If you’re a perpetual user of gloss or lustre papers, you may shy away from the world of Fine Art media. But there are many benefits to using these papers…
1. Increase in quality
Fine Art papers are made from higher quality materials than your everyday, resin coated ones. Usually made from Cotton Rag or Alpha Cellulose, these are natural materials that absorb ink beautifully, whilst looking and feeling vastly more professional. If you’re printing for customers, using Fine Art materials will elevate your work and the amount you can charge.
2. Archival stability
If you want your prints to last, or if archival stability is a fundamental part of the work you are producing, then you will want to choose Fine Art paper. The materials used are acid-free, and sometimes OBA free (Optical Brightening Agents which make the paper appear whiter), which largely extends the period of time it takes for the paper to break down and yellow, ensuring your prints will be around for decades.
3. Emotional value
The experience of looking at a printed photograph is a very tactile one, engaging the viewer in a completely different way to a digital image. The use of a good quality Fine Art media, particularly a textured one, can add depth and give the print more life. Whilst a gloss surface can look beautiful with the right image, the glare can tend to add a visual barrier with an art image. A matt surface will pull the viewer in without any distractions, letting them enjoy all the details.
4. Subject suitability
The particular type of image you are printing will dictate the paper you will want to use. If it’s an artistic piece, it will be more suited to a Fine Art paper. This especially applies to images with lots of rustic or textured features, such as urban landscapes or pet portraiture. The texture of the paper can enhance tiny details in the image, making them look more life-like and as if you can actually touch them. For example, the dimples of rust in the image below, by photographer Steve Gosling, look much more impressive on Museum Heritage 310 which is a textured Fine Art paper.
5. Purpose of print
If you’re printing for an exhibition or indoor display purposes, you will want to consider matt Fine Art materials depending on the lighting conditions and whether your prints will be displayed behind glass. The lights reflecting on a gloss paper in an exhibition can be incredibly distracting and make it hard for the viewer to see the true beauty of the image. A matt surface will ensure that no matter what the lighting is like, they will be able to fully appreciate all your hard work.