signature software or a photo editing program to sign your images.
Using Electronic Signature Software
Electronic signature (eSignature) software provides a convenient and safe way to sign digital images. With eSignature software, you can add tamper-evident signatures to images and documents quickly and easily.
With eSignature platforms, unauthorized changes to an image can be detected, making these platforms ideal for verifying the authenticity of digital photos.
Advantages of eSignature Software
When signing an image, eSignatures have a range of benefits.
- Safe and verifiable — eSignatures generated by specialized software use technology to track, record and protect the signing process. jSign, as one example, uses blockchain technology along with audit trails and certificates of completion to help prevent fraud and tampering.
- Compliant with legal requirements — For the most part, eSignature software provides compliance with legal requirements for signature privacy and protection under regulations like HIPAA.
- Convenient and user-friendly — Not only are eSignatures quick and simple to implement, but they don’t require any training to implement. Anyone can sign up for an account, upload documents and sign a photo with ease.
eSignature software, compared to even the best image tools, can be great for individuals and professionals who need to protect or verify their photo signature.
Disadvantages of eSignature Software
Image eSignatures also come with a couple of disadvantages.
- Requires document importing — For those who create and edit images and designs in a photo editing platform, it can be more convenient to overlay a signature using that same software as opposed to uploading the image to the eSignature platform.
- Can lack customization options — Compared to photo editing platforms where your visual options are limitless, eSignature software can limit your design options. However, a provider like jSign will enable you to create and use handwritten signatures for eSigning.
Depending on your needs and the tools you work with, eSignature software can add additional steps to your image signing processes and slightly limit your design options.
Using Photo Editing Programs
Photo editing platforms like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint and Illustrator can be used to sign digital images and offer a range of customization and creative options that eSignature software can lack.
With image tools, you can combine text, logos, watermarks and other visual elements and tools to create and add a unique and personalized signature to a photo.
Advantages of Photo Editing Programs
Signing your image in a photo editing platform has its benefits.
- Full range of customization options — You can use photo editing platforms to fully customize the look and feel of your signature to match your personal or brand style with unlimited sizes, fonts, colors and placements.
- Integration with other tools — Most photo editing software provides tools like resizing, cropping and overlays, and can be integrated with other software to further enhance your signature design.
- A one-stop shop — If you’re using a photo editing platform to create designs or alter photos, then using the same platform to sign your image is a natural choice.
Photo editing platforms can give you a vast range of creative options if you already know how to use them.
Disadvantages of Photo Editing Programs
Photo editing platforms also have drawbacks when you want to sign an image.
- Steep learning curve — If you don’t already know how to use a photo editing platform, it can be difficult to maneuver the image signing process, so this option is best left to intermediate or advanced users.
- Might not comply with legal requirements — Depending on your needs, an image signed with photo editing tools might not comply with regulations nor provide proper verification of your signature.
- Not tamper-proof — An image signed with photo editing software can be altered. On the other hand, eSignature software uses technology to protect signatures.
If you’re not already using a photo editing platform for other tasks, learning how to add a signature to an image can be difficult. Plus, you might not get the same level of compliance and protection that you would with an eSignature platform.
5 Best Tools to Sign an Image
Adding a signature to your image can make it look more professional and add personal flair — it can also protect it from theft or tampering. With so many available tools, you might not know where to start.
So, here’s a list of the five best platforms to help you sign your digital image.
jSign is a leading electronic signature platform starting at $14.99 per month for image signing capabilities (less if you only need to sign PDFs and word documents) and offers a 14-day free trial. Individuals and businesses primarily use the platform to upload and sign images and documents that require single or multiple signatures. jSign enables unlimited signatures and multiple signature types. With jSign, you can:
- Draw your own signature inside the platform
- Upload a custom signature
- Choose from pre-selected signature options
You can also set the signature flow, add multiple users and send completed documents directly to an email address or online storage drive. Each image signed in the platform includes a certificate of completion with documented audit trails that can’t be altered or tampered with.
jSign is perfect for signing images that require legal compliance or a verifiable and unalterable record of the signature.
Adobe Photoshop is the most widely-used professional photo editing platform. It costs $35.99 per month per license for a single app (Photoshop as a standalone without add-ons like Illustrator, InDesign or Acrobat) or $84.99 per month per license to use the full suite of apps.
People usually use Photoshop to edit photos, create digital paintings and design original graphics. It’s made to work with images made up of individual pixels, which allows you to manipulate and adjust the smallest parts of an image to create precise edits, apply filters, add effects and create intricate designs.
With its advanced customization, Photoshop comes with a steep learning curve and can take months, if not years, to master. Photoshop is a fantastic option for signing an image if you know how to use the platform and already use it to create or edit images.
Adobe Illustrator is another product from Adobe that can cost quite a bit to use — $35.99 as a standalone app or $84.99 with the full suite of tools (same pricing as Photoshop).
Designers typically use Illustrator to create vector graphics, which can be scaled up or down without losing their quality, and they’re great for logos, icons, illustrations and typography.
While Illustrator tends to be easier to master than Photoshop, it’s not considered a great beginner tool. However, like Photoshop, it’s a decent tool for adding a signature to an image if you already know how to use it.
GIMP is a free, open-source photo editor from GNU. GIMP can help you accomplish nearly everything Photoshop can do, which makes GIMP the leading, free Photoshop alternative.
While free, GIMP can be even more difficult to learn than Photoshop, which is the case with most open-source tools.
If you already know how to use GIMP or are willing to learn, and you don’t need the protection that electronic signature platforms provide, this is a great option to add a signature to your image.
Microsoft Paint is a classic, free photo editor. Because of its simple interface, Paint comes without much of a learning curve and is arguably the most straightforward photo editor to maneuver. But with simplicity comes limitations.
Paint has no pen sensitivity, no vector support and no layers. The platform’s limited text tools don’t offer advanced customization such as font embedding or anti-aliasing. It also only supports BMP, JPEG and PNG images, so it’s not a good fit for all image types.
Paint is an excellent choice for adding a signature to an image when you have a bit of design know-how, a low budget and simple needs.
When You Need Verification or Protection, jSign is Your Best Option
When you want to sign an image, you have many tools to choose from. Ultimately, the best tool depends on your specific needs.
While advanced photo editing tools like GIMP, Illustrator and Photoshop offer the most robust customization options, and Paint is awesome for basic signature requirements, photo editing tools don’t offer the same safety and verification that you get with an eSignature platform. jSign stands out as the best tool to sign images because of the advanced features that ensure the authenticity and integrity of signatures. If you need to add a safe, protected signature to an image, sign up now.