Have you ever just taken an incredible photo, only for it to print in significantly lower quality than you would have hoped? That is because you are using the wrong type of paper. Photo paper is where it’s at. So, what are the differences between using regular paper and photo paper? That’s what we are here to discuss, as we go through the common questions when it comes to choosing the right paper for your print.

Isn’t Photo Paper A Rip-off?

Although photo paper is expensive, it is an invaluable investment for those that are dedicated to producing excellent prints. If you’re a photographer, this will definitely ring true for you. Of course, you shouldn’t be using photo paper for every print, as there are cheaper types of paper that still provide a cleaner, clearer image than regular paper.

What Is There To Know About Paper?

Before choosing the ideal paper for your prints, it’s important to learn what it is that you’re looking for. In order to achieve a high-quality image, you need to know some important terms when buying your paper:

Weight: A measure of the paper density.

Point Size: A measurement of thickness.

Brightness: The amount of light that is reflected off a blank page. Essentially, the higher the brightness, the more of a colour range there is.

Coated Paper: The “coat” in question is a layer of chemical that bonds to the paper and allows ink to be absorbed more accurately, resulting in higher quality images.

Gloss: This gives inkjet prints a richer depth of colour, resulting in a shiny sheen.

Why Is Coated Paper Better Than Regular Paper?

In inkjet printers, the liquid flows from areas of high concentration to open areas of low concentration. As the ink diffuses into the paper, the paper may tend to be wobbly and the image may not be clear.

The solution to this is using coated paper. They provide a better printing substrate where ink blots rest on the emulsion in a wet state and are neatly absorbed. This means your images stay clean by controlling the absorption of inks.

Why Do Brighter Papers Have Better Colour?

Inkjet printers use the 4 primary colours of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. When the white canvas is on the duller side, the mixture of these colours have less range. As black and white points are closer together on duller papers, the spectrum of available colours is narrower. Brighter papers allow for a richer, fuller spectrum.

Is High Quality Paper a Guarantee of a Great Print?

No, it is not guaranteed that your prints will come out the way you want them to.

While photo paper still offers an increase in colour range, cleaner dots on coated papers and overall higher quality prints when compared to typing papers, there are a wide variety of factors that go into achieving a successful print. This can include:

  • The quality of your printer

  • Whether or not you are using the right ink

  • The quality of the image that you are looking to print

  • Whether or not the image is sized ideally for the type of paper you’re using

So, while using the ideal paper for your image may not definitively assure you a perfect print, it does offer a wide variety of benefits for those that are looking to get more out of their printing setup. In short, whether you’re a professional artist looking to do your work justice, or a parent of two who just wants some fantastic family photos to frame, using the right paper has more benefits than you may think. Good luck!