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What type of paper is best for larger landscape photos?

Keith Plumstead , Sep 27, 2010; 02:14 p.m.

I just purchased a new Epson 3880 printer and am not sure what type of paper to buy. I have been printing 8.5 x 11's on my current Epson Artisan 810 using Epson's Ultra Premium Glossy Photo Paper. I'm pretty new at this stuff, but do take my photography seriously. Is there a preferred paper finish for landscape photography? I would like to print the larger size (17 x 22) on my new Epson. Epson doesn't make a 17 x 22 in the Ultra Premium Gloosy, but they do make it in a Luster. I'm guessing there is a reason they don't make the glossy in that size? Which paper would be best for my application? Any help is appreciated...Thanks


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Matt Laur , Sep 27, 2010; 02:19 p.m.

It really depends on the subject matter, and on how you'll mounting/displaying the image. Nothing makes me happier than a nice 17x22 piece of Epson's Velvet Fine Art paper. I generally don't like glossy stock, especially on large prints ... just too much glare, especially if it's going to wind up behind glass. The only way to really answer your question is to try some, of course. Remember that when you switch between glossy (or luster) and matte papers, you lose a bit of black ink as the printer does its dance. So, I try to plan my print jobs around doing a bunch of one type or the other. Definitely give VFA a try, though. It's lovely on certain types of subject matter.

Alan Goldhammer , Sep 27, 2010; 02:32 p.m.

You can drive yourself crazy with all the different types of papers currently available. Some vendors such as Shades of Paper will do up sample packs containing 5 sheets of a particular paper (letter size). You should contact them for current pricing (I recall they go for about $10 per pack) so that you can try different types. These days I mainly print on Museo Silver Rag (glossy) and Museo Portfolio Rag (matte); both papers give great results. Remember you will not get as wide a color gamut or deep blacks with matte papers and you do need to soft proof these papers to get the best results.

Keith Plumstead , Sep 27, 2010; 02:39 p.m.

Epson claims that their Luster paper maintains the highest color gamut. Any thoughts on Luster paper? A large print like this will probably be framed behind glass. Not sure what most photographers print their pictures on-a general everyday finish. Matte? I will be calibrating whatever paper I decide to use with my ColorMunki (if this makes a difference). Thanks

Matt Laur , Sep 27, 2010; 02:49 p.m.

If I'm making a print that I expect to hand to someone, knowing they'll be handling it themselves, passing around, and perhaps doing a frame-it-yourself effort ... then I'll use Epdon's Luster. If I'm doing all the work, and know that I can protect the more delicate surface of the a paper like VFA, then I'll be more comfortable using that.

Keith Plumstead , Sep 27, 2010; 02:52 p.m.

Is Luster the same as glossy?

Keith Plumstead , Sep 27, 2010; 02:56 p.m.

I think I'll give the VFA a try. I've never seen this paper before. Do I need to do any extra sharpening or anything to the picture? Or should I just profile the paper and finalize the image as I would any other image in Photoshop? I'm kind of worried about the loss or gain of saturation, but I am guessing that the printer calibration wit this paper should take care of that? Thanks

Monika Epsefass , Sep 27, 2010; 04:22 p.m.

Ooooh, what a question... I just returned from photokina with a stack of paper samples... there are some great ones out there now! One brand, Tecco, feature an "iridium silver glossy" and a "baryta glossy", while another manufacturer, Innova, has Cotton paper which is extremely matte and luminous. They printed landscapes on it, and I was SO amazed.;-)
But depends on whether you like structure in your images or not, else I'd say a very nice lustre paper like the Epson or Canson's platinum fibre, which has a baryta feel to it and an enormous gamut to go with. The price range is still civilized, I feel.

Louis Meluso , Sep 27, 2010; 05:00 p.m.

Yes, Keith, all papers are unique in the amount of sharpening needed but in general, matte papers can take more than luster or glossy. I use the Innova Smooth Cotton Natural papers and have been very happy. I prefer a less textured matte surface.

Do let your matte prints dry throughly before mounting under glazing. I let mine sit for a full week. A final coat of PrintShield UV protection spray will help protect delicate matte surfaces, especially heavy darks, and adds substantial longevity to the life of the print. Give two light coats, spraying in each direction and let dry five minutes between each coat. Use in a well ventilated area. Keep in mind, the bigger the print, the bigger the handling issues. Keep a pair of cotton gloves handy for final prints.

Mirek Elsner , Sep 27, 2010; 05:12 p.m.

Samplers are a great way to familiarize with different kinds of papers. I would recommend samplers from Innova, Hahnemuhle, Canson and Museo. You should also try some Epson Exhibition Fiber.
You will notice that papers have different bases (paper, cotton, polyester or RC), different surfaces and shine (from glossy to watercolor) and that some papers use optical brighteners and some don't. This all has impact on the final character of the print. The samplers are great because they will show you the differences.

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