Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Printing Insights #006

Paper a la Carte

by Uwe Steinmueller

Photos by Bettina & Uwe Steinmueller

Endless Choices

As Michael Reichmann pointed out in his essay "Hand Made" one of the main strength of inkjet printers is the choice of paper. No painter would go into the art supply shop and just grab some 20x24 sheet of paper. They are all gone through a long process of selection and also learning to use the favorite paper. They also know that white is not white: there are endless shades of white and not one paper surface is like the other one. Also the same paint looks very different on different papers.

The same is true for papers for inkjet printers. Here are are more general classification:

  • High Glossy
  • Glossy
  • Semi Glossy / Luster / Satin
  • Watercolor paper
  • Matte paper
  • Canvas

What we also have to learn from our painter colleagues is: Fine Art papers are often very expensive. The cost easily above the $4 mark for a sheet of 13x19" and don't forget the ink. But if you want to sell your photos then you will find it quite reasonable especially if you realize what the matting and framing of photos cost (or the investment in equipment, time & space to do it yourself).

On this page we will only concentrate on archival papers which we use/used for our Epson 2000P printer with archival pigment inks.
Glossy/Semi Glossy/Luster

Epson Premium Luster


This might be your paper if you need a more photographic look. But be aware that you have to deal with metamerism if you work with it.

Verdict: Not rated

Epson Premium Semi-Gloss

Our take is the same as for the Luster paper.

Verdict: Not rated.

Matte Papers
Epson Archival Matte

This is our standard paper. The surface is not as smooth and silky as some much more expensive fine art papers but the results are very pleasing.

Currently we still have some warping visible on the back of the photo (soaked by the ink). We will check into this issue and report our findings.

Verdict: Nice

Water Color/Fine Art Papers
Epson Watercolor
A very nice watercolor paper and also reasonable priced. Most other fine art papers are far more expensive.

Some warping is visible.

Verdict: Very Nice.

Crane Museo

We have only printed so far one photo on this paper but this is a very nice smooth paper (though quite expensive).

Some warping is visible.

Verdict: For Gourmets.

Ilford Inkjet Fine Art

Is in the same league as the Museo paper (quality and price).

Some warping is visible.

Verdict: For Gourmets.

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