What type of photo paper should I print my photo on?

Hello LCC members,

This question “what type of photo paper should I print my photo on?” has been asked by many of the members. This opens up a whole set of other questions. The first and most important question is, “what is your intent and vision for the presentation of the image?”.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question only your vision as a photographer can determine what paper or other material it is printed on.

A few words of advice

  • Order sample packs of paper from suppliers, I will put links at the end of this post.
  • Choose an image from your catalog and print it with your printer on each type of paper.
  • Examine the results
  • Which paper best imparts your artistic vision “look, feel, depth, detail etc.

Note: You should also ask yourself, where (environment) and how (framed or in a photo album) am I going to display the printed image.

 

POPULAR BASIC TYPES OF PHOTO PAPER


 

High Gloss

Delivers a “studio finish” with the most vivid colors, an outstanding contrast of light and dark, and high durability. With this finish you may experience glares
in certain lighting situations and fingerprints similar to the glossy finish.


 

Glossy

Offers tremendous color range, resolution and durability. With this finish you may experience glares in certain lighting situations, fingerprints and are easily scratched. The most practical uses for these Glossy prints are portfolios, photo albums and other displays behind plastic.


 

Metallic  

A metallic finish has a very high gloss, and the colors appear to be quite intense, but in a pleasant way. When you print on its reflective silver surface with color images, the results replicate metallic inks. Or, print black ink and the results are dramatic shades of reflective light. Although normally more expensive, a metallic finish can provide a vibrant “pop” to images. With this finish you may experience glares in certain lighting situations, fingerprints and are easily scratched.


 

Satin or Semi-Glossy

Offers a great compromise between a Matte and Glossy finish. Helps to reduce issues with glare, dust and fingerprints. Durability (paper weight/ thickness) typically falls right in the middle. Great for your everyday picture frames and ideal for those with a matte border.


 

Matte

This finish is designed to not show those pesky lighting reflections or fingerprints you often see on glossy prints. With less dynamic range and contrast of colors than all of
the other photo papers. Great for scrapbooking projects, bulletin boards, cards and invitations.

 


 

Quick Tip: 

Order the various types of photo paper above in the smallest size i.e. 4 x 6 and print your image on each type of paper and see which one suits your vision.


 

LINKS WITH MORE INFORMATION

Here is a link for more in-depth information about Photo Paper Properties

Links to photo paper sample packs (note: most companies charge a small fee for these sample packs)

Red River Sample Packs – I currently use Red River Paper and it is great!

Moab/Legion Paper Samples

Epson Photo Papers and Printers – I currently use an Epson Stylus Photo Printer Model R1900 Which has been replaced by the R2880

Canon Photo Papers and Printers

Canson Infinity Fine Art Paper

Ilford Fine Art Paper

Kodak Professional Paper and Materials

Injet Comparison, Ratings & reviews from Freestyle Photographic Supplies

Fuji Film Inkjet Papers

Hahnemuehle Fine Art Papers

 

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