How to choose the best paper for your prints - outside-inPhotography

How to choose the best paper for your prints

SmugMug offers a number of paper choices for printing your images. These can often be overwhelming. Which paper will yield the best results for my print? What do I do if I don't like the print that came in the mail?  This blog post will help you pick the best paper for my images and, give you some pointers on what to do if the print you got doesn't seem right.

Using a 3rd party printer is both convenient and challenging. Your order on SmugMug will be completed using Bay Photo and mailed directly to you. The good part is that you end up getting your print much more quickly than if you ordered it directly from me. sometimes it takes me a while to fit the printing and shipping into my busy schedule. The bad part is that I don't get to review the print quality before you get it.

Below you will find some guidelines for choosing papers for black and white images as well as for color images. These are suggestions and there are always exceptions to the rule, but I believe that the chances for success are greater if you follow this advice.

The best paper choices for black and white prints

There are a lot of good options for black and white prints on the print menu, but there are some that I would steer away from as well. It is easier to discuss the media to avoid first so here goes. I suggest that you avoid using the metallic papers or printing on metal directly (aluminum prints). These print mediums have a hard time avoiding unwanted color casts and often have problems representing all the tones in the image. 

Both the luster and glossy papers will give better neutrality and tonal reproduction. Canvas can also be good for some types of images. The blacks will not be as dark on canvas so keep that in mind when selecting media that is appropriate for the image you have chosen. 

The keepsakes can also be nice. I have had good results with items I have ordered in the past.

I hope that this helps you select the best media for your black and white image.

The best paper choices for color prints

Choosing the best media for your color print is a little easier. I don't have any types of media for you to avoid but there are some types of printing material that will enhance certain types of images. Images with strong or saturated colors often look stunning on metallic surfaces, both metallic papers and directly on metal (aluminum print). The metallic surface helps bring a sparkle to the color. If you are buying an image that has more subtle hues then you might consider using a luster paper or one of the many canvas options. Keep in mind that you will lose some detail when printing on canvas.

What to do if your print isn't right

Someone made a mistake, it happens! But don't worry, if this happens to you we can get it straightened out.  SmugMug has a Great Print Guarantee that provide either a refund or a reprint so long as you contact them within 30 days. To get help with your print simply email 

help@smugmug.com and they will get it fixed. 

If you would prefer a hand made print then you can contact me at Kevin @ o-i photo . com  (remove the anti-spam-bot spaces in that address before using). I don't handle as many different types of print media as Bay Photo does but you can be assured that I will send you a print that meets my specifications.


As always, you can contact me with any questions you might have.


Thanks,


-Kevin