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BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : What Does a Darkroom Look Like - Paper & Supplies

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Photography Question 
Brian McDonald

member since: 6/22/2004

When to Use Different Photo Papers?

I am curious to know for what different applications I would use a glossy, semi-gloss, matte, or satin photo paper. Is it just personal preference and I should print on each one to see what I like best? Thanks in advance for the info.

12/13/2004 6:27:50 PM

Vince Broesch

member since: 6/5/2004
  This question has been around since I started in the photo processing business in the '70s. It is really just a matter of personal preferance. It seems like amateur stuff goes glossy and pro stuff goes matte, but it's not written in stone. In general, amateurs want over-saturation and high contrast and high sharpness, which glossy can give the perception of. Pros want lower saturation, contrast, and sharpness; more neutral for better skin tones. But this is all just a generalization.

12/13/2004 6:43:10 PM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  It's a personal choice, of course, but sometimes there's a need. In the wet darkroom, there are a variety of papers [with names like Resin Coated, Silver Halide, etc.]

If your into printing on an inkjet, particularly black and white, you need to investigate a lot of papers. I like Kodak Ultima [Glossy or Satin,] Ilford [the Pearl series] and, of course, Canon Photo Pro [glossy] for my Canon S800 printer. Using different papers gives you a choice of "feel" both literally and figuratively. I've found glossy to be less exciting for B&W, however.

Check They offer a private label set of inkjet photo papers and you can purchase a Starter Kit containing 2 sheets each of several different papers. I haven't used these yet, as my supply of Kodak, Ilford and Canon is holding out well.


12/15/2004 8:14:37 AM


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