Best Inkjet Photo Paper for Portraits and Wedding Photos
The de facto standard for wedding and portrait prints over the past four decades has been luster paper. Photo labs refer to this lightly textured media as the "photo e-surface." The terms satin, luster, and sometimes pearl can be used interchangeably. It strikes a good balance between the glossy and matte surfaces, offering the benefits of excellent color reproduction, a non-distracting surface, and fingerprint protection.
For portraits that are more subtle in tone, perhaps more artistic, a non-reflective photo matte can work well. Just keep in mind that matte papers do not have the same dynamic range as a satin or luster.
In the same class as matte papers are cotton fine art media with a non-reflective surface. The effect is similar to matte paper except most cotton media has some texture. You'll want to avoid the highly textured products, often called "cold press", as the surface will distract from facial features.
Canvas prints are still quite popular for portrait images. When displayed as a gallery wrap or mounted on board, canvas adds a bit of "gravitas" to your work. Blanco Matte Canvas is a great choice, featuring a remarkable coating and dynamic range.
Finally, you might consider a "fiber based" or baryta semigloss media like San Gabriel Baryta SemiGloss 2.0. This surface looks and feels like a darkroom print from ye olde days of photography (pre-1970). This type of inkjet paper just feels good to hold and looks amazing. When coupled with a high performance semigloss coating, you have an ideal choice for your best portrait images. Images copyright Rob Hull.
66lb. Palo Duro Satin® - Warm Tone
68lb. UltraPro Satin® 4.0 - Cool Tone
60lb. Polar Matte®
Aurora Art Natural
Aurora Art White
San Gabriel Baryta Semigloss™
Blanco Matte Canvas