Today we have a guest post on the blog from Joseph Eitan who is Managing Director at photographic paper seller PhotoPaperDirect.com (PPD). In this post he gives us a quick run down of all the different aspects you should bear in mind when choosing photo paper. Hopefully this advice will help you make the right choices when it comes to printing your work. So here is what Joseph has to say…[short]
Although much emphasis nowadays is placed on digital photography, images are still being printed, probably more than ever. If you are striving to improve your photographic skills, you should be familiar with the technology behind Inkjet Photo Paper and how to choose the right paper for the right job.
You may ask: 'Why Inkjet? And what happened to the popular laser technology?' The truth is that the image quality of inkjet technology far exceeds laser technology, which is why photographers will always opt for Inkjet. For one, laser is limited to 720dpi (Dots Per Inch) compared to triple that in the case of Inkjet and it cannot equal Inkjet colour accuracy or the wide tonal capability. It might be fantastic for printing simple text documents quickly and efficiently, but in the case of vibrant images it is a completely different ball game.
Guide To Inkjet Photo Paper
By now we know that printers use either Inkjet or Laser technology. Before evaluating various options, you need to determine which technology your printer uses to ensure you haven't mixed the two. While both technologies depend on CMYK colours to produce results, the manner in which these colours are dispersed is different. Laser uses polymer-based powder that, by way of fusion, is transferred onto the paper, while Inkjet uses liquid ink. A paper that was designed for one printer type won't work on its rival type. Doing so could damage the printer and produce low quality results.
Matching Paper Size To Intended Use
The same base paper is often sold in various sizes. Each size is intended to fulfill a different printing need. Matching the correct size to the intended use will eliminate waste that occurs from having to reprint your images.
Photo Paper Finish
Once you have narrowed down the size of choice, you can move on to selecting the finish. Photo papers are coated in a transparent layer of coating designed to improve the print. They are measured on a scale of sheen. Common choices include:
Note that while it is possible to reverse the coating of choice by using an Inkjet fixative spray of a different finish, it is ill advised due to increased costs. You are better off choosing the correct finish to begin with.
Photo Paper Weights
Papers vary in levels of density or GSM (Grams per Square Meter). Broadly speaking, the higher the GSM is, the higher quality the paper will turn out to be. Higher quality reflects the end result of the print, the colour mixture and archival properties. Archival refers to the time it takes the paper to yellow or fade. Weights vary and include:
Enjoy your photography and printing your work!
*PPD works with amateur and professional photographers offering A3 to 6×4" photo papers.
**Images by flickr under cc license.