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03.06.2020

How to choose your photopaper

Do you have inkjet photo printer Canon, Epson or HP at home or in the studio? Would you like to use a premium photo papers, but hinder you their wide offer ("do not know how to choose") or limited chance of have someone to help you with selection of photo paper? We can help you with these problems - do not hesitate to contact us, we will advise you. And for initial orientation in the field of inkjet photo papers we have for you the following article. How to choose your photo paper will help you, our 7-minute article.

Two photo technologies

The market is dominated by two printer technologies, which are used for the production (printing) of photographs in both the hobby and professional sector:

  • inkjet photo printers
  • thermosublimation (dye-sub, D2T2) photo printers

For each technology, there is unique (irreplaceable) photo paper. Thermosublimation printers are primarily used for kiosk and event photo printing and every thermosublimation printer has a determined type of photo paper made for the printer model. There are three dominant players on the world’s market - producers of thermosublimation photo printers: DNP, Mitsubishi and Citizen. DNP is the only producer of photo media for all thermosublimation photo printers.

The inkjet technology prevails in both home and professional minilabs and the paper supply for inkjet media is quite wide. That’s why is the following text dealing with photo papers for inkjet photo printers. Let’s name three well-known producers of inkjet photo printers: Canon, EPSON, HP. It should be added that none of these companies is a producer of photo paper. That is why the photographer has so many options – there is a huge amount of photo papers for inkjet printers on the market.


Favorite A4 and A3+ inkjet photo printers 

A4 Photo printers (type of ink, number of inks)

A3+ Photo printers (type of ink, number of inks) 

Canon PIXMA MG5750 (D, 5) Canon PIXMA iX6850 (D, 5)
Canon PIXMA MG6850 (D, 5) Canon PIXMA iP8750 (D, 6)
Canon PIXMA MG7750 (D, 6) Canon PIXMA PRO-100S (D, 8)
Canon PIXMA TS5050 / 6050 / 6350 (D, 5) Canon PIXMA PRO-10S (P, 10)
Canon PIXMA TS8050 / 5950 / 8350 (D, 6) Canon PIXMA PRO-1 (P, 12)
Canon PIXMA G1410 / 2410 / 3410 (D, 4)
EPSON L7160 (D, 5) EPSON L7180 (A3), (D,5)
EPSON L805 (D, 6) EPSON L1800 (D, 6)
EPSON L810 / L850 (D, 6) EPSON Expression Photo HD XP-15000 (D, 6)
EPSON Expression Premium XP-530 (D, 5) EPSON SureColor P400 (P, 8)
EPSON Expression Premium XP-630 (D, 5) EPSON SureColor P600 (P, 9)
D… dye-based, P… pigment

ICC profiles and guides: www.fomei.com/profiles

Image 1 Image 2

A3+ photo printer for hobby photographers: Canon PIXMA iX6850 and EPSON L1800
Canon PIXMA iX6850 will surprise with a low purchase price
EPSON L1800 has the lowest operating cost across all hobby models on the market

Photopapers for inkjet printers

One of the charms of modern inkjet papers is that proven pads, known for decades, are still used nowadays, but instead of the light-sensitive layer there is an ink-receiving layer.

Image 5

The reaction of ink with the surface of the paper; the ink does not stay on the top and at the same time it does not fall down into the base

This layer (emulsion) is not present on common papers – that is why is the print on them unprofessional – blurred and desaturated (faded colors).

Image 6
Color target and its detail printed on a graphic paper without the special inkjet emulsion; image is desaturated and blurred (printed on EPSON L1800 in high quality), compare with the fig.

Image 7

Color target and its detail printed on a premium photo paper with quality emulsion; image has full (saturated) colors and is sharp, compare with the fig.  

Photo papers for inkjet printers - formats

Most of home inkjet printers are made for A4 format (21 x 29.7 cm), which is the maximal printable format. The A4 is extensively used.

Sheets in classic formats such as 10 x 15 (10.2 x 15.2 cm) and 13 x 18 (12.7 x 17.8 cm) are also enjoying quite the popularity.

A3+ printers (32.9 x 48.3 cm) are increasingly popular in both hobby and professional sector. Thanks to their „exposition“ size are A3+ sheets widely required.

For inkjet minilabs and large format photo printers, there are available rolls of photo papers (from 10.2 up to 152.4 cm width).

Photo papers for inkjet printers – paper weight

Numbers at the end of photo paper names generally indicate the weight in units of g/m2. To illustrate: 1 m2 (sheet 1 x 1 m) paper XYZ 265 weighs 0.265 kg and then a sheet of A4 1/16, therefore 16.5 g (1 m2 consists of sixteen sheets of A4).

Quality photo paper has a grammage (weight) 200-350 g/m2. There has to be a thinner ink-receiving layer on the lighter papers, therefore they are of poorer quality.

Read carefully the specification of your printers, there you will find out what is the maximum recommended paperweight. Restrictions are often given by the paper feeder system and it is on the upper threshold limited usually around 270 to 300 g/m2.

Many photo printers feature an extra feeder for rigid (FineArt) media and practically takes every photo paper, typically up to 800 g/m2.

Photo papers for inkjet printers – types of pads

There are five basic types of pads:

barium-sulphate (baryta papers) 
  • so-called baryta papers, probably best known „photo“ papers 
cotton (cotton/watercolour papers)   
  • aquarelles, art papers
RC medium (RC/PE papers) 
  • resin-coated, both sides coated with polyethylene, still primarily known as „minilab“  
polyester (chrome film / polyester film) 
  • once world widely known CibaChromeTM process, unusual quality and permanent
matte coated
  • basic matte paper / cardboard, reminds of the sturdy paper from art classes

The imitation of the canvas, inkjet canvas based on cotton and polyester, is largely famous since the beginning of the 21st century.

