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Best Paper to Print Old Photos

Read the Best Paper to Print Old Photos by Christine Pentecost

by Christine Pentecost

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.

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Palo Duro Etching 315 ®

Made from 100% cotton rag, Palo Duro Etching 315 gives you the classic look of a fine photographic art print

  • Surface: Non-reflective Etching surface has a texture. This surface also called Cold Press or Velvet
  • Made From: 100% cotton rag
  • Paper Tone: Natural white
  • Paper Weight: 315gsm
  • Thickness: 21 mil
  • Whitener: No brighteners present

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 / 80lb.
  • Thickness: 16.5 mil
  • Optical Brighteners: None present

Aurora Art Natural®

Made using fine 100% cotton rag content, Aurora Natural offers the look and feel of fine art paper.

  • Surface: Semi-Smooth (Hot Press)
  • Made From: 100% Cotton rag
  • Paper Tone: Warm Tone
  • Paper Weight: 64lb. (250gsm)
  • Thickness: 13.5 mil
  • Optical Brighteners: None

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®

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

88lb. Polar Matte

The heaviest, highest quality photo matte available today.

  • Paper Tone: Bold Bright White
  • Paper Weight: 88lb (330gsm)
  • Thickness: 14 mil
  • Reverse Side: Plain paper