Printing images can transform into a huge struggle if you do not know what you are doing.
Sizes, color profiles, file format, and resolution impact your final image. If you are one of those who decide that they want to get their pictures printed from home, then having a good printer and photo printing paper both become equally important.
In this article, we have discussed different photo papers and their quality and usage and selected the best professional photo paper for your needs. We have also discussed best buy photo paper, including HP photo paper, Canon photo paper, and other photo paper for printers.
5 Best Photo Paper in 2021
Best Overall: Canon ZINK Photo Paper
It is a ZINK compatible printer as well as a camera. The technology used is zero ink printing. It is backed by peel-off adhesive and has a glossy finish. It offers borderless printing, smudge, tear & waterproof prints, vivid color reproduction features. Such a smartsheet even assists in ameliorating image quality.
The Canon ZINK photo paper is considered the best photo paper for canon. The pack comes with 50 sheets of about 2 X 3 inches ZINK photo paper. You can use it with ZINK compatible equipment like the IVY mini photo printer.
- Paper Finish: Glossy finish
- Sheet Size: 2X 3 inches / 5.1 X 7.6 cm
- Brightness Rating: Top rated
- Includes 50 sheets of 2X3 inches ZINK photo papers
- Tear & water-resistant
- Peel & stick back
- ZINK prints eventually fade off over time as dyes are less ultraviolet resistant than pigments.
- It focuses on endowing new life to printers & allows them to create colorful prints wherever you want quickly. They even use the Zero print technique, which relies on distinct heat-sensitive layers inside the media to form a final image with zero toner or ink requirements.
- Borderless printing is simply attained easily due to the Zero print technique, and images are resistant to the process of smudging or even water damage.
Runner-up: Canon GP-701 LTR 100SH Photo Paper
With Canon GP 701 LTR 100SH GP 701 LTR photo paper glossy (100 sheets/package), you can create radiant prints at your home. You can create radiant prints at home with GP 701 photo paper glossy from the Canon. 200 GSM paper has glossy surface finishes that show off radiant and crisp photos.
- Paper Finish: Glossy
- Sheet Size: 8.5 X 11 inches sheets
- Brightness Rating: Top rated
- High-quality paper available at a reasonable price
- Prints well on Canon & Epson prints both
- The paper is thin; however, the quality is good
- For those looking for thick paper, it is not the right choice.
- It has 200 GSM paper with a glossy surface finish, which shows a crisp and vibrant look.
- The paper comes with a 100 pack of about 8.5 X 11 inches sheets. Thus, if you are looking for this sheet size and paperweight, do opt for Canon GP-701 LTR 100SH GP-701 LTR Photo Paper Glossy (100 Sheets/Package)
Alternative: HP Advanced Photo Paper
HP Advanced Photo Paper is considered to be the best inkjet photo paper. It is glossy, with 4×6 size, and comes with 100 Sheets. It is compatible with all inkjet printers. It even handles dry photos right from the printer. It prints true to life images with rich & vivid colors. It even resists smears and smudges.
- Paper Finish: Glossy
- Sheet Size: 4X6 inches
- Brightness Rating: Top rated
- Handles instant dry images right from the printer
- Compatible with all types of inkjet printers
- Can resist smears and smudges
- Prints images that are true to life with vivid and rich colors
- Not best for those looking for less glossy paper
- Print photos that are true to life with vivid, rich colors and impressive finishing. Photos dry out instantly, so you can easily pass them around right from the printer without any smudges or streaks. Print is water-resistant.
- Warranty is 90 days complete warranty and best for those looking for rich and vivid finishing.
Alternative: Canon Luster Photo Paper
Canon Luster Photo Paper Letter, 50 Sheets (LU-101 LTR) caters to the users with the best quality & image longevity. It helps produce images with luster texture expertise photographers highly dependent on traditional photo labs. Canon Luster Photo Paper Letter, 50 Sheets (LU-101 LTR) delivers vivid colors and reproduces sharp detailing & stunning black & white output with a rich black & smooth tonality.
- Paper Finish: Luster
- Sheet Size: 8.5X11 inches
- Brightness Rating: Top rated
- Good quality & image longevity
- Produces images with luster texture
- Delivers vivid colors, creates sharp detailing
- Offers stunning black & white output with a rich black & smooth tonality
- Paper solely designed to cater to constant look & color when viewed under a different light source
- Helps in enhancing productivity with fast drying time, which allows simple handling
- Not recommended for those searching for glossy papers as it does not hold any shiny touch.
Paper is well designed to cater to constant look & color when viewed under different light sources.
