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Best Inkjet Photo Paper for Star, Astro, and Night Photography

Earth and Sky Photography
© Ron Risman

The night sky has been a source of fascination for millennia. From the city to the middle of nowhere, you can probably look up and see something interesting. Photographing the night sky can be daunting - do you need special gear, expensive software, and time to get to a "dark sky location"? The reality is that you probably have the gear you need to shoot fun night sky images. If you live in a city, try to incorporate the "light pollution" into your work. See if you can capture buildings or trees lit by street lights into the same frame as the stars. You might be surprised at what you can do.

Papers that are bright white, such as UltraPro Gloss, UltraPro Satin and Polar Matte will give you the best contrast ratios. This means your blacks will seem darker and whites more bright. Both are good attributes for night photography.

The warmer papers, Big Bend Baryta and Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag are listed if you wish to include a fine photographic touch to your work. Both products are designed to mimic the old school darkroom look.

Use smooth papers, Ultrapro Gloss, Polar Gloss Metallic 255 or Polar Matte when small details are critical to your image. For example, if your image is of a constellation and your goal is to have every star sharp and clear. Consider the textured papers, Ultrapro Satin, Palo Duro Softgloss Rag or San Gabriel Baryta Semigloss if you have a number of elements. An image like the one to the right is a great example.


Get the best tips, tricks, and expert advice on night sky photography in this three part blog series by Ron Risman. Start reading Part 1 - The Night Sky

68lb. UltraPro Gloss 2.0 Paper

68lb. UltraPro Gloss prints vibrant colors and deep blacks with any inkjet printer. 10.4mil thickness gives your prints true photo lab quality. Compatible with any inkjet printer, this paper dries instantly for immediate quality and resistance to smears.

  • Surface: Glossy
  • Tone: Bright White
  • Weight: 68lb. / 270 gsm
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil

Polar Gloss Metallic 255 Paper

Polar Gloss Metallic 255 is a unique inkjet paper that closely matches the look of photo lab metallic prints.

  • Surface: Glossy photo metallic
  • Tone: Warm
  • Weight: 255 gsm / 66lb.
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil

Polar Luster Metallic 255 Photo Paper

Polar Luster Metallic gives you the unique metallic look with a classic luster surface. (Combine our Arctic Polar Luster with Polar Gloss Metallic 255)

  • Surface: Luster texture photo metallic
  • Tone: Warm
  • Weight: 255 gsm / 66lb.
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil

60lb Polar Matte Photo Paper

This archival matte paper brings you professional quality in every sense of the meaning - from the coating to the base stock, Polar is the go-to photo matte when you want the best.

  • Surface: Smooth matte
  • Tone: Bright white
  • Weight: 60lb. / 230 gsm
  • Thickness: 10 mil

68lb. UltraPro Satin

If you print, you have to have UltraPro Satin in your paper inventory. It produces professional quality results and works with virtually any image. The UltraPro Satin looks and feels just like photo lab satin - a lightly textured surface that breaks up reflections and minimizes fingerprints.

  • Surface: Satin medium texture
  • Tone: Bright white
  • Weight: 68lb. / 270 gsm
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil

Big Bend Baryta 310

Big Bend Baryta offers all the rich tonality, depth, and feel of a traditional darkroom print. The paper has a elegantly smooth finish and subtle reflectivity.

  • Surface: Smooth semigloss finish
  • Tone: Warm
  • Weight: 310 gsm
  • Thickness 12 mil

Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag 315

Made from 100% cotton fiber and featuring a lightly textured soft gloss surface, Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag fine art paper gives you the classic look of a darkroom photographic print with the performance of modern inkjet technology.

  • Surface: Lightly textured semi-gloss
  • Tone: Neutral white
  • Weight: 315 gsm
  • Thickness: 16.5 mil