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When to use Photo Black vs. Matte Black Inkjet Inks

Learn which black ink should be use for Red River photo and artistic papers


A number of photo inkjet printers use two different primary black inks - Photo Black or Matte Black. Each is optimized for a certain type of inkjet media.

Use Photo Black for glossy photo paper and satin / luster photo papers. Some fine art media like baryta photo paper and platine type photo paper also require the use of Photo Black inks. You will use Matte Black inks for cotton fine art and matte inkjet media. Matte papers are usually smooth and have a flat non-reflective surface.

Older Epson printers like the Epson R2400 and Epson R2880 require that you physically change the ink tank when you want to switch media types.

Newer Epson printers, and all Canon printers (with multiple black inks) have all of the ink tanks on the printer at one time. The machine will either automatically switch when you change paper settings, or it will do a short "ink swap" then proceed with printing.

Which Black Ink Does Each Red River Paper Use?

Product Recommended Black Ink
UltraPro Gloss 2.0 Photo Black
Polar Luster Metallic Photo Black
Polar Gloss Metallic 255 Photo Black
UltraPro Satin Photo Black
UltraPro Luster 300 Photo Black
UltraPro Satin Duo 255 Photo Black
Arctic Polar Satin Photo Black
Arctic Polar Luster Photo Black
Arctic Polar Luster Double-sided Photo Black
32lb. Premium Gloss Not compatible with pigment inks
42lb. Pecos River Gloss Photo Black
86lb. Pecos River Gloss DUO Photo Black
45lb.Zeppelin SemiGloss Double-sided Matte Black
26lb. ColorJet Matte Black
32lb. Premium Matte Matte Black
37lb. Premium Matte Matte Black
47lb. Premium Matte Matte Black
60lb. Premium Matte PLUS Matte Black
60lb. Polar Matte Matte Black
60lb. Paper Canvas Matte Black
88lb. Polar Matte Matte Black
32lb. Premium Matte Double-sided Matte Black
50lb. Premium Matte Double-sided Matte Black
60lb. Polar Matte Double-sided Matte Black
Aurora Art White Matte Black
Aurora Art Natural Matte Black
San Gabriel Baryta SemiGloss 2.0 Photo Black
Blanco Matte Canvas Matte Black
Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag Photo Black
Palo Duro Etching 315 Matte Black
Palo Duro Baryta 300Photo Black