The Features and Benefits of Matte Photo Paper

By: Sunil Punjabi

Matte photo paper is quite the opposite of glossy paper as far as photographic printing is concerned. While glossy paper is known for its shiny finish, the matte finish is used when you need a sombre or dull finish. There is no lustre in the matte finish which is exactly the kind of requirement it is used for. One of the biggest benefits of matte finish is that it is ideal for photos which will be framed and kept at the bedside table or near windows where there could be light from outside or from lamp shades. The dull finish makes sure that the photo retains its clarity and visibility unlike in case of glossy finish where the reflective nature of the photo can make it unclear or hazy.

Matte photo paper is also popular when you have to pass on the photographic prints across. When many people handle the print, a glossy paper could end up with smudges and finger marks. The oily look could really steal a lot from the actual beauty of the photo. However, matte finish could be excellent even when handled by a lot of people. One must note that there are matte and semi-matte varieties which can be very different from each other. Similarly, you might not be able to use matte finish in cases where there is plenty of detail involved in the photos. This is because traditionally matte finish is known to absorb more ink which could lead to loss of detail in some cases, especially for close up portraits or macro shots.

Matte photo paper could be very soft and smooth and the non-reflective surface makes it a good choice for photos inside brightly lit stores or malls. Similarly, semi matte comes with a sheen that is far less than glossy paper. The smooth surface looks attractive for certain types of photos like business documents and black and white or sepia prints. In fact, a lot of times, one can notice that glossy paper is chosen by novice photographers while matte finish is picked up by professionals. This is because as your eye improves for the quality of the photograph, you tend to go for a finish that brings out the beauty to a greater extent instead of glossiness, whose richness could actually dominate the quality and content of the photo.

Matte photo paper is used for photos for its ability to create less distracting elements, which are introduced through reflections in glossy paper. Darker blacks can be printed better in case of matte finish rather than in glossy finish. When texture and detailing are very critical to the photo, a lot of people tend to choose the matte finish over the glossy finish. That is why when it comes to high quality images matte which is usually more expensive compared to glossy paper, is preferred. For showing off photos with great imagery and concepts rather than rich colours, matte finish is preferred. At the end of the day, the finish proves ideal in bright spaces where there is lot of light. Matte photo paper usually can be printed on both sides, unlike most gloss photo paper.

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