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Lustre or Glossy for photo competition?

Ryan Callahan , Jan 22, 2010; 10:20 p.m.

Hello all,
I am entering a nature/wildlife photography contest at a local university, and I need to know what finish to get on my prints. My photographs are your typical non-landscape nature photos that include some birds, and rock formations (shot at Arches National Park, Utah, a highly photographed place, but i'm hoping I got some unique shots). I want my photographs to look as professional as possible, so the question is should I have my final prints done in glossy or lustre finishes? (the prints will be done at Costco for the time being on Fujicolor crystal archive papers). I am also willing to look into ordering matte, metallic, silk or royal glossy (Kodak) papers online, but the lustre or glossy finishes are preferable. keep in mind that i'm only 14, so this will be my very first serious show!
I would really appreciate any input that you guys have.
Ryan C.


Nathan Gardner , Jan 22, 2010; 10:28 p.m.

I don't know what you mean by lustre finish, but I prefer mine to be matte.

Angel Bocanegra , Jan 22, 2010; 10:42 p.m.

Lustre finish is a paper available from kodak and distributed by Adorama from their premium paper selection. I much prefer Lustre over Glossy since Lustre is a combination of matte and glossy. I would choose Lustre. Glossy and matter are the most common paper types amateurs use.

You will be pleased with silk. Kodak decided to discontinue that paper and its my favorite. Adorama still has it and you should order that. Downside is the biggest size they have is 11x14

Alan Marcus , Jan 23, 2010; 02:00 a.m.

When it's for a contest, hand-down, use gloss.

An outdoor scene in bright sun has a range that exceeds 2000:1. Films and digital chips will record an 8 f/stop range with detail in the shadows and highlights. Each stop being a 2x change that's 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2= 256:1. That is quite a compression of the actual. If you doubt this, consider that you and would need sunglasses to view if you could capture the genuine range.

Now a glossy has a range of 6 f/stops, that 64:1. A luster is 5 f/stops 32:1 and a matte is 16:1 or 4 f/stops.

Now some subjects look good on luster or matte but an outdoor sunny day will fare better on gloss.

Kevin Delson , Jan 23, 2010; 07:31 p.m.

I'll agree with Alan's math, but not necessarily his choice for contest useage.

Gloss resting comfortably under glass in it's frame, looks absolutely horrible to me, causing the viewer, be it the judges or visitors, to move their heads side to side in a attempt to reposition the glare that is all over the place.

Great choice for photo editors if they desire a portfolio review via paper media, but a bad choice under glass, be it anti-reflective glass or not.

There are paper alternatives out there. Mat, Gloss and Lustre are not the end of the list.

Kevin Delson , Jan 23, 2010; 07:47 p.m.


look as professional as possible, (the prints will be done at Costco

Not Costco...costco is not the place to take prints for professional gallery results.
Look into some of the better online labs that will work with ICC profiles....when you find one, be sure to include a guide print if you can for color and contrast guidance. If you can't produce a guide print, your screen needs to be calibrated. You should also be editing in the widest possible color space and then soft proofing prior to saving.

You did say "professional results"; right?

Nathan Meador , Jan 23, 2010; 08:46 p.m.

I use smugmug and love the lustre prints. They also do silk and several others, but I've not tried them. I have used metallic but for pics of shiny objects so not sure how nature photos would come across...but for a competition I don't think I'd go that route.

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