It's the Photo that counts so which Paper should you use? Apr 30, 2008 09:50 by John Sollars
I am sure that you are aware that the quality of the paper you use for your photo printing will have more of an impact on your results than the printer or inks you use.
A lot of people assume that they need to use the paper from the same company that makes their printer, but while there are certain advantages to sticking with the same brand – normally the printers driver is set up and fine tuned for the manufacturers papers – it is not your only option. There is a world of alternative media types available and I have listed some of the options available to give you great picture output:
Resin Coated (RC)
These are comparable to the glossy and satin-finish papers you get from a photo lab. They have a plastic base, and are bright wihte with either a high gloss coating or a pebbly lustre finish. Colour photos virtually jump off the page, which is why RC papers are so popular.
This is another popular option especially if your printer uses Pigment inks. Pigment inks tend to to produce the best prints on papers with dull finishes, such as matte, fibre and fine-art papers. They also work well on fabrics and handmade papers. They tend to be cheaper than glossy papers, and so are a good choice for proofs and budget conscious printing.
These papers have characteristics similar to those of traditional photographic papers. Fibre papers have no plastic backing and us a low gloss coating. They give an output which is rich with deep tones and is brilliant for black and white prints.
Fine-art papers will give absolutely stunning results, but usually take a bit of fiddling to get the output that you want. You can obtain textured and smooth Fine-Art papers designed to work with inkjet printers, although they do tend to be more expensive than gloss and matt papers.
I have printed on Fabric and canvas sheets for some really special effects, but these really are a case of trial and error and a lot depends on which ink your printer uses.
The key to using any of these types of paper is understanding what your printer can handle. Newer printers from Canon, Epson and HP have come a long way and can handle heavier paper. However, some paper manufacturers make thin version of their fine art paper to accomodate older printer models.