The Art of Choosing the Perfect Photographic Paper
Updated: Feb 7
Which Photo Paper Is For You?
Here's The Breakdown to Help You Choose
We all know that Photographic Paper choice is a subjective one, but with so many options, it doesn’t have to be a daunting one. Let’s take a closer look at what distinguishes each of our professional silver halide photo papers, so you can more easily choose the best one for your images. All of our photographic papers are archival, so as long as they are displayed or stored in a moderate climate, their structural integrity and rich color will withstand the test of time.
It’s our default paper surface for good reason! Kodak Endura Lustre features a fine grain pebble texture with a slight semi-gloss sheen, and is known for its exceptional sharpness. This makes Lustre not only a great choice for images, but a go-to option for graphics with text, including photo cards, calendars, album and book covers, and more! Kodak Lustre paper presents slightly richer prints than matte papers and displays beautifully natural skin tones, especially popular among wedding and portrait photographers.
Kodak Endura Glossy is a shiny and highly reflective paper, contributing added depth to the darker tones of your images, and displaying bold and vibrant colors. This surface features a neutral tone scale for accurate color and natural skin tones. You might recognize Glossy as the long-known paper of choice for (but certainly not limited to) printed memories that fill shoeboxes to be cherished for years and generations to come. Perfect for all types of photography where glare is not an issue.
Kodak Metallic features a glossy finish and metallic appearance that creates images with exceptional visual interest and depth. Metallic is distinguished by its high contrast, and shimmering ‘glow’ effect, producing a silvery sheen rather than true white. Although we’ve seen some beautifully bold portraits on Metallic, this paper is a popular choice for landscapes and fine art photography calling for a uniqueness in presentation. When paired with our Satin Laminate, your images will lose the reflection, but uphold that beautiful glow!
Fuji Matte is a traditional professional matte surface paper with minimal texture and sheen, showcasing vibrant, true-to-life colors. Landing somewhere in between Lustre and Deep Matte Velvet on the reflectivity scale, this professional quality paper delivers enhanced color reproduction, exceptional image stability and excellent photo handling. This makes Matte a great paper choice for photography of all types.
The silk textured finish of this elegant paper surface is perfect for vibrant images with warm highlights and natural skin tones. Kodak Silk paper features a unique texture similar to linen, which gives your images a nostalgic, vintage style and feels more like fabric than traditional photographic paper. Silk Photographic Prints have a semi-gloss finish and arepopular among Wedding, Portrait and Schools & Sports Photographers.
Deep Matte Velvet
Fuji Deep Matte Velvet displays your images with a soft, but rich elegance. Velvety smooth to the touch, this paper was designed with a protective layer resistant to fingerprints, and its non-reflective surface delivers gorgeous black and whites or vivid color under any lighting situation. Deep Matte Velvet is ideal for display prints, especially in areas with multiple light sources and distractive reflections. This paper is gorgeous!
Fuji Pearl is a glossy paper featuring sharp detail, high intensity colors, and a distinctive pearl-like appearance. Similar to Kodak Metallic paper, Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl brings an illustrious depth to your images. Fuji Pearl is known for giving an intense warmth and depth to your images, with an expanded color reproduction range and high color saturation. We’ve noticed that Fuji Pearl is well-loved by astro-photographers, most likely because the shimmery pearl complements those sparkly stars. Pearl is also perfect for competition and display prints.
The ultra-smooth high gloss surface of Fujiflex features a warmer base tone and extra rich colors. The depth and dimensional quality of Fujiflex is one that almost can’t be described, and begs to be seen firsthand to be believed. This depth helps Fujiflex SuperGloss prints reflect more light which makes them more brilliant than other papers, and the colors are even deeper and richer than Pearl or Metallic papers. The final display evokes a heightened sense of color realism that the viewer feels they can jump into. That’s why we designed Epic Prints with Fujiflex as the paper of choice!
Fuji Maxima Matte is a great choice for fine art photography, as this paper features exceptionally deep blacks and excellent shadow details with a matte surface. This is one of Fuji’s newest papers, created with the expectations of professional photographers in mind for its outstanding longevity. Maxima Papers boast deeper blacks, whiter whites, and an overall increased color gamut.
Just like Maxima Matte, Maxima Glossy displays beautiful depth and color richness, perfect for fine art photography. The only difference from Maxima Matte is its high reflectivity, so although this paper was specially designed for fine art and museum display with high end output results, don’t be surprised by its glare in certain lighting situations. Maxima is the perfect match for photographers with a dark and dramatic visual style.
“I loved being able to look through all the papers that Bay offers and compare them next to each other with the paper sample swatch I got from them. Those samples have helped me find the perfect paper to print my work on that compliments my style and takes my final product to another level. Can’t wait for my clients to see their images on the FujiFlex paper, I know they will love it as much as I do.”
- Damion Haines
We hope this guide helped inform your paper surface choice! Ultimately, the best way to see and compare these papers firsthand is to order a free Swatchbook. Order yours today.