Choosing the correct paper for your images

Photo PrintGlossy, or Matte? What makes Metallic different than Glossy paper? What exactly is “Fine Art Paper”? Do I need it? Canvas… Isn’t that for paintings? When you come to 70 South Print & Gallery for your photo printing, we offer you a lot of fun option for your photos. If you don’t know the differences between the papers it can be a little overwhelming to choose. Here’s a breakdown on the paper types to help you get exactly what you envisioned for your print.

It’s good to look at what you’re printing from both an artistic and practical point of view. What do you want to do with the photos? Display them? Pass the pictures around, or stick them in an album? Frame them? What speaks to you most in the photo? Is it the colors? The subject matter? Is this image bold or soft? Answering these questions can help you narrow down your paper choices to exactly what fits the look and feel you want to convey.

Matte vs Glossy

Matte and Glossy are the most common paper types. When ordering photo prints at a photo kiosk or online, it’s the standard choice presented to you.

A lot of people like to argue that glossy is ‘sharper’

The reflective surface does give a slightly stronger contrast. If you want a ‘punchier’ print, it’s a better choice than Matte paper.

However, Glossy paper shows finger prints and can stick to glass over time. If you plan to pass around a stack of prints at a party, or just pop that 5×7 into a frame for a little gift, Matte paper will show fewer finger prints and is less likely to stick to glass. (note that putting a glossy photo behind a mat with help eliminate sticking to glass as it adds a separation)

Matte paper also has a ‘softer’ look. This the most popular choice amongst wedding photographers.

If you have a wedding photo, or a baby portrait to print, you might prefer matte paper for the dreamier look it creates. Since Matte paper doesn’t reflect like Glossy paper, it’s a better choice for fighting off glare on framed photos.

Metallic Paper is a really unique glossy finish paper. It has a silvery sheen to it before the printing is even done. It almost resembles a gray pearl. Once the ink is on the paper, images POP. The silver base helps subtle gray tones in black and white prints really stand out. Photographs of things like fireworks, water, beautiful sunrises, flames, and shiny sports cars, spring to life. You can print any image on metallic of course, but things that are reflective in real life, or have lots of subtle color variations really benefit from this paper.

Fine Art Papers

epson-cold-pressFine Art Papers kick your regular framed and matted photo up a notch with a luxury feel. It is both classic and elegant in appearance, and available in both textured or smooth finish. They are typically white or off white in color and very heavy weight. (Almost like card stock) They work not only for photographs, but for reproducing other types of art, such as water color prints. Fine Art Papers have no shine to them.  If you were to have a special vintage family photo reproduced, (such as one that had been hand colored)  smooth fine art would be the closest to the original feel of that photograph.



Canvas is really becoming quite trendy. It’s a fun way to display your photos with a little added texture and interest without breaking the bank. Since Canvas can be stretched on wood bars, you don’t even need to worry about a regular frame. It’s instant art for your home! However, not all Canvas prints are created equal. At 70 South Print & Gallery we use only real cotton canvas material. It’s the same stuff an artist would paint on. Often the more inexpensive “canvas” wraps from drugstores are made of “Faux Canvas” and wrapped on cardboard. Faux ‘Canvas’ is basically vinyl, and does not resemble what an artist would use.

Metal PrintMetal and Acrylic Prints
For a more contemporary and unexpected look, Metal and Acrylic prints really up the vibrancy and reflective nature of an image. If you like the way your images looks on a screen, these treatments best mimic that visual.




We’re always happy to help you narrow down the best paper choice for your image. No matter what you pick, we guarantee you’re getting professional, archival, high quality prints you will cherish for years to come.


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