The advent of advanced digital cameras and home editing software has enabled typical consumers to enjoy supreme quality personal photos from the comfort of their own homes. However, no matter how high-end your technological equipment may be, without proper photo paper your prints will not feature the crisp, professional quality that you desire. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to select the right photo paper for your purposes. There is an incredibly vast range of photo papers for photographers to choose from, and those who are unfamiliar with the digital photo world may feel a bit daunted by this plethora of choices. The following guide will help consumers to identify the photo paper that will best benefit their photography.
Photo papers are produced in a few different finishes, the most common being gloss and matte. Each finish offers its own benefits and drawbacks.
Glossy photo paper is valued for its bright, vivid display of hues. Colors seem to leap off of a gloss-finished page, and many people find the sheen of this paper to be an attractive quality in itself. However, glossy photo paper is unsuitable for framing, as it reflects copious amounts of light and can create a glaring effect. Most people therefore choose to reserve their gloss-finished paper for brochures, greeting cards, and other such purposes. Glossy photo paper is also very prone to smudging and must be handled carefully.
Conversely, matte photo paper does not reflect any light and is far less likely to smudge. While this subtler paper does not offer the glitz and glamor for which glossy paper is so valued, such qualities make matte photo paper far more suitable for framed pictures.
Photo papers are offered in a wide variety of thicknesses. You should try to select the photo paper that best suits your durability needs.
A thin inkjet photo paper is perfectly adequate for most everyday uses. Casual prints, flyers, and other informal printouts can be created inexpensively with a low-durability paper. However, if you wish to preserve your printouts for an extended period of time, a thicker paper is essential. These higher-quality papers tend to hold their shape and their colors far longer than their lower-priced counterparts. Many consumers mistakenly believe that a hung photo can be printed on thin paper if it is protected by a frame; however, even within the frame's protection, a low-quality paper is likely to bend and fade over time.
Surprising as it may seem to novice photographers, photo paper is offered in many different shades, each of which influences printed pictures in a slightly different manner.
Consumers can find photo paper in any hue from ultra-bright white to subtle beige. Generally, the whiter your photo paper, the more boldly your prints will emerge from the page. Enhanced white paper is therefore ideal for photographers who wish to produce eye-popping pictures. However, in many cases, a softer color will be more suitable for your purposes. For example, a formal family portrait or a quiet nature scene will be better complemented by a gentle off-white color, adding a pleasant, relaxed dimension to your photo.