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Glossy vs. Matte

Maija Athena , Jun 04, 2008; 03:57 p.m.

When printing photos from 4x6 to 11x14, which finish do you prefer? And why? Are there types of photos (i.e. landscape, portrait) that you feel look better in one vs. the other? Thanks!


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Bryan Tan , Jun 04, 2008; 04:22 p.m.

Pearl. Because it's brighter than matte, has texture but doesn't hurt my eyes like glossy? Or maybe I just can't make up my mind.

Alan Peed , Jun 04, 2008; 04:44 p.m.

I happen to like the 4x6 glossy color prints i get when i get my 35mm and APS film developed at Rite Aid. I tried a "pro" shop down the road, and he made the 4x6 prints with a matte finish. But they just didnt seem to look as vibrant, as clear, as brilliant, as the Rite Aids. I shoot Fuji ISO 200 Color film, and they process using std C-41 process.

Andrew Gale , Jun 04, 2008; 04:49 p.m.

The larger the photo, the more matte I like them. I find that huge glossy prints turn into mirrors and you cant see the photo as well as your face. So, I print small things on pearl or luster and sometimes even glossy, and larger things on matte paper. If you frame them under low reflectance glass, or rather plexiglass, large prints also look nice on slightly more glossy paper.

Ronald Moravec , Jun 04, 2008; 05:24 p.m.

Glossy color is strictly amateur. My prolab does not even stock it for wedding and event photography.

J Holladay , Jun 04, 2008; 06:07 p.m.

Glossy is amateur? Based on what? That's kind of silly. I think it really comes down to personal preference.

David Scott , Jun 04, 2008; 06:18 p.m.

Whether it's pro or not, I prefer matte.

The lack of glare, and the subtle random shading from the slight texture of matte paper give the prints a feeling of infinite detail -- like the closer you look, the more you will see. Similar to film grain. It gives you the impression of detail and contrast.

I am alway unimpressed by the plastic look of glossy prints.

Ton Mestrom , Jun 04, 2008; 06:28 p.m.

"Glossy color is strictly amateur"

Ronald, as far as I'm concerned you deserve a price for one of the most hilarious statements I've seen in a long time.

Randall Ellis , Jun 04, 2008; 07:10 p.m.

Depending on what the subject warrants I'll print on anything from glossy to watercolor paper (obviously using historic process for that last). I tend to print on glossy when I want a sharper appearing print (it just seems sharper to my eye) and matte when I am working toward other ends. There are times when the texture of the paper changes the way I see the print, so I don't use hard and fast rules, rather I keep smaller lots of various papers on hand so that they get used before they get old and I can still have a nice selection.

- Randy

Bob Camarena , Jun 04, 2008; 08:13 p.m.

I prefer the traditional look of fiber-based glossy B&W paper dried matte. Its look is classic and kind of in between today's digital glossy and matte papers but without the texture found in most manufacturers' "pearl" papers.

The closest approximation I've used is Hahnemuhle's fineart pearl, which has minimal texture and comes close to the classic look. It's a very nice paper but it's comparatively expensive. I'd like to see the mainstream manufacturers such as Epson and HP come out with something similar at a price point comparable to their glossy and matte papers.

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