Should You Just Say 'No' to Glossy Photo Paper?

by Valerie Johnston | May 13, 2013

When you walk into a store and start shopping for photo paper, one thing that you will find very quickly is you have so many options, it is very easy to get confused and overwhelmed. With so many choices in photo paper these days, you may be wondering what type you should be using. If you are like many, your first instinct may be to reach for the glossy, but that would be a very big mistake. In fact, I would avoid glossy like the plague! You will need to learn more about your options for photo paper so that you can understand why to avoid glossy and which other option to choose.

Why Glossy Shouldn't be Your First Choice

The first thing to know is why you should never make use of glossy photo paper. There are actually a few different reasons. Now, keep in mind that you could print out a glossy photo that turns out just fine, but the chances of that are low. Here are some reasons why glossy is not the best option for your digital photography:

  • Glossy photos will show fingerprints, no matter where you get them printed. Fingerprints could actually rub away ink from the photo.
  • The photos will have a glare. When you try to frame them, you may find that it is nearly impossible to actually see the whole picture in the light.
  • Not all printers can print on glossy. When you send the paper through your printer and the ink just cannot dry, the results could be a smeared, inky mess that gets on the paper, you, and the printer.

The best thing to do is just say "no" to glossy and opt instead for one of the following photo paper types.

photo paper prints, printing photos, print your own photos

 

Matte or Luster Paper

One of the better options for printing digital photography you could choose would be matte or luster paper. This is the type of photo paper that most photo professionals use. The paper is fairly heavy duty and will have very little to no shine. Advantages to having your photos printed on a matte or luster paper are that it does not fingerprint easily so it can be handled without worry of seeing smudges all over the photo. Also, colors are vibrant and true to life. These photo papers are great for every day and even some fine art photo printing.

Fine Art and Watercolor

When you want something different and with a professional look for your digital photography, then fine art photo paper could be the best option. This paper will have a visible texture that you can feel as well. The paper is not always white but is usually a soft, off-white. When you use fine art paper with your own printer, you will need to have the printer work more slowly to deal with the texture without leaving blank spots. When handling fine art photo paper after it has been printed, you will need to be careful to avoid scratching it since it is extremely susceptible to damage. Watercolor paper is a popular type of fine art paper that includes a very soft texture while delivering beautiful colors.

photo paper prints, types of photo paper

 

Metallic

One of the more modern options for photo paper would be metallic. The paper itself is actually made from several different layers and includes laminate to create the metallic look for digital photography. If you want something different, you will need to ensure that you choose metallic paper for inkjet printers so that it can work with your printer.

Choosing the right photo paper is an absolute must if you wish to print your pictures in a way that you will be proud to display your digital photography. Remember that you have options to suit your needs, and remember that there is more out there than just glossy paper.

 

"Kodak Endura Metallic Photo Paper", http://www.realenduraphotographs.com/endura_metallic_photos.htm

"Problems with Framing Glossy Photo Paper", http://www.ehow.com/info_7883670_problems-framing-glossy-photo-paper.html

"A Consumer Guide to Modern Photo Papers", https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/webfm_send/310

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