The choice of paper for your photos can make as big an impact as the photo itself. Think about the effect you want to achieve, consider the paper types available and then make your selection. Keep in mind that paper made by your printer manufacturer is your best bet for compatibility, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If you regularly print photos for a variety of projects, consider stocking your shelf with different types of paper. As you’ll see, there is a paper to fit every job. Be sure to check out our reviews of photo only printers for a list of top rated photo printers.
Three Paper Characteristics that Make a Difference
Paper Thickness and Opacity
Thicker paper is usually preferred for printing photos from an inkjet printer. You’ll have a more traditional photo feel, similar to the photos you receive from a photo lab, and thicker paper is more durable. Thickness is most often measured in “mil” and most inkjet photo papers are between 7 and 10 mil. Opacity is also important. Look for higher opacity ratings if you are going to mount your photos, so the mounting surface will not show through and distort your photo. Inkjet photo papers usually have an opacity rating of 94 to 97.
Once you have selected your paper and are ready to print, follow these tips for trouble-free printing:
Thicker paper can be more prone to paper jams in an inkjet printer. To help prevent mishandled paper, gently fan the sheets of paper to create a small layer of air between them. Opt for manual feed, which is usually the most direct route through the printer. If your printer does not have a manual feed option, print one sheet at a time. If you are using coated or metallic paper, remove and set aside each print to avoid ghosting, the transference of ink from one sheet to another when paper is stacked. With today’s faster drying photo inks and specially formulated papers, ghosting is not the problem it once was, but it is still prudent to avoid stacking until the ink is dry.
Photos may be printed from any inkjet or laser printer, but manufacturers offer printers designed especially for printing photos.
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