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

Learn About the Best Inkjet Photo Paper for Star, Astro, and Night Photography

Earth and Sky Photography

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 to neutral papers, Palo Duro Baryta Fiber 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.

We've split this list of best papers for night sky photography into two groups, smooth and textured. Use smooth papers 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 if you has a number of elements. An image like the one to the right is a great example.

Shooting the Night Sky

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

Papers with a Smooth Surface

68lb. UltraPro Gloss® 2.0

Meets or exceeds retail brand quality. The top selling gloss, UltraPro looks and feels like traditional glossy photo lab paper.

  • Surface: Smooth gloss
  • Paper Tone: Bright white
  • Paper Weight: 68lb (270gsm)
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil
  • 8.5x11 Pricing: As low as 27 cents/sheet

Polar Gloss Metallic 255 (formerly 66lb. Polar Pearl Metallic)®

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

  • Surface: Pearlescent glossy finish
  • Paper Weight: 66lb (255gsm)
  • Thickness: 10.4 mil
  • 8.5x11 Pricing: As low as 62 cents/sheet

60lb. Polar Matte®

Red River's Polar Matte raises the bar for imaging excellence. This paper brings you professional quality in every sense of the meaning.

  • Paper Tone: Bold Bright White
  • Paper Weight: 60lb (229gsm)
  • Thickness: 10 mil
  • Reverse Side: Plain paper

Papers with Some Surface Texture

68lb. UltraPro Satin® 4.0 - Cool Tone

UltraPro will capture the true depth and range of colors in your photography, and lets your inkjet printer perform to its maximum potential.

  • Satin Texture: Medium
  • Paper Tone: Bright white
  • Paper Weight: 68lb (270gsm)
  • Thickness: 10.4mil
  • 8.5x11 Pricing: As low as 27 cents/sheet

Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag®

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

  • Surface: Medium textured elegant glossy similar to Platine prints
  • Made From: 100% Cotton rag
  • Paper Tone: Neutral white
  • Paper Weight: 310gsm / 84lb.
  • Thickness: 16.5 mil
  • Optical Brighteners: None

Palo Duro Baryta Fiber 300®

A true photographic surface from darkroom days gone by.

  • Surface: Semigloss with light texture and medium reflectivity
  • Paper Tone: Slightly neutral white
  • Paper Weight: 300 gsm (82lb)
  • Thickness: 13.8 mil
  • Optical Brighteners: None present
  • Whitener: Pure barium sulfate (bartya)