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Making prints: glossy vs. matte. vs. semi-gloss
When do you make prints glossy/semi-gloss/matte? I noticed that shutterfly offers all three options, and I don't know how to choose. It seems like different types of photography may lend themselves to certain types...

Comments (5)

I use all of them! It depends on many things: what the client wants; where they will be displayed; the light they will be displayed in; if/how they will be framed; glass, or no glass; and what I think looks best...

Comment #1

Tscheese wrote:.

I use all of them! It depends on many things: what the client wants;where they will be displayed; the light they will be displayed in;if/how they will be framed; glass, or no glass; and what I thinklooks best..

Say you're talking about an 8x10 print getting matted behind glass, which will be displayed under fluorescent office lights?..

Comment #2

Re>It seems like different types of photography may lend themselves to certain types.<.

And RE your in-an-office scenario..

Photography actually involves taste and imagination, and the use of eyes and brains..

Art and esthetics are involved..

So, you look at a picture, and you decide..

In the world of taste by geography, Americans like flashy glossy prints, and Europeans like understated matt finishes..

But that's pretty general, and based on the sales of photographic papers..

BAK..

Comment #3

Czeglin wrote:.

When do you make prints glossy/semi-gloss/matte? I noticed thatshutterfly offers all three options, and I don't know how to choose.It seems like different types of photography may lend themselves tocertain types..

Here's another very general observation about the finish of papers..

With film negatives that I printed myself I tended to go with glossy for photo's with fine details. Still life or scenics would be examples. For portraits a more textured paper might be more appropriate. In reality those were just starting points to the thought process. Where and how the prints would be displayed and the lighting they would be in were more important..

I no longer do my own prints with digital. I find that a lab can produce better results less expensively than I am able. The lab I like to work with has a nice grade of lustre paper that works very well for prints I would have made myself on glossy..

As a starting point, for prints that require the finest detail consider glossy or lustre, for more dream-like image consider softer, textured papers. Adjust from there based on the more important factors involved with the presentation of the print...

Comment #4

Glossy generally gives the brightest colours, fien details are very good, reflects more light, so is hardest to view without reflections, and fingerprints tend to show up. Gloss papers tend to have ink deposited on the surface, so may take longer to dry and the ink can fade quicker when exposed to the environment..

Semi-gloss/lustre gives great colours, maybe not quite as bright as glossy, fine details are still quite good, reflects light a bit less, so is slightly easier to view when considering reflections from lights, and fingerprints don't tend to show. Depending on the type of semi-gloss/lustre paper, the ink may be absorbed mroe into the paper, so it dries quicker and can be more resistant to fading due to environmental effects over time..

Matte depends on the type. Matte photo paper labs often use may give colours that are slightly less bright again than lustre paper, fine details may be slightly less, lights are reflected even less for easier viewing and fingerprints aren't a problem..

Fine art matte papers (like cotton rag, etc) produce colours that are noticeably more muted and less contrasty, fine detail is not so good, reflections from bright light sources are virtually non-existent, so viewing from most angles is very easy, and fingerprints aren't a problem. These papers have a certain look to them that some people like regardless of colour, contrast and detail limitations. I think these papers also need a fair amount of ink and may take longer to dry than some other papers, but I don't know for sure..

In the end, it's personal preference. A luster/semi-gloss paper is often a good compromise that provides great images and a reasonable viewing experience and is easy to handle..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #5

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