Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual snapping enthusiast, high-quality photo printing is a great way to show off your best shots. Prints give your photos a physical presence that can be shared, framed and enjoyed for years to come.
But with so many different types of photo paper available, it can be tricky to know which one is right for your high quality photo printing needs. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of photo paper and their key features, so you can choose the best option for your next photo printing project.
What are different types of photo papers?
- Glossy: Glossy photo paper has a shiny, reflective finish that brings out the vivid colors and fine details in your photos. It’s the ideal choice for printing vibrant landscapes and portraits with rich colors and skin tones.
- Matte: Matte photo paper has a non-glare finish that’s perfect for printing photos with subtle colors and delicate details. It’s also a good choice for black-and-white photos, as the lack of glare makes it easier to see the shades of gray.
- Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss photo paper falls somewhere in between glossy and matte paper, with a slight sheen that brings out the colors in your photos without being too reflective. It’s a good choice for general-purpose photo printing.
- Resin-coated: Resin-coated photo paper is coated with a thin layer of resin that helps to protect the paper from smudges, fingerprints and water damage. It’s the ideal choice for printing photos that will be handled often, such as wallet-sized photos or photos for scrapbooking.
- Photo rag: Photo rag paper is made from 100% cotton rag, giving it a natural white color and a smooth, matte finish. It’s a good choice for printing black-and-white photos and other images with fine details.
What factors should you consider when choosing a photo paper?
Paper Weight: Paper weight is measured in GSM (grams per square meter) and the higher the number, the heavier the paper. Heavier papers are generally more expensive, but they also provide better support for your photos and make them less likely to warp or bend over time. If you’re printing photos that will be hung on a wall or placed in an album, a heavier paper weight is a good option.
Paper Finish: The most common paper finishes are glossy and matte, but there are also several other options to choose from, including semi-glossy, satin, and luster. Each finish has its own unique look and feel, so it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs. If you’re unsure which finish is ideal for professional photo printing, it’s a good idea to order a few different types of paper and test them out before making a final decision.
Paper Size: Photo paper come in a range of sizes, including 4″x6″, 5″x7″, and 8″x10″. If you’re printing photos that will be placed in an album or hung on a wall, you’ll need to choose a larger paper size. However, if you’re just printing photos for your own personal use, a smaller paper size will suffice.
Print Quality: Most photo papers are available in either high-quality or standard-quality options. If you’re printing photos that you want to keep for a long time, it’s worth it to invest in high-quality photo paper. However, if you’re just printing photos for your own personal use, standard-quality paper will suffice.
Whiteness: Whiteness of photo paper plays a vital role in deciding the quality of your photos. The whiter the paper, the brighter your photos will appear. If you’re printing photos that you want to look their best, ask your professional printing service provider to use a paper with a high degree of whiteness. However, if you’re just printing photos for your own personal use, a paper with a lower degree of whiteness will suffice.
Ink Type: When choosing a photo paper, you should also consider the type of ink you’ll be using. Most photo papers are compatible with both dye-based and pigment-based inks. However, some papers are only compatible with one type of ink or the other. If you’re unsure which type of ink to use, it’s a good idea to order a few different types of paper and test them out before making a final decision.
Price: Photo papers vary widely in price, depending on the paper’s weight, finish, size, and print quality. If you’re on a budget, it’s a good idea to compare prices before making a purchase. However, if you’re willing to spend a little extra, it’s worth it to invest in a high-quality photo paper.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know more about the different types of photo paper, you can choose the best option for your next photo printing project. Just remember to consider the paper’s weight, finish, size, print quality, and price before opting for professional photo printing services.