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Best Paper to Print Old Photos

© Christine Pentecost - Red River Paper PRO

Digitally restoring old and damaged photos and bringing them back to life has been a very rewarding and challenging hobby for me over the past 15 years. I have restored photos from the late 1800s that were mounted on cardboard, to Polaroids from the 70s, and to photos ravaged by Hurricane Katrina’s flooding.

The heartwarming tears of joy I have witnessed upon returning a restored photo to the owner has always made the hard work worthwhile.

And, sometimes, old photos don’t need to be restored, but copies need to be made. However, taking an old photo, particularly from the early 20th century and having it printed at your local drug store photo kiosk is not going to provide a very comparable result.

Most of today’s photo services offer paper on either glossy or luster, which is quite different from the types of paper used centuries or even decades ago. A photo taken around 1910, printed on a thick matte finish paper stock will not look nearly as authentic if printed on modern day glossy paper!

When working with my photo restoration/reprinting clients, I always provide them with the most authentic prints that I can, based on the time era of when the photo was taken. And, because Red River Paper has such a large selection of photo papers available, it’s been easy to replicate these old photos.

I make sure to keep Red River paper sampler packs on hand, both the Inkjet Photo & Fine Art Sampler, and Specialty Media Sampler. I will then take each photo that I have and peruse the sampler papers, until I determine which paper best meets my photographic needs.

Palo Duro Etching 315

Palo Duro Etching 315 gives you the classic look of a fine photographic art print. The surface adds just the right amount of texture to your print and will not distract from the details you worked so hard to capture.

  • Surface: Cold Press (textured)
  • Tone: Warm White
  • Weight: 315 gsm
  • Thickness: 21 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

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

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.

  • Satin Texture: Shallow
  • Paper Tone: Warmer white
  • Paper Weight: 266gsm (66lb)
  • Thickness: 10.4mil

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

88lb. Polar Matte

This heavy card stock 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: 88lb. / 330 gsm
  • Thickness: 16 mil