What is the Best Photo Paper?

There are various types of photo paper and each of them is used for a specific purpose. But what is the best photo paper? The term “best” differs for each person who will be using the photo paper, and so it’s better to understand each and every type of photo paper so that you can decide which one really matches your needs and desires.

Glossy Photo Paper

There are three types of glossy photo paper: high gloss, soft gloss, and standard gloss. The most common photo paper that almost everyone uses is the standard glossy photo paper which can be bought for a very cheap price. Some unknown brands of standard glossy photo paper even sell these photo papers for as low as $1 for 100 sheets. High gloss papers are much better than standard glossy paper primarily because the vividness and life of the colors in the photo stand out very much using these high gloss papers. For soft gloss papers, the prints are not as lustrous but they do not absorb fingerprints, making them resistant to wear. Glossy photo paper is ideal for traditional photo printing which most photographers strive to practice.

Semi-Gloss Photo Paper

What’s great about semi-gloss photo paper is that it isn’t too smudgy, unlike most glossy papers. Semi-gloss paper still allows the images and colors of the photo stand out vividly and it still adds luster to the photo, but not in the extreme way the glossy paper does. Simply stated, if you look at a semi-gloss photo, it’s shiny but not too shiny. This lackluster that semi-gloss papers feature is what makes them very ideal for photos that have very warm and deep colors. The details, instead of the colors, stand out using these papers.

Matte Photo Papers

Matte photo papers are like ordinary paper. They don’t have shine and luster, making them very plain. Instead of making the colors stand out on the surface of the paper as seen on glossy and semi-gloss photo papers, they absorb the colors, keeping the life of the images embedded into the paper. This makes the photos last for a very long time, and fingerprints and other marks are completely repelled by the rough paper surface. Matte photo papers can make colors very distinct and deep.

Other Types of Photo Papers

Some photo paper manufacturers offer other types of photo papers. Most of them are upgraded versions of glossy and semi-gloss papers, like professional gloss, premium gloss, etc. Some of them have different materials like satin photo paper which is an upgraded version of glossy photo paper. The luster of satin photo paper is intense, making the photos beautiful and high resolution. Other photo papers also have other properties like features like fade resistance, color emphasis, and smooth texture.


Knowing what these specific types of photo papers are used for, it will be much easier for you to identify which type is the best photo paper for you to use. Whether you’re printing family photos, producing professional photos for a client, or printing images for office use, you can get a particular photo paper that can really match all of your needs.