Alternative: HP Photo Paper CH097A
The HP Photo Paper CH097A for HP Inkjet Printers is thoroughly earthy-friendly and recyclable. The coating on the paper helps in preserving the image. It also protects against any kind of water damage that enables pictures to last for very long.
- Paper Finish: Smooth & glossy
- Sheet Size: 5X7 inches
- Brightness Rating: Good
- Friendly & recyclable paper
- Photos can dry up quickly, which makes it easy to handle
- Not best for those not looking for the glossy texture
- Coating the printing paper helps preserve the image for a long time.
- Using this, you can get crisp and colorful results with a glossy and smooth finish.
Photo Paper FAQ
What Kind of Photo Paper Do Professionals Use?
If you are a photographer who is looking to immortalize your print work best, or if your parents have constantly been bugging you for a good family portrait as you bought a brand new camera.
In either of the ways, one of the crucial components here is media or paper on which you select to print as each has its unique feel and look, which it thoroughly imparts on the images. In case you are new to the industry of photo printing and are unaware of the whole process, just looking at the available library media can get you intimidating.
Thus, here is a quick overview of a few of the most important terms & specifications that will help you pick the best photo paper.
- Surface finish
One of the easiest to understand the aspect of a paper is surface finish. Thus, photo paper ranges from completely textured matte to an exceptionally brilliant and smooth gloss & also has some specialized options like baryta & metallic. However, there are only three primary kinds of paper at their core: luster, glossy, and matte.
Instantly identifiable by their smooth & reflectivity appearance, the glossy finish is commonly viewed as paper for photos. The paper’s potential to display a deep black with a saturated, radiated color makes the pics pop out. With such advantages, glossy paper can usually provide crisp, sharp images that benefit graphics and photographs with fine detail.
On the other side, matte papers provide an appearance closely resembling traditional art paper. Many matte papers feature texture, which adds the next layer of fine artistry to the final print. The texture can even be reminiscent of the classic papers, like watercolor. Moreover, a plus point for the matte surface is that the paper is significantly less prone to showing fingerprints & marks in the course of handling.
Best known by the names like semi-matte or gloss, satin, pearl, silk, and others, luster offers a good surface between matte and gloss, generally with a bit of reflectivity and texture. It endows paper with a good range between white and black, best colors & can have texture to accentuate the pic’s content best. It can create good images with zero glare of gloss or lack of contrast from the matte surface. The balance makes it a trendy choice for many photographers.
- Coatings & materials
Besides surface finish, you are sure to hear words such as cotton rag, metallic, baryta & alpha-cellulose that can make the paper choice a bit tough. Such terms are used for the kind of material used or the specific coatings added to the paper. Indeed, they can significantly impact the final print & can assist add a few characters & personalities to your particular images. Materials must be considered as they contain the substance of the paper.
The two most common substances are alphas cellulose and cotton rag, which have distinctions in finishes and surfaces that can be very tough to spot. Cotton rag is considered a higher grade because of its legacy in terms of traditional paper stocks & higher cost. However, alpha-cellulose, a high grade, and wood pulp paper can produce the same results at a much more reasonable price.
Note that this choice is dependent entirely on the purpose of prints. If you are looking to make 8X10 inches for your parents’ room, then alpha-cellulose should be good. However, if you are looking to sell prints in gallery exhibitions, then cotton fiber is a less apt choice. You can even select other choices or options if you have a specific look in mind, like rice papers or canvas. Note that canvas is a classic with a great history of fine arts & a unique final appearance. At the same time, rice & other papers have different builds that can get to mind particular locations or even periods.
Crucial to inkjet workflows in the coating makes such papers entirely receptive for ink. Every manufacturer has its particular unique blend. However, there are few widespread options present. Baryta is a crucial coating that utilizes barium sulfate to mimic the feel and look basically & even tradition and smell of darkroom papers.
Metallic is the next good option that creates an excellent metallic sheen that gives you perfect glossy photo paper. It makes it suitable for a particular subject matter & it is even massively vivid. Such can add in a unique look to work and even bring out derails, which amplify the impact of images.
Which Is Better Glossy or Matte Photo Paper?
The choice between glossy and matte photo paper is one of the questions that stump many people at the photo printing – Is glossy photo paper better, or best matte photo paper can overcome it. The motive behind your ultimate choice might be basis the artistic preference or even pricing. Here, we will discuss the difference between glossy photo paper and matte photo paper elaborately.
