Printing Your Photographs: Testing Fine Art Papers
Most of the time the basic matte or glossy photo paper is used for a quick print, but I wanted to learn about fine art photography papers and experiment using different genres of images . Hahnemuhle, Canson, Epson, Moab, and Red River are the brands I used to test print. The papers have various coating such as luster, matte, metallic, and canvas.
The printer I use is an Epson P600 wide-format printer. It uses archival pigment high-definition ink, and has nine ink tanks. Roll paper for panoramas can be used as well.
For night landscape and astrophotography, I found the smooth surface papers with gloss, luster, or metallic finishes bring out the detail in the stars.
Hahnemuhle’s matte fiber paper and gloss baryta paper are great for daytime landscapes either in color or black-and-white. The matte fiber paper has smooth color gradation whereas the gloss baryta paper has great color saturation.
For wildlife images, I was really impressed with Canson’s baryta prestige; it shows a lot of detail as well as great color.
Architectural images look amazing on Epson’s hot-press bright matte paper. It has great color range and contrast.
As for cars, aviation, machinery, and fireworks, the very smooth metallic finish papers from Moab have just the right “metal” to enhance these images.
I really enjoyed the highly textured canvas paper from Epson. It did a wonderful job with floral and seascape photographs. The flower looks like a watercolor painting!
Photography is very subjective and so is choosing the paper that best suits the image. I hope the information can help in selecting the right paper for your next print.
Ivan Gonzalez is part of the Astophotography group. You can see his photos on Instagram @ivan_de_terrible
Image info: ‘print test’ — Selection of images and papers used in the test.
‘flower’ — Tulip printed on Epson exhibition canvas.