Select The Right Photo Paper Finish To Suit Your Purpose

There is a wide variety of high-end photo papers available to print your photographs or digital artwork. Depending on the purpose of your print, you’ll want to choose a different finish: matte, glossy, satin or luster, metallic, poster, or fine art are some popular choices.

At a professional printing shop, the staff will help you choose which is best-suited to your needs. Here is a primer to give you an idea of which type will make your artwork look brilliant and sharp.

You can find the selections described below at a top quality, professional online printing service like Print Partner as well as mediums like metal, acrylic, and canvas wraps. Photo prints can come in a wide range of sizes and presentations, depending on the medium. It’s easy to upload your high-quality digital file to their site and choose your parameters for medium and size and have your piece delivered. They also do B2B services across North America.

It’s important to have your image professionally printed because the quality standard is much higher – gallery and museum grade.


These papers have a flat and shine-free finish. No fingerprints or glare from the sun will show on this type of paper. It can therefore withstand being touched more often than other types below. If your piece or selection of photos are to be handled, this is a good choice. It’s also a great choice for posters and enlargements. Look for matte paper that is 180 gsm weight, bright white, with a smooth surface. Prints will have enhanced character, high colour reproduction, highly saturated colours with distinct highlight and lowlights. If the paper is semi-matte, watch that it will have some characteristics of a satin or luster paper.


This is the most common type of paper for printing regular photographs. It’s smooth and produces vibrant colour and sharp details. Though fingerprints will mark this type of paper, it’s great for displaying at home or for a gallery show with a frame to protect it. Images are sharp, and glossy is excellent for landscapes, scenery, architecture, competition prints, and product photography. Look for resin-coated 300 gsm paper that offers a full gamut of colours.

Satin or Luster

These finishes, with names that are often interchangeable, have excellent and pure colour reproduction. Bright colours especially pop when presented on this paper, but it can also reveal subtle nuances. It’s smooth and satiny, but unlike glossy, doesn’t reflect as much light on the surface. It’s thick, heavy, and durable and great for displaying all types of images professionally or in the home. It won’t show fingerprints or glare on the surface, like matte paper. Look for a resin-coated 300 gsm paper.


A smart choice for professionals printing portraits, commercial displays, and prints for competitions. This unique finish produces high gloss images with vibrancy and dynamic dimension. Blacks look particularly rich and dense with a superior colour gamut and contrast range. It’s also durable and highly resistant to scratches. Look for a warm toned 300 gsm paper with a pearl-like surface.


If you’re after a classic darkroom look and feel, this paper also has great black density and sharpness for images. Professional photographers and artists will appreciate the qualities of these semi-gloss or luster finished papers. Black & White images look spectacular on this style. Look for 310 gsm museum grade paper.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.