Image 8 Image 9

Detail of cotton papers: FOMEI Collection Cotton Smooth 240 and Collection Cotton Textured 320

Photo papers for inkjet printers – surface treatment

And we are combining. Three basic surfaces are produced on the above-mentioned pads:
  • gloss,
  • semigloss,
  • matt,
and to all of them there is an „assigned“ texture:
  • smooth
  • lustre, velvet
  • textured

Thanks to these combinations you have many possibilities of inkjet media.

Examples of inkjet media (to get to know the terminology):

  • FOMEI Collection Baryta SILK 310 is semigloss baryta paper with lustre texture and 310 g/m2 paperweight.
  • FOMEI Collection Cotton Textured 320 is deeply matte textured paper made from cotton with 320 g/m2 paperweight.
  • FomeiJet PRO Gloss 300 is smooth glossy RC paper with 300 g/m2 paperweight.
  • FOMEI Collection Chrome Film 215 is smooth glossy polyester film, 215 g/m2.
  • FomeiJet Portrait Matt 230 is deeply matte smooth paper (cardboard), 230 g/m2.
  • FOMEI Collection Canvas Matt 390 is a deeply matte cotton canvas with polyester, 390 g/m2.


Photo papers for inkjet printers – first choice

Hobby photographers (and often also professional) are discovering the technology of inkjet printing through RC papers. They know them from minilabs and darkrooms, and they are affordable.

Most common are these two variants: smooth gloss and finely structured semigloss (lustre, pearl or velvet).

The minilab era distorted the terminology when the semigloss was labelled as matte. To be completely accurate we should call it a structured gloss. But let us stay with the compromise terminology RC gloss (gloss, high gloss) and RC semigloss (lustre, pearl, velvet, semigloss).

Deeply matte papers are the favorite option for portrait, abstract and FineArt photography, and thanks to the deep blacks are also suitable for black and white reproductions.

Note: In the table of popular hobby printers, models are distinguished not only by the size of the maximum printable sheet, but also by the type of inks the model uses. Whether they are dye-based or pigment inks. The pigment ink set has two basic blacks: photo and matte. Matte black ink (Matte K) is used for printing on deep matte and FineArt papers.

Most favorite papers

  • RC glossy paper 240–270 g/m2 – most popular in hobby photography.
  • RC pearl paper 260–330 g/m2 – most popular in professional photography.

RC papers are mostly used for enlargements of all photo genres. And even after the photographer/printer takes more noble media (baryta, aquarelle) into his portfolio, the RC papers represent a good option for a fashion and landscape photography.

Image 10 Image 11

Favorite RC papers: glossy FomeiJet PRO Gloss 265 and pearl FomeiJet PRO Pearl 300 

 The economical choice for FineArt photography

Hluboce matné papíry, připomínající čtvrtku z hodin výtvarné výchovy na základní škole, překvapí svou kresebností a vyjadřovacími schopnostmi ve vztahu k abstraktní, výtvarné a portrétní fotografii. FomeiJet Portrait Matt 230 je zářivě bílý, kdežto verze Warmtone, vyhledávaná začínajícími umělci, oplývá příjemným teplým tónem typu slonová kost.

Image 12 Image 13

Sought-after deeply matte photo papers: whitened FomeiJet Portrait Matt 230 and „ivory“ FomeiJet Portrait Matt Warmtone 230


Most popular papers in detail

glossy photo papers category 
FomeiJet PRO Gloss 265
~ pictures from vacations, family and fashion photography
semiglossy photo papers category
FomeiJet PRO Pearl 265
~ nature and city architecture photography, portrait photography
~ best for photos into albums and frames up to size 15 x 20 cm

FomeiJet PRO Pearl 300
~ all photography genres, studio photography
~ exceptional for photos into albums and frames exceeding size 15 x 20 cm (does not curl, does not stick on the cover foil / glass)

deeply matte photo papers category 

FomeiJet Portrait Matt 230
~ portrait and documentary photography

FomeiJet Portrait Matt Warmtone 230
~ portrait photography, historical and artwork reproductions

FineArt matte photo papers category

FomeiJet Aquarella Art Matt 210
~ art and abstract photography, artwork reproductions

FineArt satin photo papers category

FOMEI Collection Baryta MONO 290
~ B&W photography, artistic photography, photography for long time archiving
 

Image 14
Detail of glossy photo paper 

Image 15
Detail of semiglossy photo paper

Image 16
Detail of matte photo paper

Image 17
Detail of  barite satin photo paper 

We firmly believe that our article helped to make the orientation through the wide offer of photo papers easier. And now start with choosing the right photo paper for you. 

FOMEI Collection: FineArt media for desktop and large format Canon, EPSON, HP printers FomeiJet: commercial and special media for home and professional printers


Why produce photographs on FOMEI inkjet papers

FOMEI media for photo and FineArt graphics production on inkjet printers are a time-proven choice of both hobby and professional photographers-printer, because of the following reasons:

  • Printer compatibility with Canon, EPSON, HP
  • ICC profiles and guides at www.fomei.com/profiles
  • Available as sheets from 10 x 15 up to A2+ (for desktop printers)
  • Available as rolls from 30.5 up to 152.4 cm width (for large formats printers)
  • Available as rolls from 10.2 up to 30.5 cm (for inkjet minilabs EPSON, Fuji, Noritsu)
  • ISO certification
  • Production of custom calibrations and technical support at
  • Widest offer of inkjet media supported by an expert sale: fototisk@fomei.com
  • FOMEI is the biggest distributor of photo media in Central and Eastern Europe
  • 1 200 articles of inkjet photo media, in stock in Hradec Králové (CZ)
  • Production of custom packaging / PROMO programs
  • Responsible calibration solutions



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