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Photo Paper: Which Option Is Best for Your Project?

With so many paper styles and finishes available for your prints, it can be hard to know which option will help achieve the look you’re envisioning. At American Frame, we help make the decision easier by offering only the highest-quality, industry-leading brands and products. Continue reading to see which papers are best for your project. 


When it comes to choosing a paper for printing art or photography, it is important to understand that all papers, according to their properties, will absorb ink and reflect light differently, affecting the finished results of the piece. The two main styles to choose from are resin-coated paper and fiber-based matte paper. Resin-coated options are made of paper sealed between a thin polyethylene coating, allowing for a quicker wash and emulsion process. This coating allows for a wider range of colors and is a favorite option for photography. Fiber-based photo paper has a different construction: the paper layer is exposed to the chemicals while it develops. So, more ink is absorbed during the process, giving the paper a more limited range of color reproduction and making it a great option for artists wanting a fine-art look. 

Both paper options can create amazing prints under trained hands, so it’s ultimately up to your preferences and skillset.

Fiber based photo papers absorb more ink during the printing processFiber based photo papers absorb more ink during the printing process


Epson Premium Luster and Premium Glossy

An easy choice for any project, Epson Premium Luster and Premium Glossy are the same resin-coated paper but with different finish options. Premium Glossy has a full-gloss finish, giving the visual a shiny look, while Premium Luster has a satin-like finish with a similar but softer look. From professional photography to family or school portraiture, these options are versatile for achieving your desired look. Perfect for wedding and family photos.

Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl

Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl is a resin-coated paper with a twist: it has an ultra-smooth pearlescent finish and slight metallic sheen. These metallic properties give certain images added life, including black-and-white images or photos of reflective surfaces like water, metal, or glass. This incredibly unique paper may not be ideal for every project but is worth experimenting with. It may even inspire new ideas to explore in your next project. Perfect for photos featuring highly reflective surfaces.

Epson Premium Luster Photo Paper with image of kids on a beachEpson Premium Luster Photo Paper with image of kids on a beach
Epson Premium Glossy Photography Paper with image of sea turtle underwaterEpson Premium Glossy Photography Paper with image of sea turtle underwater
Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl Photo Paper with image of surferMoab Slickrock Metallic Pearl Photo Paper with image of surfer

Canson Baryta Photographique

Canson Baryta Photographique is a true baryta, a type of paper with a thin layer of barium-sulphate gelatin applied to the fiber paper. The baryta layer allows the paper to achieve blacker blacks and more saturated colors, making it a great option for black-and-white photography. Canson Baryta Photographique can also be used with Photo ink, giving it more versatility than most fiber options that require Matte Black ink. Perfect for museum or exhibition prints.


Moab Lasal Photo Matte

A hybrid paper of sorts, the Moab Lasal Photo Matte is a photo paper without the resin coating. In its place there’s a white matte finish, making it exceptionally receptive to the color white to retain image sharpness. This quality makes it a great general-use paper that you can count on to truly showcase everything from presentations and posters to portraiture and fine art. Perfect for general-use paper. 

Moab Lasal Photo Matte PaperMoab Lasal Photo Matte Paper

Ultimately, there’s no wrong choice for your print project—it comes down to your personal preference. If you have any questions, please reach out to our printing team. They’re professional photographers with over 25 years of combined experience. Our print specialists can help answer any additional questions you might have. 

 Still unsure? Order a printed digital sample packet to see how different visual styles appear on various paper options.

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February 9, 2024
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