A Guide to Buying Photo Printer Paper

Just a few years back, printing paper was not yet a critical variable when it came to high quality photo printing, but now things are totally different. Today, the task of finding the right kind of photo printing paper seems to be a highly challenging task. The basic concerns of most people is where and how to start their search for the right paper for their photo printing job.

The safest, and perhaps easiest, option is to go for the paper provided by the same company that manufactures the photo printer that you are using. The top brands like Canon and HP produce the best photo printers and their photo papers are excellent as well.

Unfortunately, this is not possible in all instances, and this option is usually more expensive. Aside from these and due to the advancement in printing technology, the requirements for paper and ink have also drastically changed. This means that the selections have tremendously improved and the range of choices, as far as paper is concerned, has also increased.

Photo Printing Paper Buying Considerations

There are five elements that you have to take into account when buying your photo printing paper:

1. Paper Size

This is the easier aspect of your buying decision, as you only have to adopt the standard sizes used in conventional photo prints – 3 x 5, 4 x 6 and 8 x 10. Additionally, you can also use the paper size for postcards, ID cards and panoramic photos. In short, your range will depend on the paper sizes that your printer can accommodate.

2. Paper Weight

Photo printing papers have different weights. If you want to have the same feel that you get from photos processed in conventional photo processing labs, then you have to buy the heavier type of paper. Manufacturers rate their photo printing papers in different manner, either in mils or pounds. The problem is that most manufacturers normally classify their papers as “heavyweights.” There are instances where light weight photo printing paper is more suitable, especially if you are going to put the photo prints in an album.

3. Paper Thickness

Thickness affects the paper’s handling and is a critical variable in photo printing jobs. In general, thicker photo printing paper is stiffer and is resistant to creases and tears.

4. Paper Finish

There are several types of finishes of digital photo prints, and these range from matte finish to glossy finish. Photo prints come in a wide range of print sizes appropriate for regular prints and portrait-size photo prints for enlargements.

Photo printing papers are categorized differently by manufacturers, although there are three main finishes. These are premium-gloss, which gives the most colorful and richest photo prints, satin or semi-gloss finish, which does not give the color richness provided by high gloss finish and matte finish, which has the lowest contrast among the 3 major finishes.

5. Application or Purpose of Use

We have so far covered the essential variables of photo printing that need to be considered when buying photo printing paper, but there are other things that you can consider to ensure that you get optimal results from your photo printing jobs. With the right photo printing paper, the digital photo printer can be a multi-purpose printing machine. You can use it for printing stickers, iron-on transfers, custom tattoos and brochures.