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 Palo Duro Baryta Fiber 300. 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.
Palo Duro Baryta Fiber is a pleasant neutral white semigloss that adds natural richness to portraits and landscapes. Black & White images also benefit from Palo Duro Baryta Fiber's deep blacks and exceptional contrast. It offers all of the rich tonality, depth, and feel of a traditional wet darkroom fiber fine art paper. It has a lightly textured semigloss surface, which adds depth and an elegant reflectivity to the finished print.
Warmer Tone Satin Paper
The warmer tone cousin of Arctic Polar Satin, Palo Duro is a wonderful choice for landscapes, portraits, and more.
The Top Selling Red River Paper
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.
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.
Aurora Natural is a 100% cotton fiber, semi-smooth (hot press) fine art photo paper. Aurora Natural featured a warmer shade that brings elegance and nuance to your photography and art prints. If you're looking for an museum grade cotton paper in the industry standard 300gsm weight, this is the paper for you!
Aurora White is a 100% cotton fiber, semi-smooth (hot press) fine art and photography paper. Aurora White features a brighter white shade for crisp color tones, semi-smooth surface, an acid-free base stock and coating. If you're looking for an archival grade cotton paper in the industry standard 300gsm weight, this is the paper for you!
Blanco Matte Canvas is a fine woven canvas specially coated for inkjet printing. The results are simply stunning with rich colors and deep blacks.