5 Things to Think About Before Buying Photo Paper

5 Things to Think About Before Buying Photo Paper - FilterGrade

Yes, buying the right camera will help you start out as a photographer. You need a quality camera to shoot different events and types of photography.

You did your research and put a lot of thought into the perfect camera and equipment. What many beginner photographers fail to also do is put this much thought and consideration into the type of printer or photo paper they use to print on. This can result in even the best shots to look mediocre at best.

Here’s how you can ensure to choose the right photo paper that will help your images stand out! Consider these five things before buying photo paper.

Choosing the Right Photo Paper

Type of Finish

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

Paper comes with a number of different finishes for different uses, such as glossy vs. matte.

Common paper finishes included:

  • Uncoated

  • Matte

  • Gloss

  • UV Gloss

Glossy surfaces are the most popular and the easiest to spot. Images printed on this type of paper will be more reflective. They are often glossy on one side and can result in images appearing more vibrant and rich with color. Matte finishes will result in more contrast between the dark and lighter areas in the image. Semi-glossy will give you a combination of the two. There is also canvas photo paper which adds texture to the images printed on it with a nice contrast in saturation. If you are going to be framing any of the images, canvas paper can be the best options.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

How long before those perfectly printed images start to show yellow along the edges? Most photo paper uses artificial whiteners, these tend to be cheaper but will result in color distortion more quickly. Your images will yellow around the edges and ruin what was a perfectly printed images in little time. The best way to avoid this is to check to see if the paper is whitened with any artificial whiteners, Most often when an artificial whitener is used it is used only on one side which makes it easier to identify.

Type of Ink

Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash

The type of ink you use will need to be taken into consideration. If you are not using the best quality ink this can result in the color fading more quickly. While fading is a natural result of images that are older this isn’t something you want to occur quickly. Choosing the right paper will also depend on the type of ink as even the best quality paper cannot make low quality ink last longer when printed.

Type of Printer

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

The printer you use will offer recommendations for the type of paper as well as the ink you should use with it. Often these are the branded types that can be more costly, while you can follow these recommendations there are alternatives that can be cheaper. You can use these recommendations as a starting point and locate generic brands that work just as well. Just be sure to buy from a reliable retailer that offers a return policy and has a good reputation in the industry.

For more ideas on printers to buy, check out our top five printers of 2019 here.



Photo by ron dyar on Unsplash

When it comes to buying quality photo paper, you essentially will get what you pay for. If you decided to go with the cheapest type of paper then your images will look cheap when printed on them. This doesn’t mean you have to go with the most expensive, well-known brand. as mentioned earlier the brand doesn’t determine the quality. The best way to reduce how much you spend on printer paper is to have a few options; a few basic papers for test prints and then maybe some more expensive papers with top quality for when you are ready to print your selects. You can use the lower quality for common or everyday use and reserve the higher quality for those special print jobs.

Finding the best photo paper may take some trial and error. If you notice that your images are losing their color quickly and they tend to yellow quickly it is time to reconsider the paper you are using. Try out a few different samples to find the best type. When you use a high-quality paper your images will look high quality. If you want to be in a league of highly sought after photographers than you need to consider all of the equipment you use and this includes the photo paper you print on.

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