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Mark Sincevich

Professional Photography Expert

Photo Paper

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Now that you picked your ideal photographic printer with pigment-based inks for your Epson, HP, or Canon inkjet printer, you will need to pick the proper paper. For the most part, always use the manufacturer’s paper that is made for your printer. If you have an Epson printer, purchase Epson photographic paper and the same holds true with Canon and Hewlett Packard Printers. There is a very good reason for this. Each printer has multiple printer (called ICC) profiles that relate to the various kinds of paper that are used. I normally use two types of Epson paper for general purposes, the Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster and the Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte. For each of these papers, you will have a specialized ICC profile that is designed to provide the optimal ink coverage for that type of paper. These printer profiles are so specialized there is a difference between the Epson Premium Glossy and the regular Epson Glossy paper.

You should always check with your printer manufacturer’s web site under "drivers and support" for the latest printer drivers. Typically your printer drivers will be updated when your computer’s operating system software goes through a major system update. As a rule of thumb, check the manufacturer’s website about every six months. The exception to this rule of thumb is when you want to use a high-end archival quality specialty paper made by Hahnemühle. The Hahnemühle company has been making archival paper for nearly 425 hundred years and is the most preferred paper by museums and galleries for its archival qualities.

If you use this type of paper for your Epson Pigment-based ink printer such as the Epson Photo R1800, then you will definitely want to download the specialized ICC profiles directly from the Hahnemühle site. The recommended Hahnemühle papers also work with the archival inkjet printers with pigment-based inks from Canon and Hewlett Packard. However, I would steer clear from third-party office supply store brand photo paper from such places as Staples and Office Depot. The quality of the output is sub-standard and equally important, the final result will not be archival quality. To investigate a printer’s ink and paper combination for its lightfastness (archival nature), see the Wilhelm Research Imaging website.

The Best of the Best photographic paper period is the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl archival paper. It has an ISO (International Standards Organization) Brightness of 105%, so it is ideal for black and white as well as color photographs. It is triple-coated, lignin- and acid-free, and has a surface similar to sliver gelatin double-weight photo paper. The weight of paper is measured in a metric system, gsm (grams per square meter). Normal typing paper is about 80 gsm, so the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl archival paper is four times this thickness or 320 gsm.

Printing Tips:
Make sure you use Print Preview with your Adobe Photoshop software (available on version 7.0 through CS-3). This feature allows you to select your paper size (done in the Page Setup area) and to see if your image fits on the size paper you select. You can select the color profile too by using the best default setting, Adobe RGB (1998). Turn on black point compression and make sure relative colormetric is selected.

You should always store your prints either in a clear plastic bag made for matted fine art photographs or behind UV coated glass. Your prints ought to be stored at a relative humidity between 35 – 65% and a temperature of 10 – 30 degrees Centigrade (50-86 degrees Fahrenheit), and you want to avoid direct sunlight. To increase the protection of your images, investigate the Hahnemühle Protective Spray. The spray seals the printed surfaces and protects them from dirt, fingerprints, and moisture. It also increases the water-resistance of printouts and protects images from fading caused by UV rays.

Best Photo Paper by Mark Sincevich

The Best You Can Get

  • Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl

    Mark says: The Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl is probably the best archival paper on the planet with a D-Max rating of 2.88! The high D-Max rating allows for a high color gamut resulting in vibrant black and white and color images. The paper is triple-coated and lignin- and acid-free with a surface that is similar to traditional silver gelatin double-weight photo paper. Museums and galleries prefer the Fine Art Pearl paper.

    • Pack count = 50
    • ISO brightness = 105%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 320 gsm
    • Compatibility = Pigment-based inks recommended only (must download specific Epson, Canon, or HP ICC printer profiles)
  • Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin

    Mark says: The Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin paper is available with an innovative Satin coating. The coating is ideal where a slight surface variation is desired. The unprinted areas remain matte in quality while the areas with ink become semi-gloss. The Photo Rag Satin paper is also ideal for photographic albums.

    • Pack count = 50
    • ISO brightness = 92%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 310 gsm
    • Compatibility = Pigment-based inks recommended only (must download specific Epson, Canon, or HP ICC printer profiles)
  • Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White

    Mark says: The Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White gives an extra brilliance to both color and black and white images yielding impeccable image sharpness. The Rag Bright White exceeds the museum standards for Fine Art digital papers. Since it's double-sided, it is also ideal for book making.

    • Pack count = 50
    • ISO brightness = 92.5%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 196 gsm
    • Compatibility = Pigment-based inks recommended only (must download specific Epson, Canon, or HP ICC printer profiles)
  • Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster

    Mark says: The Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster is ideal for printing digital color photographs for accurate color representation and rich vivid blacks. The paper delivers highly-saturated prints with a high D-Max rating and maximum ink coverage.

    • Pack count = 50
    • ISO brightness = 97%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 240 gsm
    • Compatibility = Epson Dye, Archival, & Ultrachrome K3 (Pigment) Inks only
  • Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta

    Mark says: The Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta paper is a brilliant white and has a high gloss finish for an extremely large color gamut and image definition. It also has a high D-Max rating and yields pleasing grey tones for black and white images.

    • Pack count = 20
    • ISO brightness = 103%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 320 gsm
    • Compatibility = Pigment-based inks recommended only (must download specific Epson, Canon, or HP ICC printer profiles)

You will be happy with any of these

  • Hahnemühle Photo Rag

    Mark says: Hahnemühle Photo Rag is a white, 100%-cotton-rag, age-resistant, paper and is printable on both sides. This paper is ideal for printing black and white and color. It is designed specifically to meet the need of photographers using digital photo output. The Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper is coated for excellent sharpness and color graduation and it also offers a high level of water resistance.

    • Pack count = 20
    • ISO brightness = 97.5%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 188 gsm
    • Compatibility = Epson (Pigment-based Inks) Archival, and Ultrachrome K3 Inks
  • Canon Ultra Premium RC Luster

    Mark says: The Canon Ultra Premium RC Luster paper has a smooth luster finish is resin coated for high-resolution photographic output.

    • Pack count = 100
    • ISO brightness = 94%
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 288 gsm
    • Compatibility = Canon Pigment and Dye Based Inkjet printers only
  • Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper

    Mark says: The Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper has the highest D-Max rating of all cotton paper produced by Epson. This is Epson's only 100% cotton rag paper for enhanced longevity. It is also 100% acid free.

    • Pack count = 20
    • ISO brightness = 94%
    • Size in inches = 8.5 x 11
    • Metric weight basis = 192 gsm
    • Compatibility = Epson Dye, Archival, & Ultrachrome K3 (Pigment) Inks Only
  • Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte

    Mark says: The Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte is the best manufacturer-specific paper for printing black and white prints. When this paper is used in combination with the Epson R800 pigment-based inkjet printer, the letter size (8.5 x 11 inch) results are fantastic. The high ISO brightness rating accentuates the highlights, which are ideal for black and white printing.

    • Pack count = 50
    • ISO brightness = 104%
    • Size in inches = 8.5 x 11
    • Metric weight basis = 192 gsm
    • Compatibility = Epson Dye, Archival, & Ultrachrome K3 (Pigment) Inks
  • Hewlett Packard Professional Satin Photo Paper

    Mark says: The Hewlett Packard Professional Satin Photo Paper is designed for the most demanding photographers. It is an exhibition-quality paper for improved image details and depth. It also has uniform image gloss.

    • Pack count = 25
    • ISO brightness = not specified
    • Size in inches = 13 x 19
    • Metric weight basis = 300 gsm
    • Compatibility = HP Pigment and Dye Based Inkjet printers only

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