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1996 Custom Photo Lab Blog

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Photo Mounting

Matte or Glossy?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Glossy or matte? The age old question that is bound to come up when printing photos. While both have their unique charms, which one is better? That is entirely up to the photographer and or the one getting the photos printed. Both have their own unique charm and each offer something different to the photo and while this is so, there are always pros and cons to consider.

When choosing between the two kinds of paper, sometimes one might draw us in more than the other and it all depends on the look and feel we want the end result to hold.

Matte paper tends to look clean and you won’t find your fingerprints sticking to the photograph, it’s easy to handle, and isn’t shiny and therefore isn’t prone to glare. It also holds a highly professional look but also brings in an old school feel to your photograph. The one issue that some people might find with it is that it could dull the colours of your photograph. Matte paper is a timeless option all in all and if you’re selling your prints or if you’re gifting them maybe leaning towards matte is a better choice. Matte is especially a good choice when making displays of photographs especially at a larger scale. Matte paper can undergo more handling but that doesn’t mean it isn’t prone to being worn out. It is however more durable than glossy paper and here’s why.

Glossy paper is very attractive for sure, has a clean sheen to it and adds that pop of colour your photographs you may lack when you go for matte paper. It looks youthful and glowing but while that’s all good, there’s a tendency for fingerprints and small specs of dust to stick to it. If you’re going to be handling the photograph a lot then really, glossy paper might not be the go-to. Even a small touch will leave an evident mark upon it and taking it out even once or twice will leave dust specs that you cannot take off. That being said, sometimes photos on glossy paper can look more professional due to how vivid the image appears when printed on it and it can offer a better resolution. It’s sharper and comes with cleanliness that the former may not offer.

This however varies what professional use you want to put your photo to. If you’re framing it and displaying it you need to take mood into consideration and of course following your artistic intuition comes into play. If it’s more so a gallery showing matte might be a better option because it’s easier to see and won’t have that glare from the lighting. Glossy paper tends to stick to the glass in picture frames which is an issue when displaying your photographs. When choosing the paper, really think about the setting it’s going into. If it’s a gift what kind of feel does the person like better?

In the end it’s to each their own really, but keep in mind what uses you want from your photograph and assess which is better with the help of the pros and cons of both types of paper.


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