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Best Inkjet Paper for Portrait & Wedding Printing

Best Inkjet Photo Paper for Portraits and Wedding Photos
© Rob Hull
© Bob Hull

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 300

Palo Duro Baryta Fiber is a pleasant neutral white semi-gloss that adds natural richness to portraits and landscapes. Black & White images benefit from Palo Duro'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.

  • Surface: Smooth semi-gloss finish
  • Tone: Neutral white
  • Weight: 300 gsm
  • Thickness: 13.8 mil

66lb. Palo Duro Satin

Warmer Tone Satin Paper

The warmer tone cousin of Arctic Polar Satin, Palo Duro is a wonderful choice for landscapes, portraits, and more.

  • Surface: Satin shallow texture
  • Tone: Warmer white
  • Weight: 255 gsm / 66lb.
  • Thickness: 10.4 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

60lb. Polar Matte

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

Aurora Art Natural 300®

Aurora Natural is a 100% cotton fiber, semi-smooth (hot press) fine art photo paper. Aurora Natural features a warmer shade that brings elegance and nuance to your photography and art prints. If you're looking for a museum grade cotton paper in the industry standard 300gsm weight, this is the paper for you! Made in the USA.

  • Surface: Hot Press (semi-smooth)
  • Tone: Warm White
  • Weight: 300 gsm
  • Thickness: 18 mil

Aurora Art White 300®

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. Made in the USA.

  • Surface: Hot Press (semi-smooth)
  • Tone: White
  • Weight: 300 gsm
  • Thickness: 18 mil

Blanco Matte Canvas

Blanco Matte Canvas is a fine woven canvas specially coated for inkjet printing. The results are simply stunning with rich colors and deep blacks.

  • Surface: Matte canvas
  • Tone: Warm white
  • Weight: 400 gsm
  • Thickness: 21 mil