Does Paper Matter?

Everything that is done to a photograph is carefully thought out. You study reviews and articles when buying a new piece of gear. You test that piece of gear, purchase it and then practice with it in order to get that one photograph. You spend hours planning out the right trip, studying where the best shots come from and do all your prep work so that you’re ready when the time comes. Then once you have that shot you go back into the computer and finish that image on your color calibrated monitor. Lots of work goes into every photograph before it is ever seen by anyone else. So if you’re going to print why not be picky about your paper?! Does paper matter? Absolutely!!


Over the last month I have been printing with the Epson SureColor P400 printer and it’s doing an amazing job! I have been trying multiple types of gloss, matte and canvas papers to see what the results would be. Every paper has its own unique signature that makes it different. Whether its the thickness, the yield, the texture, is it glossy, is it not, does it look good without direct light and most importantly how does it relate to the subject. All of these things matter but the subject is key! Ever image has a different feel to it and thus when printed the paper can enhance or detract from that feeling. For instance the metallic surfaces of planes look great on a glossy paper because that gloss is enhancing the already perceived notion in our minds of that smooth aluminum surface. A textured paper has the same effect when looking at a Bison in its thick winter coat. The subject is everything.

Every image you see here was printed on Epson paper. I’ve been using Epson paper for years because I like the results. But if you want to know what paper looks best when printing wildlife or landscapes, airplanes, or even people then you need to study your papers and know your clientele to find the optimal choice. The best way to do this is to go play. Purchase some paper that would’ normally and see for yourself what the differences are. There is no way to read or see an image of a type of paper and understand what the results will be. You have to see it and feel it for yourself to understand the difference. To truly master your craft you have to put in the extra effort.

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