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Choose the Perfect Fine Art Printing Paper for Your Project

There are so many great options for photo printing paper, it can be difficult to know what’s right for each project. With different finishes accentuating different aspects of an image, it can be hard to know where to start. Let this article act as a guide, but if you have any questions, please reach out to our American Frame team of photo printing experts for help. 


Fine art printing paper is almost always fiber-based and generally on the thicker, heavier side. This gives these papers a stiffer feel, like something you’d find in a gallery or museum show. The differences come with the finish coatings.

Epson Hot Press Bright


Epson Hot Press Bright has a smooth finish and less surface absorption due to the “hot press” nature of its creation. Hot press paper is made by pressing the paper through hot metal rollers to eliminate much of the texture from the fiber surface. The smooth finish means Epson Hot Press Bright excels at showing sharp detail and deep contrast. Perfect for images of man-made objects with a lot of detail.

Epson Hot Press Fine Art PaperEpson Hot Press Fine Art Paper

Hahnemühle Photo Rag


A cotton rag paper, Hahnemühle Photo Rag provides more surface texture, which leads to more ink absorption and a softer feel to images printed on it. The cotton-fiber structure (as opposed to wood fiber) gives this paper better durability when frequently handled. Because of this added strength, Hahnemühle Photo Rag is a great option if you’re planning a show or selling fine art prints. Perfect for warm, organic imagery.

Hahnemühle Photo Rag Fine Art Photo PaperHahnemühle Photo Rag Fine Art Photo Paper

Epson Somerset Velvet


With a unique surface feel, Epson Somerset Velvet lives up to its name. This 100% rag-fiber base means that ink tends to absorb into the paper rather than sit on the surface. While this gives images on this paper a soft, warm appearance, it also means it’s not the best option for photo printing. Fine art reproductions of acrylic, chalk, pastel, charcoal, and other soft media will be elevated with the velvety finish. Perfect for fine art reproductions.

Epson Somerset Velvet Fine Art Ink PaperEpson Somerset Velvet Fine Art Ink Paper

Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle


What sets Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle apart from our other printing papers is simple: it’s the same paper watercolor artists use for painting. This thick, heavy paper has an uneven, cloud-like surface, making it perfect for watercolor print reproductions as well. We don’t recommend using Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle for photography prints because, while the textured surface holds color exceptionally well, it’s less effective at showing precise detail. Perfect for watercolor reproductions.

Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle Fine Art Watercolor PaperCanson Infinity Arches Aquarelle Fine Art Watercolor Paper

Finding the right paper for your project shouldn’t feel overwhelming. The options detailed in this blog are just a few of the fine art papers available when you print with American Frame. If you have any questions or are looking for additional information on our paper offerings, set up an appointment with an Art Assistant.

If you’re a tactile person and want to see and feel the paper options, we offer paper and canvas sample packs here.

March 13, 2024
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