Choosing Photo Paper

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In the world of printer paper, photo paper is its own species. If you’ve ever printed a photo or high-res image onto generic paper, you’ve surely seen the difference: the image is flat, chalky and lifeless. The colors lose their contrast and highlights disappear. Photo paper is coated. This helps the ink dye or pigment permeate the paper properly. It keeps the ink from bleeding and reduces the drying time, as well as protecting it against fingerprints and smudges. So how do you choose the right photo paper?

Well, you need to pay attention to the language used by each photo paper manufacturer. The truth is that every company uses different vocabulary to describe the hierarchy of its photo paper. Usually a company will break its photo paper offerings into three categories – standard, premium, and some form of “premium plus.”

• In general, the “standard” stuff should be used for everyday photos and snapshots.

• Mid-grade or “premium” paper is appropriate for scrapbooking and picture albums, things that you want to last.

• The higher-end paper will be what you’ll want for exhibits, customer presentations, and performance contexts – whiter whites, blacker blacks and more accurate colors.j

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