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Photo Paper Reviews

The papers I love to print with!

By David Fleet

photo paper reviews

I'd like to share some brief photo paper reviews, following on from my other guide to choosing a printer. In the age of digital photography it's easy to forget that, like all artists, photographers are working with physical materials.

The choice of those materials has a massive impact on the work we create. In fact, paper is integral to the character and quality of our work. So, as a professional landscape photographer, 'good enough' prints are not good enough, I need my prints to be exceptional!

These are the papers I use most in my printing.


How To Choose Photo Paper

These days we're blessed (or burdened!) with an almost overwhelming choice of inkjet papers. There's textured matte surfaces, glossy smooth papers and everything in between!

As a starting point, stick with your printer manufacturer's own brand papers, as they are designed to work well together. This way you can begin to experiment with different textures and surfaces, without risking any disasters!

But once you've sussed out a few paper types that you like, the fun really starts. You can now move on to some specialist third party paper manufacturers.


Epson Papers

photo paper reviews

Epson and Canon are the major players in the photo printing world, and fortunately both manufacturers are really good at producing their own papers.

I have an Epson printer and often use their papers for both everyday printing and exhibition pieces. For everyday prints I recommend making use of their luster and semi-gloss papers. For exhibition prints, or any you intend to sell, try their 'Traditional' ('Exhibition Fiber' in the USA) papers.

I'm also a big fan of Epson's matte papers. In particular the 'Hot Press' (smooth surface) and 'Cold Press' (textured surface') are really beautiful and always look great.


Third Party Manufacturer Papers

photo paper reviews

Finding papers that you like is all about experimenting. There are a number of manufacturers who specialize in producing really stunning quality paper that will truly do justice to your best images.

Having tried some of your printer manufacturer's own papers, try some of these third party options. I recommend having a look at papers from : Ilford, Harman, Canson and Hahnemuhle (not a misspelling!).

There are no fixed rules about papers. You are as free to choose the material to work on as if you were sketching or painting. Personally, I really love the way baryta fibre based papers, like Harman Gloss and Canson Baryta Photographique , render very deep blacks and the full gamut of colours. Although these papers have very delicate surfaces, so when prints are to be handled a lot I tend to go for Epson Premium Semi-Gloss or Luster papers, which are rather more durable.

Top Tip: Lots of paper manufacturers offer sample packs, which include a selection of their different papers. I definitely suggest buying some of these and playing with the results. You'll end up with a list of papers that you know work well with certain images. I have about 10 papers that I use a lot at the moment. I've listed them below:


Brief Photo Paper Reviews of My Current Selection

Professional quality everyday papers:

photo paper reviews

Get these papers on Amazon


Baryta fibre based papers:

photo paper reviews
Get these papers on Amazon

Fine Art Matte Papers

photo paper reviews

Get these papers on Amazon


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10 Landscape Photography Tips

Fashion Photography Tips

Photoshop Portrait Tips

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