Choosing the right photo paper for printing is one of the most important factors in producing great prints. Be it pictures or text, you usually just borrow what's in
the copier. But the right printer photo paper makes an immense difference in print quality. To make the right choice, we must know the basics of selecting and printing
on paper for general use and pictures.
1. Paper Basics:
To choose the right photo paper for the required print keep in mind the opacity, brightness, weight, caliper and finish. First, it is important to know what you are
printing. Black and white documents are very different from full color photos. There are some multipurpose papers which are good for both. But if you want crisp, vibrant
photos that will last a long time, then of course you need to use paper which is designed just for photos.
This means how see-through is the paper. The more the opacity, less of the printed text will bleed through to the other side. This is especially important for
double-sided prints. High opacity paper is considered good for documents such as brochures, newsletters and calendars. Photo papers have high opacity of about 94-97
Paper weight is expressed in pounds (lb.) or as grams per square meter (g/m2).This ranges from light weight newsprint to very heavy cardboard. Mostly quality business
paper is 20 to 24 pound bond; the greeting card paper is heavier, usually in the range of 60 - 65 lb.
Brightness basically means the amount of light reflected from the surface of the paper. Higher brightness will produce crisper text with better contrast and a
brighter background for color and images. It is expressed in numbers 1 to 100. Photo papers have brightness number in high 90's. But then not all papers are labeled with
their brightness rating. You will simply have to compare two or more papers side by side to measure up their brightness.
This is basically the thickness of the paper. Thickness affects its handling; whether the paper is stiffer and will resist creases and tears etc. Its unit of
measure is 'mil'. Photo paper is usually 7 to 10 mils thick.
The finish of the paper can be matte glossy with lessening degrees of glossiness as semi-gloss, soft-gloss or satin-gloss. It is the coating on paper as glossy photo
paper gives the printed photos the look and feel of photographs. Glossy papers take time in drying as the coating keeps the paper from readily absorbing the ink.
However, quick dry gloss finishes are available nowadays. Mirror-like finish of high-gloss media is preferred for color photographs and smooth matte finishes for
black and white photographs and business documents.
7. Type of ink used:
After understanding the paper basics the next point of consideration is the type of ink being used. Inkjet printers use either dye-based or pigment-based inks. Some
papers are compatible with dye-based inks and some yield superb results with pigment-based inks and some are attuned to both ink types. Generally photo-quality
desktop inkjet printers use dye-based inks. Listed below are a few of the well-known pigment-based printer modals available at present. EPSON STYLUS Photo 2000P, EPSON
STYLUS Photo 2100 and 2200, EPSON C70, C80 and C82. So if your printer does not fall in the mentioned modal number, it uses dye-based inks.