Glossy Photo Finish
Photos printed with a glossy finish have a natural shine in them. They are specifically designed to reflect light to the best extent possible. Gloss is added as an additional layer to add shimmer to the photo. Note that the inclusion of gloss seems to affect the colors of a picture or image positively.
The colors of glossy prints seem more vibrant and deeper. Also, gloss seems to include definitions of the image’s borders to appear clearer and brighter. Note that glossy photos come primarily in 2 intensity levels – semi-gloss & high gloss.
Option of high gloss produces the highest possible shine while semi-gloss categories usually fall between zero gloss and high gloss finish called matte. While not very intense as in the case of full gloss finish, note that semi-glossy photos do make the photographs pop up with the advantage of less light reflection.
Matte Photo Finish
For those who want to lower the photos shine to the extent possible, a matte finish is your best bet. As matte finish photos lower light reflection, they are best used to display in completely illuminated places like living room walls or even floor lamps. Less intense light reflection of the matte finish is caused just by blending of refractive & light scattering effect of the matte coating.
When the light gets reflected, it automatically bounces back to the surface & then redirected. When the light gets refracted, it is scattered and absorbed well by the surface layer. When light hits a matte surface, it gets scattered in distinct directions owing to an uneven surface. This particular uneven surface is a highly deliberate material property caused by various tiny indentations on the surface of the matte finish. Alongside scattering light, a matte finish tends to absorb lighter than refract, making the images on the photo simpler to appreciate in a highly lit condition.
Choice of the photo finish depends on both printed photo applications & the effect you are seeking. Note that if you are about to display your photos in a glass frame, you should print them on a matte finish paper to prevent them from actually sticking to the glass surface & reflecting a lot of light. If you are looking to place a heavy emphasis on radiant colors of photos and crisp definition, a glossy photo finish will be a way better choice.
How Do I Choose the Right Photo Paper?
Matte finish paper is utilized more for brightness than glossy or semi-glossy papers. To determine the brightness level, ensure to utilize two photos like that of A4 photo paper made up of gloss and matte. It is thoroughly true that few colors would appear beautiful on a creamy paper while few may look good on a matte finish paper.
What Weight Photo Paper Is Best?
One such primary consideration for users when selecting the photo paper is their weight. Whether you are looking for the best photo paper for inkjet printers or the best photo paper for a laser printer, the photo paperweight makes an essential factor. Paperweight is effectively measured in GSM & correlates to paper density in 1 square meter of the area.
A heavy photo paper is heavier to touch, but the high weight does not impact the print quality itself as much as the ink type & receiving layers actually will. Elements like accurate color representation, archival properties, image sharpness, etc., are not impacted by weight. Note that the options for the photographic weight of the paper differ between 120 grams and 300 grams, but before you opt for the heaviest weight you can avail, check whether the printer will be able to accommodate the weight or can face a jamming error.
The advantages of printing on a heavier weight depend on perception when the print is given to others. Thicker prints are mostly perceived as luxurious & in specific events like creating greeting cards, special occasion cards, and invitation cards, thicker print feels more celebratory and invested. Such prints often are saved & even displayed for periods. Here are the keys are given basis on which you should choose the best-suited paperweight:
- 120 GSM to 150 GSM
When you need to print very high-quality images in huge quantities, selecting lighter weights makes complete sense. The most common examples are the brochures, which generally involve high-quality images needing photo paper capabilities in lighter weight owing to little longer duration keepsake value. Moreover, presentations and charts, which are often discarded after their use, get printed on 120 GSM to 150 GSM options to bring down the printing cost.
- 150 GSM to 200 GSM
Such weights are very common for image reproduction. Prints with some keepsake value like those requiring framing for display purposes or mounting are usually printed on 180 to 200 GSM options. It makes complete sense when you have many different print images because lower GSM mostly means the paper is cheaper to purchase.
- 200 GSM to 300 GSM
Such are ideal weights for printing pictures when the keepsake element is powerful. Typical examples are invitation cards, greeting cards, gallery images, etc. Before choosing such a heavy option, make sure that the printer could accommodate the paperweight.
- 300 GSM & over
Various instances surpass the mark of 300 GSM. Such traditionally fine & photo art papers like the printable canvas sheets, the textured art papers & others and used with keepsake thought process for long.
Your selection of the photo finish highly depends on both applications of printed images & the effect you are seeking. If you prefer to display their pictures in a glass frame, you must use matte finish photo paper to prevent them from sticking to the glass surface & reflecting a lot of light.
If you are looking to emphasize radiant colors of photos & crisp definition, a glossy photo finish will be a better choice. While if you are not looking for a radiant hue, then matt paper would be the best choice for you.Back to Top