Inkjet Paper Surfaces

16th September 2015 Papers & Presentation


When choosing a paper there is no real right and wrong with surface types, as almost all can produce excellent results. It really comes down to the image your are printing and the look you want to achieve.

Here we present a quick summary of the different surface types and recommend a few excellent examples of the type.  If you visit the categories directly using the catgeory boxes below, you'll see a wider range of recommendations  and our full range in each section.

Paper is of course highly subjective and it's all about trying things out and exploring! A great way to get started is grabbing a few of our Sample Packs.

Gloss Papers

Gloss papers have very smooth, highly reflective surfaces. Inherently, they offer the punchiest images due to their extremely strong blacks. The gloss surface can be prone to scratching so these papers are not ideal for handling.

Resin coated papers have a layer of smooth plastic in them so tend to be the most smooth and thus the most glossy.  

Fibre based papers always have some fibre structure to them so they never quite achieve the same level of smoothness.  However they are more archival of course.

Very glossy papers can be difficult to frame due to the need for them to be held perfectly flat (indeed high gloss papers need to be so flat that even the mounting glue used can become a significant issue, resulting in a visible 'orange peel' effect - sometimes special pressure sensitive adhesive tissues must sometimes be used!) - and also because of reflection issues when behind glass.

With inkjet printers, particularly pigment ink printers, you will sometimes experience bronzing and gloss differential issues.


Resin coated recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Ilford Galerie Smooth Gloss 310gsm Ilford Galerie Smooth Gloss 310gsm
Canson Infinity Photo HighGloss Premium 315gsm Canson Infinity Photo HighGloss Premium 315gsm

Fibre based recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta 315gsm Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta 315gsm
Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Gloss 310gsm Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Gloss 310gsm

Semi-Gloss / Pearl / Lustre Papers

Semi-Gloss papers have a slight reflective texture but are very robust and stand up well to handling - the surface tends to hide minor imperfections like finger prints and slight scratches.

They offer very deep blacks and have moderate reflection issues.

Again, the come in both resin coated and fibre based form.  In this category, resin coated has no real physical advantage - they're just cheaper because they're made using plastic instead of more fibre.


Resin coated recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl 310gsm Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl 310gsm
Canson Infinity PhotoSatin Premium 270gsm Canson Infinity PhotoSatin Premium 270gsm

Fibre based recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag 310gsm Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag 310gsm
Epson Traditional Photo Paper 330gsm Epson Traditional Photo Paper 330gsm
Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Gloss 310gsm Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Gloss 310gsm
Museo Silver Rag 300gsm Museo Silver Rag 300gsm

Matte Papers

Matte Papers are truly matte - sometimes called ultra-matte, or watercolour papers, and have no reflectivity issues at all. However they do have somewhat weaker blacks. Papers like the excellent Hahnemuehle Photo Rag and Museo Portfolio Rag offer very good blacks that stand up well to normal diffuse lighting conditions, but this surface is not ideal for exhibition under very strong, point exhibition lights.

Smooth matte papers are the very best papers at letting the image speak because there is no surface texture or reflection to interfere with the image.

Textured matte papers can be quite beautiful and particularly with simpler images the paper texture can really add to the substance of the image presentation.


Smooth Matte Recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Museo Portfolio Rag 300gsm Museo Portfolio Rag 300gsm
Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm
Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm
Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag 310gsm Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag 310gsm

Textured Matte Recommendations:

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Hahnemühle Torchon 285gsm Hahnemühle Torchon 285gsm
Hahnemühle German Etching 310gsm Hahnemühle German Etching 310gsm
Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag 310gsm Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag 310gsm
Canson Infinity PrintMaKing Rag 310gsm Canson Infinity PrintMaKing Rag 310gsm