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Inkjet Paper - Why Inkjet Printer Paper Matters
Inkjet printers are arguably today's most versatile printers. They print black and white documents quickly and flawlessly, and they can be used for a variety of different color printing needs including photographs, signs, invitations, labels, cards and presentation materials. You'll be surprised at the professional quality of your inkjet printing jobs when you select the right printer paper. Need paper? We recommend Amazon: Buy Inkjet Paper Now
Successful printing requires the inkjet paper to have exactly the right degree of absorbency to accept the ink but prevent its sideways spread. And for whichever type of printer paper you select, the settings in the printer driver must be adjusted to suit the paper, so that the right amount of ink is delivered.
Inkjet Paper CharacteristicsThere are really five main characteristics to consider when selecting inkjet paper for a project:
Photo paper comes packaged and precut in the most popular sizes. When selecting your ideal photo paper, remember to consider what type of finish you'd like your pictures to have. Higher quality photo papers for more critical work are thicker and have advanced coatings, sometimes with quick-drying properties. They can normally only be printed on one side, because only one side has the special coating. There are a few papers suitable for double-sided printing.
Top brands like Epson make glossy, semi-gloss, matte, semi-matte, fine art and luster finish papers for different kinds of printing projects. If you're feeling really creative, try using Lexmark or Xerox transparency film to create masterful presentations or eye-catching overlays for invitations.
The type and texture of the photo paper you use directly relates to how well your prints will look. If you treasure photos, use photo paper and ink that help ensure prints last long and are light and water resistant. Some premium photo papers resist fading for 25 to 50 years and have the look and feel of traditional photographs.
Specialty Papers for Printing Projects
So which inkjet paper is the right paper for the job? Actually, all of the above: you probably need to keep more than one type of inkjet paper on hand, because the one you use will depend on the type of project you're working on.
The above factors are the most important to consider when choosing paper for your projects. Be sure to use the right paper for your printer. When choosing copier paper, weight and brightness are most important. For inkjet and laser printers look at opacity and finish. If you will be printing images or creating publications, choose a heavier weight paper with extra brightness.
TL;DR - Quick Guide to Buying Photo Paper
Last week we released a post offering twelve tips to print better photos. As a follow up now, we bring you a quick guide to buying the right photo paper for your prints. According to Ben Jones of PC World, some people will spend very little on the paper, despite spending time and money researching the camera.
While on the surface, all photo paper looks the same, in reality there are several differences and each type is best suited for a specific use. No matter if you are an amateur or professional photographer, it is essential to know how to match up the paper to the photo.
Your primary concern when it comes to paper should be its finish. There are several different options which include glossy, matte, or textured finishes. Below we have outlined characteristics of all of these.
Inside of the "glossy" category, there are two options: gloss and semigloss. A novice may gravitate toward glossy papers because of the seemingly rich colors. This may be perfect for just handing snapshots around with family or friends, but if you are planning on putting the picture in a frame, you will not get the desired results. A gloss finish is very shiny and thus creates reflections that obscure your image. Putting the picture under glass with double the glare created by the finish.
The second option as we said before was a matte finish. Matte paper does not create any reflections and will actually give you darker blacks than gloss paper which will improve your contrast. In situations where detail and texture are critical, matte paper is preferable over gloss because of its ability to show finer detail. Another option for showing off your photos is canvas. This is ideal for photos you want to frame because it combines the fine detail of the matte finish with the vibrant colors of gloss. The lack of glass in front of the image also helps to prevent reflections. However, you should be aware that because canvas generally has a rough surface, that it is susceptible to showing off the bumps on the surface when under lighting from the side.
The final option in this section is "art" paper. These, too, have a matte finish and have some texture to them, much like paper that would be used for doing a water color picture. They may also have different degrees of color and contrast which can look more "painterly" with a strong yellow or beige background. This type of paper is best suited for things like landscapes or other images with broad ranges of flat color.
Now that we have talked about the various types of paper, we will turn our attention to the durability and longevity of photo paper. As a general rule, any pictures hung or displayed in direct light will fade over time. While pigment-based ink prints will last longer than dye-ink prints, both ultimately will fade. Pigment-based inks are engineered to resist fading the best and can last for over a 100 years without changing and your better dye-based prints can last for 20 years or more. Keep in mind, too, that any claims over the fade resistance of a photo are based on the use of very specific paper guidelines which should be outlined in the fine print of your printer manual. Also, if the paper is supposed to last 50 years, that does not mean that in the year following, your picture could be gone. The year marker is just how long it will go without beginning to show any signs of change.
Another variable to consider is the whiteness of the paper. If you want bright white paper, that is certainly up to you, but be aware that to create that level of brightness, there are whitening chemicals involved. This means that while the printer may be perfectly white when it is run through your printer, but the whiteness may shift towards yellow in just a few weeks which may subtlety change your picture. For the best results, it is safer to not use paper with artificial brighteners in it. If you can't tell, look at both sides of the paper and if the printing side is considerably whiter than the other, it most likely has been brightened.
The next consideration are your printer settings themselves. If you haven't noticed before, in the print dialog box it gives you the option of selecting the type of paper you want to print on. In the case of third-party paper, there should be instructions as to what to select for best results with respect to your brand of printer. If color management is also part of your printer setup, then check with your paper vendor to see if they have pre-made color profiles that match up to your printer as well. As we have said before, the brand of your paper and your printer have a considerable amount to do with the overall quality of what you print. To really get the best results, you should only use HP paper in an HP printer, as so forth. HP, Canon, and Epson all sell a wide variety of paper so you should be able to find something suitable for your needs. The specific paper will also likely be included in your printer driver as well. There are other choices in terms of quality paper. PC World specifically mentions Hahnemuehle, Red River, Moab, Ilford, Inkpress, Museo, and Innova. For $20, you can get a sample of nine different types of paper from Hahnemuehle. If you are feeling particularly brave or bold, you can buy handmade paper, but it is best to avoid one with a lot of dust because it can impact the insides of your printer.
Basically the key thing to keep in mind when you look at all of these factors is that you get what you pay for. Cheaper paper while it will cost you less initially, and the results will not be of the same quality if you had bought more expensive paper. The only way you can tell how your prints will look though is to experiment.