So, are you a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who wants to immor­tal­ize your work in print, or are your par­ents ask­ing you to take some good fam­i­ly por­traits with your new cam­era? Either way, one of the most impor­tant com­po­nents is the paper or media you choose to print on.

photographic paper

If you’re new to the whole process, the huge library of media avail­able can be intim­i­dat­ing. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most impor­tant terms and spec­i­fi­ca­tions to help you choose your per­fect A4 pho­to paper.

Surface finish

The eas­i­est aspect of any paper to under­stand is the sur­face fin­ish. Papers range from extreme­ly tex­tured mat­te to excep­tion­al­ly smooth glossy, and also come in spe­cial­ty options such as metal­lic and bary­ta. Basi­cal­ly, you only have two basic types of paper: glossy or mat­te.

sheet of photo paper

A glossy fin­ish, instant­ly rec­og­niz­able by its reflec­tiv­i­ty and smooth appear­ance, is most often con­sid­ered pho­to­graph­ic paper. This is due to the paper’s abil­i­ty to dis­play deep blacks with rich, vibrant col­ors. Along with these ben­e­fits, glossy paper can pro­vide a sharp­er image, which is more suit­able for graph­ics with fine details.

On the oppo­site end of the spec­trum, mat­te papers offer the look and feel of more tra­di­tion­al art­work. Many mat­te papers have a tex­ture that can add an artis­tic touch to a pho­to. This tex­ture is also rem­i­nis­cent of clas­sic papers such as water­col­or. In addi­tion, a plus for mat­te sur­faces is that the paper is much less prone to fin­ger­prints and marks when work­ing.

Photo paper specifications

Now we move on to the stage of paper selec­tion when you need to pay atten­tion to the char­ac­ter­is­tics. They include weight, thick­ness, bright­ness, white­ness, tone, opac­i­ty and more.

See also
25 Ironman Triathlon Preparation Tips

photographic paper

Weight and thick­ness affect the over­all feel and qual­i­ty of the paper. Weight is often expressed in grams per square meter (g/m2). Heav­ier paper is less like­ly to warp when hung for long peri­ods of time. The thick­ness of the sheet of paper also plays an impor­tant role. Thick­er papers tend to be stiffer, though care should be tak­en as not all print­ers can accept thick A4 art sheets. It is also impor­tant to find a print­er that can meet your pho­to­graph­ic needs.

Bright­ness, white­ness, and tone indi­cate the gen­er­al appear­ance of the paper. The bright­est part of your image is lim­it­ed by the bright­ness of the paper itself, which also affects the over­all dynam­ic range. Col­or is deter­mined by white­ness, with a low­er per­cent­age mean­ing warmer (or more nat­ur­al) paper, and a high­er per­cent­age mean­ing cool­er (or more blue) tones. They can give a great idea of ​​how one paper will look com­pared to anoth­er. Opac­i­ty is an impor­tant spec­i­fi­ca­tion as it tells users how much light will pass through a piece of paper.

You can print two-sided images for a book or brochure, but you need spe­cial­ly designed paper that is ink-resis­tant on both sides. Final­ly, if you’re new to print­ing, it’s a good idea to stick with paper that match­es the brand of your print­er. This is because paper man­u­fac­tur­ers do have a solu­tion with opti­mal set­tings for their print­er. This allows the com­put­er to match the col­ors of your image to the lan­guage of the print­er to match your dig­i­tal file and your print.

See also
The most unusual clock for the home