Labeling the Back of Your Prints
I am starting to accumulate a few 8x10 prints. I realized I should be labeling the back of them to keep track of the film used, shooting date and location, printing method, paper, and developing/adjusting details used.
Do any of you do this? What type of information do you record?
I was thinking of using stick-on labels and running them through my laser printer to print the category names. I would then fill in the details with a pencil or pen. Is their something already available commercially like this? I did not see anything at B&H.
I had a stationery place create a rubber stamp - the stamp has my name and address, as well as labelled spaces for the name of the print, the negative number, negative date, and print date.
Of course, I only stamp the backs of mounted prints, and I don't load up the stamp with ink. All you need is a light dab on the ink pad, a light touch on a scrap of mount board, and then a good press on the back of the print. You get a nice, legible image. No glue from adhesive labels to worry about, either.
I just use a pencil to write the name of the print, date and my name. I use an excel spreadsheet for all of the technical information. If you do decide to go with stickers, Avery makes some acid-free sticky-labels.
Searching my way to perplexion
I simply use a soft pencil on the back of the print itself, too. I label the back of the mount with a label - be sure to read the Avery package closely - a few of their labels are acid-free but most are not. I had hoped the clear labels would be archival, but an email exchange with Avery confirmed that they are not.
I just write in pencil along the border--the name of the image, date of exposure (which allows me to find the neg in my files), date of the print, number in series if applicable, and a signature.
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i sign the back of the print in pencil.
no labels, no stickers, no ink
--- back of the mat/or under the window maybe.
i'd be afraid inks will give a new meaning to "full bleed"
and the labels will be bogus adhesive.
probably a label made of nice paper pasted with wheat paste and written with india ink / penicil would work too, but that is a lot of work for just a note ...
I first mount the print to acid-free foam board, either hinge or Koda cold.
Each image is assigned the next sequential number as it is printed.
I formated an Avery 8164 in Publisher that contains all the info the buyer needs to know, and put it on.
Then I rubber stamp with edition # and print #, and fill that in.
Then I sign and date.
All this is on the verso of the mount, not the print itself.
I keep a "darkroom journal," of all pertinent info that went into making the print inself; paper type, chemistry, exposure, etc, by assigned number, and print size.
This may seem like a lot, but it helps insure repeatability when printing, and creates a uniformity in presentation to the customer.
I usually write the negative number in my filing system and a number uniquely identifying that print, which is cross indexed to a notebook containing the technical details. This has worked out okay for me so far.
Always use pencil, don't use any mass-market gummed adhesive like an Avery label. Most inks are highly acidic, and the same is true for commercial adhesives. If you want a standard label to go on the back of a print, the wheat-paste option is a good one, so long as you're printing the label on an acid-free paper.
Frankly, unless your handwriting is atrocious and illegible, write it on in longhand with pencil. If nothing else, it makes it a more personal touch for a customer, and helps validate your prints for a future historian.
Peter sent me an Excel file that cotained a template of what he uses. I attached a portion of it here. The file contained four labels per page.
(Thanks Peter, that is just what I was looking for. I tried replying to your email but I got an error message saying it could not go through)
I will modify it a bit for my purposes. I don't have
a darkroom since circumstances limit me to shooting
4x5 E6 and scanning them.
I will have to go out now and buy some acid free
labels in that size. Do you happen to have a product
number to recommend?