Making Sense of Paper Choices

If you want archive quality photos, have them printed on professional quality paper.  Professional paper is heavier, lasts longer and is surprisingly cheap.  For example, a 4 by 6 print on Kodak Endura Supra is 21 cents at Smugmug.

There are five photographic paper types you’re likely to find at high-end online print shops.

Kodak Supra Endura – This is an all-purpose professional Kodak paper.  It comes is a range of finishes, including glossy, matte, lustre and silk.
Kodak Metallic – Also called Endura Metallic, this paper is something you have to see in person to appreciate.  The images aren’t just glossy; they seem to actually glow.  I haven’t tried framing a metallic print, so I’m not sure how the “glowiness” looks under glass.  If you’re curious to see how metallic paper looks, consider getting a paper sampler from Mpix.
Fuji Crystal Archive – This is Fuji’s all-purpose professional line.  Like Kodak Supra Endura, it comes in a range of finishes.
Fuji Crystal Archive Pearl – This is Fuji’s version of a metallic paper.  According to their website, the paper contains “pearly mica crystals,” which is intriguing to say the least.  I’m planning a post comparing the two side by side.
Ilford True Black and White – Remember yesterday’s post about how a digital file becomes a print?  When color paper is exposed to light and developed, it can have a slight colorcast.  True black and white paper can only turn black and shades of gray, so your photo lacks that colorcast.  It’s really amazing.

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About Rachel

I'm a grad student in the physical sciences at the University of Michigan and mother of one.
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