Printing Paper

Holy moly!
I’m slowly learning to print and frame my own photos, but I’ve discovered that finding the right paper to print on can be very difficult. There are a lot of choices, and they all vary in texture, color, thickness, glossyness and available sizes.

I started with Hahnemühle Fine Art Byrata FB, which is probably still my favorite paper to print on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come in 17x25. Next I found Red River paper, which has a lot of choices in 17x25. I started with their Red River Palo Duro Byrata Fiber 300, because it sounds very similar to the first paper I used. However, it turns out that it’s not really that similar. The texture is much finer, and it’s a bit of an off-white color. Since these papers are kind of pricy, I decided to go try a sampler pack, so I bought two Red River sampler pack to see if I could find a paper I like better.

Here are the ones I’ve tried so far.

paper finish color texture scale
Aurora Art White 300 Matte White Smooth
Polar Metallic Lustre 250 Satin Metallic Very Fine
Palo Duro Baryta Fiber 300 Semigloss Natural Fine
UltraPro Luster 300 Semigloss White Very Fine
Big Bend Baryta 310 Semigloss Natural Medium
UltraPro Gloss 2.0 Glossy White Medium
Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag Semigloss Natural Fine

My favorite, the Hahnemühle Fine Art Byrata FB is a white semigloss with a fairly large texture scale. The texture scale makes lights reflecting in the paper less busy, which I think I like. Unless I missed something, it doesn’t seem like Red River paper has a paper that matches what I want, so now I’ve ordered sampler packs from Moab, Hahnemühle and Canson, maybe I can find a paper I like even better… :slight_smile: If not, I’m just going to order the Hahnemühle Fine Art Byrata FB in a 17-inch wide roll and cut it to the right size myself. I might want to do that anyways since my printer can print up to 17x47 inches. :slight_smile:

Found a page that expands upon my comparison above:

It’s all rather unhelpful without seeing the results in person though.

I think this page explains and shows better the differences:

I guess I got lucky when I picked the paper I first tried on my Canon PIXMA PRO-200, but I found it really hard to scale the image to print without borders.

You might want to look for paper of a different size.
I find the standard paper sizes to be too square for some of my pictures.

It honestly all comes down to trial and error with your machine and conditions. I’ve only ever had one batch of paper that was zero issues over the life of the supply. It was from Red River and it had a mild texture to it and was that batch that had a faint light blue to it before printing. I always could rely on it for nature and scenic and then found out it worked even better with portraits.

LMK what you figure out.

Got the Moab sample pack today.
Most of the samples are matte papper, which I’m not terribly interested in, at least not right now. Of the non-matte papers, one is metallic, and the other two have fine textures which I’m not really interested in, at least not right now.

Some of the matte papers are pretty, but I’m not sure what i would use them for. Hopefully the next sample pack will have more interesting paper.

Got the sample pack from Canson Infinity. Again, almost all the papers are matte, not sure why. Am I buying the wrong sampler, or do people really like matte papers for some reason I don’t quite understand?

Three down, one to go.

Matte is usually given since people are putting the images under glass/plastic.

I did try one of the matte papers from Red River Paper, but the colors were not as vivid, and the blacks not as deep, so I didn’t really like it. Maybe a different matte paper would be better. The Hahnemühle Fine Art Byrata FB is sort of glossy, but not like a glossy photo paper, and I think it looks great behind glass.

Is the thought that using matte paper will avoid more glare?
I’m not quite sure I understand why putting a picture under glass means that it shouldn’t be glossy.

Hahnemühle apparently has multiple sample packs. Luckily it seems I bought the one most interesting to me: The “Glossy Fine Art” sample pack. It should arrive tomorrow.

Yes, the idea being that there won’t be a reflective or mirrored-mirroring coming off of the glass and the glossy paper together giving a cleaner view from a distance.

I wonder if it isn’t more a matter of getting the right glass?
I tried getting some cheap frames from Amazon, and the PE plastic they came with was awful. The glare was terrible, they would attract dust through static electricity and they were so thin that they wouldn’t stay flat.

The frames I have with real glass are much better. I’ve seen that there are some expensive glass/plastic options out there with anti-glare, uv-protection and a bunch of other things, but I haven’t tried those.

All I ever used to use on good prints was stuff from the local independent picture framing place. Occasionally a piece from RoadRunner glass. Never went full hoity-toity.

So, I finally got the Hahnemühle Glossy Fine Art sample pack a few days ago.
After printing and inspecting the results, I’ve come to the following conclusion: I like all the Hahnemühle papers, and picking a favorite is hard. I think my top three are:

  • Hahnemühle Baryta FB
  • Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta
  • Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta

The Satin, Perl and Metalic papers are also great, and offer slightly different textures and levels of glossyness.

The FineArt Baryta seems to have the most coarse texture, but I’m not sure if maybe it is too coarse or not. The Baryta FB seems to have a slightly off-white bluish tone to it. I’m not sure exactly how that interacts with photo colors, but it has looked great with the photos I have printed so far.

Ultimately, Amazon made the choice of paper for me. Only one of the three papers above were available in 17-inch rolls on amazon: The Baryta FB. As mentioned earlier I have some 17x22-inch Baryta FB already, so I’ll be using the roll when I want different sizes.

For anybody who’s doing photo printing/framing out there, I highly recommend this sample pack. I know glossy prints isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but getting this pack may change your mind. :slight_smile:

Hahnemühle does a pretty good job of showing off the texture of these papers on their site, saves me the trouble of trying to capture it in pictures:

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