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How To Choose The Right Photo Paper

Not all photo papers are created equal. Most often than not, a great photo is a result of the printing quality and the type of photo paper used.

Most often than not, we fail to look at the effect of photo paper on printing, which affects the vividness of color, the texture or photo surface.

There are several types of photo paper which you can consider when you choosing.


This the most common photo paper widely used. The degree of glossiness is from normal to high glossy.

You may consider using a glossy paper if you want to accentuate the smallest details of the photo. The only challenge is the glaring view from certain angles.


This type of paper is the exact opposite of glossy. This is the best pick if you want zero glossiness. However, the photo could look cheap because of the lack of finish. This is a better option and is commonly used as marketing materials such as flyers, brochures or pamphlets.


This kind of paper represents a type of Satin finish with a textured feel. There are several finish options when going for this kind of paper. There are types that contain a low level of glare which a glossy paper has. It neither contains zero glossiness like a matte finish. It has a soft glow which produces a vivid color and quality may vary depending on the brand quality.


This a neutral type of paper that is in between the glossy and matte finish. It is nowhere near the glossiness of a glossy paper but has a little bit of level of glossiness ranging from a semi-glossy to a toned down glossiness. If you like to print bright colors, this is the best paper to try out because of its effect on printing. It has a lower reflection and makes a photo feel and look like a more traditional photo.

Overall, you need to determine the purpose for printing or how you would like a photo to look like and perhaps how you want your printing to appear to your viewers.



How to Choose the Best Paper for your Photos

If you are a professional photographer or even a novice in the field of photography, I know you have invested not only money but time, effort and sweat just to get that picture perfect shot. After the grueling photo shoot comes the result of your hard work – the picture perfect images.
If you are the kind of photographer who takes the quality of his work seriously then you should take into consideration the quality of your photo paper as well. You cannot just load whatever photo paper you found at the store into your printer, isn’t it?

The choice of photo paper can make a big difference in the effect, quality and feel of the picture.

Characteristics of photo paper

  1. Thickness – A thick paper is ideal if you want to have a photo lab like feel and result of your picture.
  2. Opacity – If a picture is to be mounted, choose a photo paper with high opacity. The recommended one is the Inkjet photo paper because they usually have higher opacity rating.

The Finish

  1. Gloss or Semi-gloss – First thing to consider is if you are going to mount the picture or not. If you will put it in an album or just to give away to friends and family, a glossy or semi-gloss is the best option since it gives a rich color to the picture. Although glossy papers offer higher contrast and saturation, if you are going to frame the print, then definitely gloss is not the right choice because it can create reflection and glare both from the print and the glass.
  2. Matte – A good quality matte paper is often used when printing black since it gives more detail, contrast and, texture. This type of photo paper had more stability and can be printed on both sides.
  3. Canvas – One great option if you want to frame your print is canvas. This kind of paper is rough but delivers a matte like rich texture, contrast, and color to your images especially when viewed from a distance. A glass cover over the frame is not necessary for a canvas.
  4. Art paper – Art paper is more expensive than the regular matte paper because it is often thicker and heavier than the latter. Art paper qualifies as a matte paper with a reasonable amount of texture and is mostly used for landscape prints, archiving art photos in museums, fine arts, etc.

Brightness / Brilliance

  1. The brightness of the photo paper can greatly affect the color, contrast and, hues especially the dark ones. Most of the paper reflects 60-90% of light.


Choose the right photo paper according to your or your client’s budget and needs. Purchase a photo paper with lower values if you want that image to be long lasting in terms of brightness.